Solid But Baked: 1972 AMC Gremlin X

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and while some people really like the AMC Gremlin, others have a very different opinion. There never seems to be a middle ground for anyone when it comes to the Gremlin’s styling. This particular Gremlin X has spent its entire life either living in California, or in its current location of Tucson, Arizona. It is listed for sale here on eBay, where the opening bid has been set at $5,000. There has been no activity at this stage, but there are 63 people who are watching the listing.

 

Given the life that the Gremlin has led, it isn’t that surprising that the owner claims that the car is completely rust-free. The original Grasshopper Green paint hasn’t escaped the ravages of the Arizona sun, and it is now quite heavily baked. The body sports a few marks and dings, but there doesn’t appear as though there is anything major to report. The styling of the Gremlin is quite polarizing, but one thing is for certain: If you own one of these, it isn’t likely that anyone is going to mistake it for something else. I also like the fact that the Gremlin is not only the car of choice for Hans Moleman in “The Simpsons,” but it also gets a look-in as the villain’s car in the Bette Midler classic, “Ruthless People.”

Opening the doors on this Gremlin provides us with a pleasant surprise. The car not only sports new carpet, but new seats have also been fitted. The dash pad looks close to perfect, as do the door trims. There are a few minor issues to address, including the missing radio and the fact that the wheel is looking a bit tired, but otherwise, it all looks really good. One thing that the Gremlin doesn’t feature, and this is a surprise given where the car has spent its life, is air conditioning. That seems like a curious omission, but I guess that I’ve seen stranger things.

Powering the Gremlin is the 232ci straight-six engine, backed by a 3-speed automatic transmission. The car also features power steering but has manual drum brakes. Included with the car will be a factory disc brake setup, so the next owner can install these if they want to improve the car’s stopping power. The owner doesn’t indicate how well the car runs and drives, but the lack of any obvious fluid leaks is usually a pretty good sign in an unrestored car of this age. Scouting around the engine bay, I can see that it looks like the car has recently received a new alternator, but I do notice that a couple of hoses probably won’t be far from needing replacing.

While it might appear to be dry and crispy, below that faded paint lies a solid little Gremlin. These are a car where it is possible to ignore the NADA valuation because it appears to be out by a considerable amount. It suggests that an immaculate example will only fetch around $2,600. I recently saw a nice ’72 Gremlin X in the same Grasshopper Green sell for over $9,000, while there was also an unrestored and quite rough, non-running example that sold for just on $5,000. That would seem to suggest that if someone can secure this one for under $7,500, then they could be onto a winner.

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Comments

  1. Nevadahalfrack Nevadahalfrack Member

    “Winner” and “Gremlin” are generally not synonymous, Adam, but the rough sounding sad looking beater running around the Reno area very briefly surprised more than a few Reno High hot-shot snots with their late model store bought muscle cars when the kid uncorked the exhaust and let his lovingly built 401rip their egos to shreds!
    They didn’t notice he sat a little further back inside the car than what they normally might have seen had they known anything about cars or paid less attention to the inside mirror!
    This would be a good start for someone wanting to get into the “old car” scene and still be able to drive it(cheaply, with that motor!).

    Like 7
  2. art

    Love the “plumbing” modifications in the heater lines..lol
    Ingenuity, I guess.

    Like 2
  3. Rube Goldberg Member

    Love the Simpsons/Gremlin reference. Not only Hans Moleman, but Comic Book Guy and Marge as a young woman, drove Gremlins. The creators of the show picked Gremlin for good reason. Either you had one or you knew someone with a Gremlin. It was the cheapest car made, undercutting the then cheapest, the VW bug, by $100. Even the paperboy could afford one. People drove the wheels off them, and junkyards were full of Gremlins when the wheels actually DID fall off. Like the VW, everybody has a Gremlin story. Great find.
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/dboo/5535436641/in/pool-thenineteenseventies/

    Like 5
  4. Ken Carney

    Used to see them as Domino’s pizza cars
    in the ’70’s. They were indeed rugged
    little beasts that could take what any teen
    age driver could dish out. Seems like Bill
    Monahan knew what he was doing when
    he ordered thousands of them for his pizza chain. But when it came to resale,
    not so much. A lot of folks (myself included) passed them by believing that
    they were flogged beyond repair and were
    not suitable for even use as a first car for
    my kid sister. Passed on one and let my
    sister drive my ’52 Chevy instead. Big
    mistake! Should’ve put her in the Gremlin
    instead. (Sigh) you live and learn.

    Like 6
    • Rube Goldberg Member

      Took a beating, for sure. We had Gremlins for drivers ed cars, the ultimate torture for any car.

      Like 3
  5. Silverghost63

    There is a good book on performance mods for the AMC straight 6, they can be stout performers. Or pull the 232 and drop in a warmed up AMC 360 and leave the cosmetics alone – wolf in sheep’s clothing!!

