Groovy Interior: 1970 AMC Gremlin Levi Edition

It is rare that I start a review with a picture of the interior but this 1970 AMC Gremlin has the optional Levi Complete interior. The car is listed here on eBay with 2 days remaining and the winning bidder can pick up the car in Wheaton, Illinois. The Buy It Now Price is $10,900 but the seller will consider a best offer. The car is claimed to have been in several movies and commercials including a small part in the Johnny Depp movie “Blow.”

1970 was the introductory year for the AMC Gremlin. The seller believes the odometer reading of 78,200 to be correct. The car has been repainted once and is driven sparingly. It sounds like the car was restored at some point and the interior was upgraded to the Levi Complete option. At 50 years old, the seller makes no warranties and states the car has a few dings and scratches.

The engine is either a 3.3-liter or 3.8-liter inline six-cylinder motor and the seller has recently replaced the battery, cables, coil, distributor car, rotor spark plug wires, and window seals as well as changed the oil and flushed the fuel system. The 3.3-liter inline-six generated 128 horsepower and the 3.8-liter inline-six delivered 145 horsepower.

Designed by Dick Teague the AMC Gremlin was advertised as delivering the best miles per gallon of any US production car in 1970. While this car was focused on fuel economy, later models could be optioned for a little more performance. I would have loved to buy this for my daughter when she was in high school but she drove a 1972 GTO instead. Who has owned one of these little buggers? They are supposed to be pretty well made and dependable.

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  1. Howard A Member

    1st of all, Levi’s interior came out in ’73, so it’s not original anymore. Looks like the 232 (3.8) which was an option. Also, this car has electric wipers, I believe early Gremlins still had vacuum. Funny thing about the “Levi’s” interior. People thought it really WAS denim, but I read, federal law prohibited the use of cotton denim for safety reasons, and it was really nylon made to look like denim. I remember, it wore terribly, certainly not like denim. Being a 1970, it could be a very early one, and nobody will ever know the Levi’s wasn’t standard. Price a bit optimistic, but a great example of the 1st US car to change history.

    Like 16
    • That AMC guy

      Yes, 1970 and 1971 Gremlins would have come with vacuum wipers standard, though electrics were a factory option.

      Definitely not original, but still looks great. You hardly ever see an early Gremlin any more with an intact grille. This car is very, very yellow! Though I recognize the original color seen in the engine bay since I used to have a Hornet that color.

      Judging by the master cylinder it has original manual drum brakes. Also has the old Motorola alternator, you can see the solid-state regulator for it on the inner driver-side fender. (Might be a bit strained with the added-on AC. Delco alternator conversions are common for those wanting more amps and easier serviceability.) For 1970 the automatic transmission would be the old Borg-Warner unit. I don’t see a power steering pump or hoses. If manual steering you’ll be doing a lot of wheel winding at six turns lock-to-lock.

      The aftermarket AC looks like it has a fairly modern compressor (Sanden?) rather than the York 2-cylinder paint shaker that would have come with the factory system. Much more efficient. I see they’ve even managed to fit a condenser fan. The AC unit under the dash looks pretty bulky and intrusive though.

      Like 14
      • Spanky

        Paint shaker, lol.

  2. Rex Kahrs Member

    The Model T didn’t change history?

    Like 4
    • Howard A Member

      Of course the Model changed history, but a different kind of history. The change from horse to cars. The Gremlin was the 1st small car to compete with the then cheapest car at $1,995, the VW Bug by like $100 bucks. It had a real heater, a real automatic, could fit 6 people( depending on gender) that didn’t have to get out on steep hills. It showed America didn’t have to put up with those things if they wanted a small car.

      Like 16
  3. bone

    “Restored” — the seller states he is not representing it as restored, and rightly so . Wrong and not a factory color , wrong interior , with dings and dents on the body and some crazy stripes . I don’t think this is worth anywhere near 11Gs , but could be a fun car for someone at the right price.

    Like 8
  4. DRV

    My Last Volvo 1800 had front seats from the Levi special. They fit well and we’re comfy, but ugh. It was just a few weeks before I put the original in after restoring them.

    Like 2
  5. karl

    I had a burnt orange 74 Gremlin when I was 18 .Paid $1,500 in 1979 from a dealership . It had less than 50k on it and was nearly mint .It wasn’t an “X” , but It was a high line model , gold stripes , 258 auto ,p/s two tone interior and carpeting . It was quick for a 6 cyl, and was a fun car to drive . I had it less than a year until a kid in a 69 Polara wagon rear ended me at a light and totaled it. Its still one of my cars that I miss , it was a fun little car to cruise around in

    Like 8
  6. Jeff Kibble

    Had a ‘72 Gremlin X in high school, 3 speed standard on the floor, engine was a 258, car was a blast. Sure wish I’d kept it and the ‘68 Road Runner , ‘72 Barracuda….

