It Ain’t No Kia! 1970 AMC Hornet

I know that I’ve passed the point of no return in my car nerd’ism when I’m this excited about a 1970 AMC Hornet sedan! WOW, this car is amazing! Seriously, drop whatever it is that you’re doing, (unless you’re driving, which you shouldn’t be while reading this), pop some popcorn, put your feet up, and let’s check out this beautiful baby blue Hornet. This car is located in Lehigh Acres, Florida and is listed on eBay with a buy it now price of $5,900, or you can make an offer. I actually think that’s a decent price for this amazing car and, if any of you are AMC fans, you may think the same after seeing these photos.

For $5,900 you could get a 2008 Kia Rio, or you could get this Hornet; that’s a no-brainer for me. It’s not even a no-brainer, it’s .. uhh.. whatever’s even more no-brainer’r than that.. Here’s my argument for this Hornet: most of us already have a daily-driver, we aren’t coming to Barn Finds to locate our next traffic-gridlock commuter car. We come to Barn Finds to see nice, older classic cars and maybe one of them will catch our eye enough to actually purchase it to use as a weekend hobby car. Hornet 1 : Kia Rio 0. And, I don’t mean to pick on Kia, I’m sure they make a very fine machine, as far as daily-driver commuter cars go. And, in 1970, or even 1980 (do I hear, 1990?), who would have thought that a 1970 light blue AMC Hornet four-door sedan would be considered a classic, or collectible? Maybe a 2008 Kia Rio will be on Barn Finds in 2055! I hope that I’m here to write about it.

Some folks do drive classics every day – our own Nathan is a great example of that – and I would sure love to drive this baby blue Hornet every day, at least in the summer. This car is so nice, and really it’s too nice to be original because, yes, it has been repainted once in its lifetime. There is no mention of any bodywork being done prior to the repaint, and it doesn’t appear to have any rust other than some very light surface rust in the trunk and underneath. The seller says that it’s “original” and “unaltered”, but then they go on to say that it’s been repainted, the front seat has been reupholstered, it has a new water pump and a new exhaust. But, I’m assuming that they mean original in appearance.

Here’s that newly-reupholstered front seat and it looks like a great match to the surrounding original door panels. Unfortunately, it’s not the correct pattern. I would try to track down some from SMS Auto Fabrics or some other OEM company to match the original pattern on the perfect back seat. The dash looks as close to being perfect as it could be, and the odometer shows 29,853 miles. The seller claims that those are the original miles, and once I’m sure that you’re all seated, I’ll show you the engine compartment and you can see for yourselves. Are you ready?

I’ll be back in a minute, I have to get a kleenex. If this isn’t one of the nicest engine compartments that I’ve ever seen, I.. I don’t even know what to say next. This thing is drop-dead gorgeous! Whether it’s 100% Pebble-Beach-correct in every detail I don’t know, there may have been some liberties taken when it was repainted. I only say that as an assumption that this isn’t original, it looks far too perfect to be original. There is no way that this 47-year old engine compartment is original, can it be? I don’t know if they actually looked this nice and shiny coming out of Kenosha 47-years ago, and for it to look like this now, can it be original? It doesn’t matter, of course, we’ve all restored vehicles and there’s nothing wrong with a restored car or a restored engine. This is AMC’s 232 cubic-inch inline-six with around 145 hp. The ’08 Kia Rio? 110 hp. He shoots he scores! So, I know that this is a.. gasp.. four-door sedan! Most of you would rather spend the rest of your lives in a Turkish prison than to own a four-door car from what I’ve seen in the comments over the last couple of years. I’m not ashamed or embarrassed to say that this car looks fantastic to me, four doors or not. Much more appealing than any ol’ commuter Kia.

Fast Finds


  1. Sam

    Like it, ditto the nerdy cool factor for some weekend fun.

    Another option would be to buy and flip to a “doomsday” prepper due to minimal electronics.

  2. Marvin Granger

    It’s only a four door from the out side. When you’re driving, all you see is the hood.

  3. John T

    Pass the Kleenex, I was hoping it was a three-on-the-tree but alas it is an automatic slushbox. Maybe just as well, For a brief second I was actually considering making the journey to Florida to pick this cream puff up and drive it home.

    • Scotty Gilbertson Staff

      Ha. Same here on the wish-it-was-a-manual, John.

  4. jw454

    This looks like a car my great aunt would drive… Because she did. It was light yellow with a brown interior. She is now 99 Y/O and in a nursing home but, back in the day she rocked her little AMC.

  5. Vernon Christy

    It also has Vacuum Wipers. They worked OK, Vacuum source was supplied from fuel pump action. This must be close to last year that electric Wipers were still optional up grade.

    • David Frank David Frank Member

      Vacuum wipers work great until you accelerate or climb a hill! Great car Scotty!

    • Marshall

      When I think of vacuum wipers, I think of the wipers that would move very slowly whenever the engine was revved in an old 1948 Chevrolet back in the 60s. GM converted over to electric wipers during the 1950s along with Ford and Chrysler (to the best of my knowledge). I am surprised to learn that AMC was so behind the eight ball regarding vacuum versus electric wipers as late as 1970.

      Oh well, Volkswagen was behind the eight ball by not converting over to 12 volt electrical systems until 1967. It was not until 1962 (to keep production costs down) that VW installed gas gauges in their bugs. So I guess AMC was not the only car maker that was out of sorts with the rest of the auto industry.

