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7k Mile Survivor: 1971 AMC Hornet

Considering that the AMC Hornet begat the Gremlin, Concord & Eagle without significant change, the designers must have gotten it right the first time. Apparently someone in Millis, Massachusetts thinks so, as they have carefully preserved a 1971 Hornet two-door that has only traveled a documented 7,000 miles from new! It’s listed for sale here on craigslist. We have reader FordGuy1972 to thank for this cool survivor find! Where’s Britt Reid when you need him?

I admit I’m partial to 1971 Hornets having grown up with a ’71 Sportabout (wagon) version in my family that served us well. I don’t remember it ever looking this nice, though. If you’ve already noticed the period Cragar wheels, note that the original steelies and dog-dish caps come with the car as well. We’re told that the car is rust-free and has titles documenting the mileage through the years.

Even the chrome looks like new in these pictures! Despite only having the 232 cubic inch inline six, I remember our Hornet pulling many full loads without complaining, and this coupe has the same engine. Maybe some of our Massachusetts readers can explain the W90 license plate; I couldn’t find any reference to it in AMC or plate information sites. Now V-194 would make a lot more sense

The interior looks absolutely perfect, without any sun fading or cracks that I can see. That’s the seat and steering wheel I learned to drive behind (and with bias-ply recaps and no power steering, it helped to have some arm muscle!)

The rear looks just as nice as the front. Would you switch out the mag wheels for the original ones as fast as I would? And then show up at your local auto show? Let us know in the comments if you like this green Hornet!


  1. Nevada1/2rack Nevadahalfrack Member

    Great reference RE: Brit Reid, Jamie. This Green Hornet is also a controversial figure, fighting the onslaught of Foreign Cars with mixed recognition-good guy or bad guy?
    The inability to look beneath the surface here gives rise to this character too-no clues to what is really beneath the surface. The Cragars make one think this could be a bad@$$ dude but I think if one really listens at first meet what is heard may give the real reference to identity: a clean cut, no-nonsense grime fighter and equally devoted backup taking on the world singlehandedly,.

    Like 6
    • John van meveren

      Beutiful car I once campaigned a ram air 4 speed sc 360 called the sting with a Frankenstein engine made from the best engines I ever blew up ran high 12s

      Like 0
  2. That AMC Guy

    Pretty sweet looking, but some photos under the hood and under the car would have been nice. At least it’s not sitting on a trailer.

    For AMC 1971 was the last year for the Borg-Warner automatic and standard vacuum wipers. No air conditioning here by the look of it (no parcel shelf, no center dash vent). Probably manual drum brakes and steering. Breaker-point ignition systems on these utilize a GM Delco distributor so there should be no problem finding tuneup parts. The car should move out well with the 232 and get decent gas mileage since ’71 emission standards were still pretty lenient. Heavy engine strangulation would take place a couple of years later.

    Although sharper looking than the old Rambler American, Hornets in standard trim are actually less comfortable with virtually no provision for ventilation (the tiny under-dash vent is a cruel joke), and seats designed to line the pockets of chiropracters. Still if you’re longing for a brand-new Hornet this is probably about as close as you’ll get. It even has the original Hornet-emblem gas cap which is almost never seen.

    Like 10
  3. jerry z

    Damn! I love these cars! Wish I had the space but too many projects right now.

    Like 1
    • CliffS Member

      To answer your question about the license plates, in Massachusetts they have a lottery every year for the coveted “low number” license plates. It comes down to status, if you are lucky enough to get a low number! Copied from the Mass DMV “This year, 201 plates are available through the lottery. Some of this year’s low plate characters are 1400, 2558, 4J, Y4, 55Z, 77V and Z81”.

      Like 4
  4. Skorzeny

    Too bad it’s not a 4 door. I love it anyways…

    Like 1
  5. Rube Goldberg Member

    Oh, come on AMC fans (That AMC Guy, I’m looking your way) this car screams a SC/360 clone! It was the last AMC muscle car and deserves recognition. Good luck finding an original. An end of an era for AMC, and a classic swing and a miss. I believe only 800, of a planned 10,000 cars were made and only 300 had a 4 speed. I read, testers loved them. Plenty of power, right size, handled well, nice looks. While a Hornet looking like this is rare enough, a SC/360, I think, would be the coolest AMC car you could own. This an unbelievable find.

    Like 9
    • That AMC Guy

      I wouldn’t want to cut up a survivor like this to make an SC/360 clone. Maybe start with a Hornet with a blown engine and trashed interior to do that. (I recently saw an SC/360 sitting at a gas station but don’t know if it was original or a clone.)

