Mean and Green: 1974 AMC Gremlin

AMC was always a manufacturer that marched to the beat of a different drummer, but if truth be told, that was no bad thing. It allowed them to produce some of the most adventurous cars of the 1970s, and some of these were more successful than others. The Gremlin was a car that managed to sell in reasonable numbers during its 9-year production life, with more than 671,000 people taking one home. Today, the Gremlin has its own strong following, and maybe it is one of those enthusiasts amongst our Barn Finds readers who will want to give this one a new home. The Gremlin is located in Bessemer, Alabama, and is listed for sale here on eBay. The owner has set a BIN price of $5,000 for this distinctive offering from AMC.

If your aim in life is to buy a classic car that will allow you to “chameleon” into the background, then this probably isn’t the car for you. It appears that the Gremlin started life finished in the attractive Medium Green, but someone has chosen to liven up the party a bit. You certainly can’t say that the new color is subtle, and I’m not that sure about the quality of the workmanship involved. Areas such as the engine bay, around the hatch, and the door frames, all still sport the original color. One positive is that the owner says that the car has very little rust, so it appears that at the very worst, the next owner could either choose to complete the color change process properly or return it to its original shade of green.

The interior of the Gremlin has its good and bad points, but the fact that the owner uses it as a daily driver indicates that it is, at least, serviceable. The upholstered surfaces are demonstrating the usual wear, tear, and deterioration that you would expect from an original 45-year-old car. The dash, pad, and door trims all look to be surprisingly good. The cover on the front seat isn’t original, but it does have a tear in it. I would be inclined to replace it when I replaced the damaged cover on the rear seat. Of course, you might also just choose to fit a set of slip-on aftermarket covers if you want things to look tidy on a budget. Someone needs to tidy up the installation of the aftermarket stereo, while giving the carpet a good clean and throwing in a set of floor-mats would also make things look better.

The Gremlin is not a particularly large car, which makes its 2,855lb weight seem to be surprisingly high. This means that when equipped, as this car is, with the 232ci 6-cylinder engine and automatic transmission, performance could best be described as leisurely. However, its performance figures are surprisingly close to those of the 304-engined Gremlin, while using significantly less fuel. Being a daily driver, this Gremlin appears to be in fairly sound mechanical health, and the transmission should have plenty of life in it following a recent rebuild. Interestingly, the next owner shouldn’t experience any electrical faults with the car, as the entire wiring loom in the car has been replaced, from one end to the other.

Gremlins. People either seem to love them, or they hate them. In 1974, people loved them, because with sales totalling 171,128 cars, that was the most successful year of Gremlin production. This one is an interesting car that appears to be strong mechanically, with a solid body. Part of me would like to see the paintwork restored to its original color, while part of me really likes the quirky paint that goes with what is a quirky car. I’d be very tempted to leave it largely as it is, and really stand out from the crowd.


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  1. JOHN Member

    That’s a lot on money for a Gremlin with a horrific paint job. Also missing the cool Gremlin gas cap…

    Like 6
    • JOHN Member

      My original post here mentioning the gas cap, I looked on ebay after posting out of curiosity, there were several available, even NOS. So apparently they are not exactly unobtanium…

      Like 1
  2. Gaspumpchas

    Yea John I bet the gas cap was the first thing to go!! Good luck, they should call it green slime!

    Like 1
    • That AMC Guy

      Those funky Gremlin gas caps were stolen regularly back in the day. I have no idea what the people who stole them did with them.

      Dash looks kind of wavy-gravy. The dashboard in Gremlins (and Hornets) contain a multitude of ill-fitting plastic parts that didn’t line up much better when new.

      Five grand? Seems like only yesterday this would have been a $200 used car with few takers.

      Like 6
      • Gaspumpchas

        Yea AMC guy the Gremlin gas cap is unobtainium. the only good thing about this car is that a v8 will fit in there nicely, friend had one with a 360 and that thing would roast the tires. Not for 5 large tho.

        Like 2
    • Rube Goldberg Member

      About the gas cap, I was a pump jockey when the Gremlin came out, and most had a rag in the hole. Later, AMC did make a Gremlin locking cap, but by then, every man cave had one, so nobody cared.

      • PJH

        Holy crap! That gas cap sold for $400.!

  3. canadainmarkseh Member

    Never been a pretty car. Probably not a good handling car either. It’s got a good drive line though. I say paint a bunch of flowers all over it put some rabbit ears on it and buck teeth in the grille and drive it in the Easter parade. I’m really at a loss as to what else it’s good for.

    Like 3
  4. Skorzeny

    canadainmarkseh, I would do a high RPM LS swap, add a manual, go through the suspension, paint it a different color, so as not to attract TOO much attention, and have some fun with it. I guess I am in the Gremlin lover’s camp…

    Like 2
    • RayT Member

      I’m with you. Always liked the different-drummer design, and have always thought it would be fun to drop a SBC in one. Having seen them raced (pretty sure Amos Johnson’s IMSA cars handled pretty well, so that’s not a problem), I wouldn’t mind toying with the original “six” first to see if it could carry the mail….

      When I first saw this posting, I thought this particular car too nice to tweak. But the closer you look, the more there is to make right, so why not?

      I’d want an original gas cap, though.

      Like 1
  5. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry Member

    I bought one of these with the same drive train only in light blue for my ex wife during our divorce in 81.
    God bless America

    Like 1
  6. Wayne

    RayT, a 4.0 block bored to +.060 and a 258 crank gives you 4.9 liters. That, a nice 5 speed and a long walk down Clifford Research shelves should perk this baby up quite nicely. And you would still have an AMC 6 cylinder under the hood. It could be fun!

    Like 3
  7. Miguel

    I found a similar one not long ago in Mexico. It is a 1976 model. They are asking a similar price for it as well.

    • Miguel

      Somebody did some work on the engine compartment.

      If you want to see more AMC/VAM cars in Mexico, I have set up a page that shows them. They are not for sale, they are just to show how much people want for the cars in Mexico as compared to the US. If you want to see the page please send me an email at


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