Acid Wash Denim: 1973 AMC Gremlin X Levi Edition

I’m a Levi kind of guy, they are my go to for trousers. You just can’t beat the feel of a well worn pair of jeans! I’m going to guess the good people at AMC thought to themselves, “people love Levi Jeans, so maybe if we paint a Gremlin blue and line the inside with denim, people will love it too!”. It was a nice thought in theory, but sadly a Gremlin doesn’t get better with age and use. Don’t get me wrong, I think these cars are awesome when they are in good shape, just not so much when they are worn out. This one definitely has seen better days, but the outside has a nice acid wash look (flaking clear coat in this case) and could be a decent little project. You can find it here on eBay in Saint Petersburg, Florida with a BIN of $4,750 and bidding at $810.

You really don’t see Levi Edition Gremlins very often these days. I’m not sure if it was a matter of owners growing out of them or if just like that pair of worn out jeans, people just threw them away once they started getting old. It’s really too bad, because just like classic Levi Jeans, people are now willing to pay a premium for Gremlins that still have life left in them. Heck, I’d love to have one of these for my daily driver!

What makes this particular car so special is actually missing, the denim wrapped seats. Thankfully, it looks like the rest of the interior is here and in decent shape. And replacement seat covers are available, so you could get it looking great again. I wonder if you can acid wash the new covers to get that aged look?

It’s going to need work, but this little Gremlin has potential. Interest in AMC’s more unusual products is definitely climbing and you can’t get much more unusual than a Gremlin lined with denim. Throw a V8 in it and you would have a surprisingly fast car that Jay Leno couldn’t resist!

Fast Finds

Comments

  1. CJay

    Spruce up the interior, make it safe (as safe as you can make a Gremlin) for the highway and run the crap outta that puppy! When the motor dies, then drop in a V8.

    • jdjonesdr

      The only problem with that is they never seem to die. Great little engine.

  2. S Ryan

    Takes the guesswork out of what wear while taking it for a spin.
    Really cool and hit anywhere you go.

  3. JW

    Gremlins are starting to be appreciated just like the Mustang II is starting to grow in popularity. There’s not many first generation Mustangs / Camaros / Challengers left that haven’t already been restored so the oddballs are coming to the rescue.

    • AMCFAN

      JW

      Not sure what you are saying here. AMC Gremlins have already been appreciating….at a much faster pace and popularity then the Mustang II. Nice Gremlins typically sell in the $10-$15K range and up. A real Randall Super Gremlin with a 401 add another $10-$15K to that.

      The ask on this car may seem high but is more then fair. It has a lot going for it considering it is a factory X package. The 73 is the last of the tidy tucked in front and rear bumpers.In 74-76 you got the government mandated push bars. Last of the first gen grille. The 73 has a better build quality then the later versions. The body appears very solid. The trim tag will spell it out for everyone it has the very desirable Levis interior option. Uncommon on the X is the column shift.

      Restoring the interior won’t be as hard as there is several styles of denim material that is close. Maybe SMS has the OEM material. Worth a shot.

      The Gremlin just isn’t in the same class as a Mustang II The Gremlin is a Gremlin. A Mustang II is Fords answer to down sizing. Compare it to the 71-73 Mustang II is an odd ball. It only had a 4 year run compared to 8 years for the Gremlin. Lastly a 258 will smoke a 302 powered Mustang II on the street. A 304 will even more easier. This comes from experience. I have owned more then 40 in my lifetime since 1981.

      • AMXSTEVE

        Keep speakin the truth brother

      • whippeteer

        The Mustang II was 74-78.

  4. packrat

    I saw one of these intact in a scrapyard in Lavergne, TN in the late eighties, with the seats and door panels still looking ok (with some still-tight pockets as part of the door panel upholstery). I wonder what Sorcery they used to get upholstery that *looked* like Levi’s denim to last as long as it did.

  5. Bret

    My sister had a Levi edition Gremlin back in the day. It had rivets in the upholstery (or were they buttons?) but either way, after baking in the California sun for awhile, it felt like sitting on a red hot branding iron when you got in.