      I don’t know if I’d call it the last AMC muscle car. The Matador and Javelin were available with 401 V8 through 1974.

      Like 7
      • Rube Goldberg Member

        That’s cool, to each, but I think as is, it’s just a clean Hornet, but a SC clone, would be something worth having. There was a huge downturn in performance in ’71, and these were the last, big motor, small car, set you in the seat, row thru the gears, muscle cars. They did mid 14’s out of the box, and high 13’s with not much work. I read, a comparably equipped 360, 4 speed ’71 Javelin did the 1/4 in 15.1. A 401 would indeed up the ante, but then you lose the SC/360 status. Like I say, to see a Hornet like this, or ANY Hornet, for that matter, is rare. It’s not a car we kept, we drove them until the wheels fell off, which didn’t take long in the salt bath, and nobody kept one. Junkyards were full of them, even a SC, somewhere, I bet. Even the SC/360 cars were not held in high regard, and a reported 150 of the original 800 are known to exist. I bet Eddie Stakes would do the same with this car as a tribute.

        Like 2
  6. Jeffery1002

    I had a 76 4 door Hornet in 1990-1 I really liked that car. My 1st car was a 4 door 1975 Maverick I drove it side ways most of the time I had it in high school in the mid 80’s

    Like 2
    • John

      I just pulled one of these out of Iowa to Georgia with 50k miles and not much rot. Fantastic car with the 232 and 3 on the tree, a hell of a lot more fun with a v8 and a 4 speed. Not a whole lot of car to move so a some power feels like a lot. I have a 401 that goes in next and then it will be silly fast. I would say do an SC/360 clone, cause I just did and it’s great. :)

      Like 5
  7. 68custom

    be awesome to keep it stock but slap some wider tires under the rear and a LS under the the Hood!

    Like 1
  8. Little_Cars

    Always thought these “notchback” Hornets were a match for the 68-70 Ford Falcon in dimension and target market. Competed for the same market, I would guess, but with a service/dealer network that would disappear less than ten years later. I owned a Gremlin in 1981, and the local AMC store closed as many did with parts hoards going to the highest bidder. Never did find an NOS passenger door skin for my otherwise perfect tan 73. The comments about the air conditioning, seat position and chiropractors brought the memories back to my mind.

    Like 1

    I never really appreciated the boxy Hornet. Always preferred the Gremlin. It was too useful. However the Hornet hatchback of 1973 was where it was at.

    For what the guy is most likely asking for the above for a little more money you could have an actual SC/360. Not smart to clone one into an SC/ as most all of us on here know are vin specific. No P means fake.

    Although a nice car. I will pass. There are more options on other vehicles most likely for less money that would include more power under the hood and working A/C

    Like 2
  10. Dick

    Engine is indestructible. We raced a Hornet in 2 24 hours of Lemons races. Never lost a drop of oil or water. We put a 4spd , disks and a posi from a wrecked AMX in it for 2nd race and stopped lifting the hood after a couple of pits for driver changes. No need. Bulletproof.

    Like 3
  11. Del

    Cute low miler. Price a bit high but where you gonna find another one like new ?

    Like 0
  12. Troy s

    Looks like a little screamer to me, those wheels sure are a nice improvement, but with the six they kind of don’t fit what I’m visioning. Just the way it sits now, but with a 401 or older 390. No clone, just a throw back street cruiser. I like the looks of this much more than the Ford Maverick, which is what it reminds me of just a little bit. I’m not that familiar with AMC products at all except what I’ve seen and read, but this car has my interest.

    Like 0
  13. Bob C.

    If I’m not mistaken, that license plate is period to this year car, blue letters and white background. Later were red letters, then green. Now back to red.

    Like 0
  14. PatrickM

    I like this little thing. A very practical car, good errand-runner, daily driver…for in-town stuff. And, yes, I agree with the aforementioned, “More pics, please.” I still like it. BTW, haven’t we seen this a short while back?

    Like 0
  15. Clyde A. Quinn

    I had a 1970 4 door Automatic transmission, 232cid engine. I bought it leftover in January 1971 for $2250.00 including tax and license. I had the car for just over 2 years and 38000 miles. I had a ton of mechanical problems with the car. Including battery, 2 speedometer cables, front and rear brakes, ball joints, several alignments, and the transmission began to slip. This car was so cute but it broke my heart. I ended trading it in for a new 1973 Plymouth duster

    Like 0

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