    Like 1
  7. Jeff 58

    Had a ‘72 Gremlin X in high school, 3 speed standard on the floor, engine was a 258, car was a blast. Sure wish I’d kept it and the ‘68 Road Runner , ‘72 Barracuda….

  8. David Painter

    Had a Levi’s Gremlin X with a 304.
    It blew up, and I replaced it with a GM 400 with Turbo 350 trans.
    Sleeper. Won a few bucks.

    Like 7
  9. Rick Rothermel

    I’ve been doing striping on cars fopr 40 years, I have never seen that treatment on a Gremmie. Doesnt look BAD, but the early years of that marque were kinda stark. I’m thinkin’ someone alkong the line did a serious update on this one. Not bad at all.

    Like 1
    • That AMC guy

      It looks like the stripes used on the later Gremlin “X”, here’s a 1977 model:×390.jpg

      Like 1
      • Krista K

        I had the yellow Gremlin with the Levi’s interior. Can’t remember what year it was, but it was given to me in ’83 when I was 18. It was the 3 speed manual, which I had never driven before, but the 13 yr. old sister of my sister’s boyfriend taught me to drive it by making me start and stop on a pretty steep hill (she had learned on their Dad’s old Willy’s) I drove that car around in Denver & up into the mountains for 3 years. We had one helluva good time! Then I sold it to an ex boyfriend for $200. He needed it and I didn’t need it anymore. Coincidentally, my Dad had that similar yellow Ford Pinto and he also drove a SD State Highway Dept safety yellow pickup to work & back, and if that isn’t enough…my favorite color And the color of my bedroom growing up, is that same yellow with a couple of drops of orange mixed in. One more I’ll mention, but it didn’t end well, was the opportunity I had, 4 yrs. ago to buy the ’12-’13? Ford Focus ST 2 door hatchback in that damned same yellow with the yellow interior from a neighbor for like $328.56 or some such silly price (rather oddly eccentric he was) but on the day I was bringing him a 1% downpayment, all in small change I scraped up….I watched that car drive past my house…he had sold it to the neighbor on his other side. I cried then, I cry still. Have a great day, Gentlemen

  10. CCFisher

    The interior is a custom job. That upholstery fabric and pattern aren’t even close to the factory-issued Levi’s interior.

    @Howard – unfortunate choice of words. This is the first American-made subcompact, but it is most definitely not the first American car to change history. Also, the only way you’ll get six people in one of these is if they’re petite, consenting adults with plenty of Crisco.

    Like 7
  11. Mark

    Vw jeans beetle done it better imo !

    • 370zpp

      Plus, the Beetle had those two handy “straps” hanging on either side of the doorposts, always available for questionable social activity. . .

      Like 7
      • Stevieg

        I like how you think lol. Let me tell you about the rollers in the back of a hearse!

  12. Angel_Cadillac_Diva Angel Cadillac Diva Member

    My best friend in high school was Richard B. His parents bought him a 1963 Rambler for his first car. He rear ended a 1969 Cougar and totalled his Rambler. They then bought him a 1971 or ’72 Gremlin for him to drive back and forth to community college. It was an ok car. Cute, nimble, not fast or loaded with extras. Being a Cadillac mistress I wasn’t too impressed. He got a job at DisneyWorld and took the car to Florida. Several years later he traded it in on a Pacer. He was definitely a AMC guy until Chrysler bought them.

    Like 3
  13. jerry z

    I’m guessing the hood was closed when it won all those awards! Being a Ca car seems to be a plus though with little rust. Just hope the paint is “hiding” anything.

  14. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry Member

    They actually were fun little cars even if everyone did ask “where’s the other half”?. I had a 74 Gremlin X 258 3 on the floor. Put a lot of mikes on it. Drove it till the doors fell off. Not really. It was dark green in and out. AMC moved the starter from left to right in either 73 or 74 so some parts weren’t interchangeable.
    God bless America

  15. Ned Flanders

    A friend had one. Ran into a telephone pole. Ended up with the engine partway through the dashboard and the trans almost in the back seat.

  16. Rex Kahrs Member

    Hey Ned, it sounds like your friend had the ethanol-powered version?

    Like 1
  17. Bigdlm

    I bought a used 73 Gremlin around 1980 for $50. Filled the gas tank and doubled the car’s value. One hasn’t experienced abject terror driven one of these turds on an icy Ohio road.

    Like 1

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