  6. Kent Morris

    The BIN is rather optimistic and the spun nylon Levi’s interior is going to be expensive to implement, but having a Levi’s Gremlin is an invitation for car show stories and endless gas station conversations.

    Here’s my ’75 after much work:

  7. Rex Kahrs Member

    It’s weird that all the stuff from my high school years has suddenly become cool…for example the Marquis and now this Gremi. When I was in high school, we didn’t like much of anything coming out of Detroit at that period: the Mustang had been ruined, the Camaro was so cheaply built, and of course the big bumpers made every car look so ungainly.

    I guess that now in 2017, (since all cars now look basically the same), these colorful or excessive or weird cars remind us that in those days we weren’t afraid to think “outside the box”.

  8. Ed

    I did’nt know there was a Levi edition gremlin. The only Jean edition I remember was Levi edition CJ jeep. Both from AMC. Very cool car.

  9. XMA0891

    AMCFAN is correct – ’73 is the last year for the best Gremlins. Buy and love and enjoy. ’70 – 73’s are tough to find!

  10. Don Page

    Too bad it’s an automatic. Might be worth it if it was a manual.

    • AMCFAN

      A manual trans would have equated to a 3 speed.

      70 and 71 were non syncromesh (a left over from the Rambler days) meaning you had to make a complete stop to put in first gear.

      The demographics changed when Gremlin appeared as the typical aged buyer was much younger……and in a hurry. The failure rate mandated a change in 1972 to a full syncro.

      Another big change came in 72 with the anemic Borg Warner Automatics T35 used in 70-71. These were so bad issues started as early as 30,000 miles or less. It lead to the Buyer Protection Plan. 72 ushered in the mighty 904 Torqecommand Chrysler sourced Torqueflyte. Issues solved.

      AMC adapted proven parts to their engines to keep costs down. The big three learned a little later you can’t make every part or have every process in house. Parts sharing a measure all manufactures do now.

      This Gremlin with an automatic is a better car over a manual. Again comes from someone who has spent time behind the wheel.

  11. Nova Scotian

    Love it. Silhouette reminds me of the Kia Soul currently on the hot list for a lot of people.

    • mike d

      Puh- leeeze! don’t use a Gremmi and a Kia in the same sentence! not nearly the same! ( smile)

  12. Navadisha

    Junkyard V8’s drop right in. Just have to get creative with the shifter linkage. Holeshots all day (provided you beefup the driveshaft/rearend)…..

    • AMCFAN

      AMC V8’s don’t just drop in. You have to have a Gremlin/Hornet V8 crossmember. Shifter linkage is the same. V8 springs will be needed. A Javelin rear end will bolt in if you can’t source an original Gremlin V8 rear. A set of AMX torquelinks would bolt in as well.

      Waste of time if you are out to spin the tires. Many articles in vintage mags or on the net prove that point. The 258 will smoke the tires on dry pavement with no effort for as long as you care to lavish in tire smoke. My 258 was stock with a 904 and only a good tune. Would smoke the tires all day long.

      Once got pulled over after getting caught squeeling the tires. Cop made me raise the hood. Was dumfounded by the 6 cyl. Got the beat down but no ticket.

  13. XMA0891

    I reluctantly admit to AMCFAN’s observation that a Gremlin with an automatic is a better Gremlin, but I won’t aquiese to a Gremlin with an automatic being more fun to drive than one with a manual (non-synco or not) transmission! A non-syncro three-on-three Gremmie – Are you up for the challenge?!?

  14. Wayne

    What? No remembers how to double clutch to grab 1st in a manual non-syncro first gear box?
    Am I the only “old foggy” left?
    I like the older Gremlin looks. A Poked and Stroked 4.0 gives you a 4.9. Add a T5 and you would have something worth spicing up the handling for.

  15. Dan

    My grams had a 74 blue with white stripe Levi Hornet. Wish I could find a pic of that car. She down graded to a chevette in the late 80’s

  16. Keith

    Guys,
    Believe it or not there are 2 FREE ’74 Gremlins available in central Mass. Says they have been vandalized and no pics but here’s the link to the listing:

    https://worcester.craigslist.org/cto/6154904586.html

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