    Like 2
  6. That AMC guy

    I’ve done that “custom modification” to heater lines myself in the past. :)

    Looks like this car has survived pretty well but the pricing seems just pure crack pipe.

    Like 1
    • Nevadahalfrack Nevadahalfrack Member

      Agreed. The seller’s been hitting the distilled blue agave down there, methinks!!

      Like 2
    • Angel_Cadillac_Diva Angel Cadillac Diva Member

      My best friend in high school was SO the opposite of me. For his first car his parents got him a 1963 Rambler, which after about a year he totaled rearending a 1969 Couger. The Couger only had a broken backup light. The front of the Rambler, well, looked like it hit a Mack truck.
      The Rambler was replaced with a brand new 1972 Gremlin in the same green color with matching interior. He took that to Florida when he got a job at Disneyworld right after college.
      The Gremlin was replaced years later with a 1978 Pacer.
      Some people just don’t have any taste at all.

  7. Chris M.

    I see a fantastic potential sleeper here! A 5.7 Hemi would be outstanding in this turd box!

    Like 1
    • Nevadahalfrack Nevadahalfrack Member

      “If you’re gonna be a bear, you’d best be a grizzly!” So why a 5.7??!! Make it the 6.2!!!!😎

      Like 3
      • Chris M.

        Cheers to that!

        Like 2
  8. Charles Moorehead

    Well
    Neat little cars if built into some form of a performance car which is the image they are trying for BUT 6 cylinder and auto not so much.
    $3500 tops!!!

  9. James Schwartz

    The Hemi thing isn’t new. The Roadkill guys are working on it, or have already completed it.

    https://www.hotrod.com/articles/sneak-peek-roadkill-gremmie-finally-getting-hemi/

  10. Karl

    In high school a guy had one of these with a 301 V8 and a 4 speed and I had a 72 GMC pickup with a mildly built 350 it had good heads, intake 650 Holly double pumper headers and ignition. We raced and he had me a little bit worried till we hit 50 mph then I walked away but it was no slouch and the thought of getting beat by a Gremlin was terrifying!

  11. Danko

    I’m impressed that it still has it’s gas cap

    Like 3
    • Rube Goldberg Member

      Ha! Yep, saw more than one Gremlin with a rag in the hole.

      Like 1
  12. sourpwr Member

    I bought a 1974 new in 1975 for $3,300 which included extended warranty and rustproofing. We drove it a lot of miles and did a lot of repairs. One thing I remember most was when you opened that hatchback glass the spare tire sat there taking up all of your storage. Hardly room for groceries. It also got stuck in two inches of snow on flat ground

  13. Louis Q Chen

    This A.M.C.’s answer for an economy car! Take the Hornet & chop the tail off! These cars were reliable and tough to handle the rough treatment some owners gave them. A good high school friend of mine bought one new (1972) and had it till he passed away in ’79. His car was bequeathed to me and I kept it as a daily driver till it rusted out. I remembered telling me friend to put 4 bags of cement for winter driving due to the lightness of the rear end. The Gremlin was the fore runner to the Toyota Corolla FX-16 which sold quite well due to it’s 16 valve 4 cyl. engine. A.M.C was a quirky car company but did came out with fore runners to the Porsche 928 (Pacer), Toyota Corolla FX-16… Too bad Chrysler killed it after they bought them out. The only decent economy cars that they had was when A.M.C. joined forces with Renault & came out with the Encor and the Alliance. The only problem with those cars were the anemic engines. R.I.P. A.M.C. it was nice knowing you. :(

    Like 1
  14. Patrick Huot

    Not that I would ever own one, but always thought they were cool in their own way. If you’re gonna take pics of a Gremlin, then at least “SHOW THE LIL GREMLIN on the back hatch” !!
    Some kids used to steal the gremlin off the back hatch back in the 70’s. Those were collectable in themselves.

    Like 2
  15. DougJ

    Pricing is a BIT high, but perfect place for that 401 I had laying around!! Love it!

    Like 1
  16. john Member

    That 232 is a long out standing engine, had it in my 63 Rambler 660 station wagon, put a OD in it, I don’t remember what kind of mileage it got but fuel was .20-.25 cheap. Then had a 93 Jeep Wrangler, had the same engine
    except pot injected, couldn’t kill it. Oh wait, my wife left it gear when we were towing it, pulled it for a few blocks, twisted off the bottom of the distributer, lacked oil and had a solid block of steel. Put in a new engine and still running 10 yrs later

  17. Rube Goldberg Member

    Anybody that’s heard of Byron Illinois wheelie contest, has heard of Brian Ambrosini, the “wheelie king” in his ’74 Gremlin. Turns out, this guy, was charged with stealing over a million dollars worth of Snap-on tools from a warehouse in Kenosha, and selling them on-line, and faces some hefty jail time, like 35 years. Who knew?
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9TUY60KUP8I

    Like 1

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