Hornet’s Nest: 1974 AMC Hornet

Some of you may be wondering why this economy car is in the Muscle Car category! That is because it sits like a muscle car, looks like a muscle car, and with a V8 engine it would be a muscle car! Hornets are a divisive vehicle, either you like them or you don’t. I would totally drive this, but I have a good friend (an AMC enthusiast) who would certainly not. This Hornet has been tastefully modified to a unique look, almost looking like a baby Javelin. With the right amount of work and upgrades, this could be a seriously fun street car. Find it here on Craigslist in Minnesota for $2,700. Thanks to Angry Johnny for sending this one in!

Though disappointingly empty now, the engine bay of this Hornet is prime for an AMC V8! If you wanted to really get creative, a turbocharged AMC inline six cylinder would be a welcome addition. With the current stance, this car would be a blast from the past in true 1970s form. The seller has an AMC 360 V8 as well as a 304 V8 that can be included with the sale of this car for additional cost, and if I were a buyer I would certainly accept that offer! As can be seen here, it is rusty under the battery tray.

The interior is mostly complete, and the seller states “removed carpet due to mice, headliner still good, back seat fair (needs backing for cargo area), one puncture hole behind drivers seat, one rust hole drivers floor, and small hole top of rocker door entry drivers side.” With some minor rust repair and interior work, this could easily be a comfortable and attractive cockpit.

I like the way it sits now, but I have a suspicion that it would look really nice with an engine in it to weigh down the front! Though it has some rust here and there, the only real damage to the car is the hood, grille, and passenger fender. The seller is including new, rust-free sheet metal to repair this damage. The seller is also willing to lower the price to $2,300 if the slotted mag wheels are swapped out for steel wheels, though the wheel and tire setup is a big part of the appeal for me! What would you do with it?


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  1. sir mike

    What were they thinking…or not thinking….with that suspension and wheel/tyre combo???

  2. 68custom

    a 390/401 and this car could become a rocket, but i would have to see it first to check out the rust situation. I know purists would cringe but a boosted LS would work for me as well!


    Good bones, I have a set of rear louvers for this car

  4. Jack M.

    Needs wider wheels and tires on the rear!

    • tirefriar

      And some beefier 2×4 to support the rear body

  5. Old Red

    Needs 4×4 and jacked with ford B.B.

    Yep 👍

    Like 1
  6. Steve R

    Someone would be better off waiting for a dry $1,500 car to pop up in a western state and have it shipped. Without those wheels this is a $500 roller. You could buy a set of dish mags for $400, the same as he’s asking.

    Steve R

  7. Chris Londish Member

    When I first saw this car l thought 4wd conversion I love these as there was only 2 dozen of these imported to Australia when they first came out so they are very rare here most had the 340 CI and Chrysler auto genuine 135 mph car awesome

  8. Art M.

    I don’t think I have ever saw a Hornet done up in this fashion, Gremlins yes, but not a Hornet. I used to own one, but going this route never crossed my mind. I sort of like it.

  9. EHide Behind

    With beefed up motor larger Crysler tranny with stall, behind serious nitrous 401, and tires that grip,, you can twist these bodies into pretzels, need beefing up underneath.
    With a 9.2 compression 360 built mild you could have ctuiset. No need remain stock tho on this ride, any fine interior will do.
    This is kind of old autos, but more complete, club members would donate to school and colleges shop classes for training and then sell for bettet tools or school programs.
    Lots of other autos out there better to begin with.

  10. AMCFAN

    The Hornet HB is a very underrated and overlooked collectible car.Yes I SAID IT. The popularity with this style seems to be only with the 77 Hornet AMX and the Concord AMX of 78.My choice would be with the clean lines of the 73 with non energy absorbing bumpers.I have seen a few with factory 360’s although rare.

    As far as performance Maskin and Kanners figured out before Wally Booth that the swoopy Hornet was much faster then the boxy Gremlin. No everything AMC made doesn’t need a 401. We don’t all live in a perfect world and try finding a good one you can build for under $1000. Even with it you are not going to out run a Honda Civic that is tuned. A warmed over 304 or my favorite a 360 will do just fine. Most speed limits are only 65 mph anyway.

    Most everything interchanges with the Gremlin interior wise also doors and windshield as well as suspension. In the 70’s AMC offered a neat tent kit that could be installed on the rear with the hatch open.

    If I am not mistaken a new Hornet HB with a V8 competed in the Cannon Ball Run and was piloted by members of Hot Rod Magazine back in the day. Huh, wonder why they didn’t drive a Chevy?

    This car would offer a unique build for not a lot of money. I like the wheels. It is what you would see on them in the 70’s if you were cool. Hopefully someone doesn’t get it and install a Chevy motor in it or worse a Mopar/Fiat since somehow they are related. NOT.

    A nice body and worth the money. Good luck to the seller

    • Andrew Tanner Member

      As both a Mopar and AMC enthusiast, I always cringe when people refer to the AMC/Chrysler 360 as “basically the same” or talk about putting Mopar drivetrain in AMCs because its in the family. I’m just about as far from a purist as can be, but I can’t stand misinformation!

      • EHide Behind

        I CIRCLE TRACKED AMC’s and can attest to their 360 being a good engine, except for valvetrains.
        And I too have listened to b’s artist try to tell me they were Chrysler engines.
        I never understood the 4×4 jeep guys pulling the MAC 8’s to replace with Chevy 350’s, when AM C had far better torque curves.

  11. Chris Londish Member

    I’ve had another look wrong model l was thinking of the AMX if you are all a bit confused about my first comment

  12. tirefriar

    Seriously, find a clean complete car for same or less in the dry states and then go to town with mods.

    Andrew, not sure what mods you are liking here unless its the wood plank supporting the rear body… Aside from the slotted mags this looks pretty much stock… There is really nothing to see here, maybe at $700 it would be something of an interest to somebody…

  13. Wayne

    I always wanted to lower one of these and FILL the wheel wells with tires and wheels that are just covered by the top of the fender. Then install a supercharged 6 cylinder and a 5 speed. Plus proper shocks and sway bars. You could do the same thing with a Hornet Sport Wagon
    Just say’n

  14. Rhett

    Cool car – If you go the street freak route, the stance is awesome and the wheels/tires are period perfect. A 401/Torqueflite combo, and this thing is a poor mans SC. I always liked what AMC did with the Hornet styling, and even the hatchback is kinda pretty despite the bumpers. Asking price is maybe 1k ambitious but that’s why we show up in person and wave money…..

  15. tasker

    LOVE IT! my brother had a hatch when I was a kid, 304 3 on the floor….fun ride!

  16. Mitch Ross Member

    Like the car, but for $2700 you can get a running driving decent car with a 6. This car is missing way more than a drive train and the devil is in the details.

  17. Leon

    As an Australian, the Hornet 2 door of this era looks to my eyes like a stretched British Vauxhall Viva /Australian Holden Torana.

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