      Another example is that in the name of innovation (trying to be in front of the eight ball), Chrysler had “type writer transmissions” from 1956 until 1963. They also had their rearview mirrors mounted on the dash instead of on the windshield at about that same time. But during the mid-1960s, Chrysler “went with the flow” with the rest of the American auto industry regarding these things.

      • That AMC guy

        Electric wipers were not standard on AMC cars until 1972.

  6. Gregory Mason

    My mother had one of these Hornets. She only had to do the normal maintenance on it . That car was virtually trouble free. She ended up trading it in on a new 1977 chevy Nova 6cyl automatic. What a mistake that car was nothing but problems from carburetor ,oil leaks, and transmission.

  7. Jeffro

    I would have no problem driving this.

  8. jaymes

    deffinately has been loved, id dd drive it except in the winter, spoiled wit abs and fwd

  9. Rich Truesdell

    About the only thing for me that it needs is factory A/C. It would seem to be essential even for a low-buck (non-SST) base model Hornet in Florida.

    Other than that, a beautiful, apparently well-loved car. Reminds me of my friend’s 1977 Hornet that got picked up about a year ago on Barn Finds that sold locally just after it was posted here (his was a high-option car).

    I’d definitely take this Hornet over just about any 2008 economy car like the mentioned Kia (and spend the bucks to get it set up with A/C).

  10. jdjonesdr

    I wish my 1990 Renix Cherokee XJ had an engine department that looked like that.

  11. Dick

    We drove a Hornet with that engine 2 days straight in the 24 Hours of Lemons. Never had to add fluids. Even after revving it to 6 grand at times.

    Like 1
  12. Milt

    I wonder what was the appeal of having everything inside and out the same color? Seems like the big three went through a monotone color phase in the 70/80’s.

    • Stephen Martin

      From old pictures I’ve seen, it looks like they dipped the whole thing in a paint bath. So everything welded together up to that point was the same color.

    • Marshall

      Perhaps the “monotone color phase” was to atone for the “excesses of their 1950s cars”, fins, two tone paint jobs, chrome, etc..😎

  13. Frank

    Looks like the cigarette lighter was optional.

  14. stan

    the 6 cyl motor is good for 250k and more in some cases, the auto trans that’s any body’s guess, the tops of the front fenders are the first to rust due to no inner fenders to stop road dirt from hitting them and piling up under there, I had a couple with v-8’s, ran great, trans didn’t hold up though and they became parts cars, one donated it’s motor to a javlin I had bought, automatic motors and standard motors v-8’s, did have different cranks though, but that’s another story

  15. Car Guy

    Even in a 4 door, these were nice looking cars,,,,,,,,

  16. Wayne

    There in one on the Reno Craigslist that is not in the same caliber as this one but still very nice. (I have been tempted for a few weeks)
    Am I the only one out there that just wants to fill those fender wells with “proper size” tires and wheels? Nothing like 22s or anything crass like that. Just maybe have Stockton Wheel make up some 8″ proper offset 16″ standard style wheels with the dog dish hubcaps. Paint the wheels body color. And maybe lower the car about 1.5″. (gonna need sway bars too)

    • Seguin

      I had a VAM American…same car basically….and I put 17s on it. They were just a tad big.

  17. Robert White

    What a chick magnet, man!!!

    /sarc off


    • Marshall

      i got flames!

  18. mark collier

    my cousin had a yellow one with a 3 on the tree. my aunt had a 2 door levis edition… with levis top and seats. hers was auto in the floor with bucket seats. my cousins was a bench up front. both great cars!! I drove and loved them both!! I was 18… driving any car was fun! am 60 now and this car brought back great memories!!! thanks. I love Barnfinds! good job to all involved in this site…..many thanks!!!

    Like 1
  19. 990V8

    Vacuum wipers? Oh dear, I thought, when I bought my 63 Rambler. But having had the motor rebuilt by Peter Stathes, and myself rebuilt the vacuum pump that sits on top of the fuel pump – yes, it’s a double decker – those wipers knock electrics into a cocked hat.
    Faster, slower, infinitely variable speed, I can set them so slow in light rain it’s like an interval wipe without the interval.
    And with the vacuum pump they don’t slow down when I accelerate.
    Vacuum wipers for President!


    Like 1
  20. Zipy

    I like the spring loaded antenna

  21. Howard A Member

    Yeah, I have to get in on this one. Again, if anybody has questions about mileage, THIS is what a low mileage classic looks like. I read, vacuum wipers were discontinued in AMC cars after 1970,( the last ones to use them) although, I believe some Jeeps used them into the early ’70’s. When new, these cars were the bottom of the barrel, basic car. It appears, aside from some interior bits, the only options this person got was a radio and automatic. I too, remember many of these cars with no front fenders. This was grandpa’s modern day Rambler that nobody wanted. This is as good as it gets. Love it. We should be able to buy cars like this today, WITH NO PLUG IN PORT,,,,good heavens,,,( probably eliminates 3/4’s of potential buyers right there)

  22. John T

    Auction has ended, SOLD Today (Sunday) for the full Asking Price $5,900.

  23. Gerald M.

    If it only had AIR!

  24. jesus bortoni

    I’d have pulled the trigger but my wife would have shot ME.

  25. bill

    Sweet little car. I remember borrowing one back in the 1980’s I loved it!

  26. Todd Fitch Staff

    A high school friend owned a ’74? sedan in dark blue with the I6. With 270,000 miles on the clock it idled so smoothly another friend once re-keyed it at a stoplight because he thought it had stalled.

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