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One Family Owner: 1976 AMC Gremlin X

You have to give AMC credit for being willing to try different things. Just after they introduced their new compact, the Hornet, to replace the aging American for 1970, they also came out with the Gremlin as a mid-year model. They chopped 12 inches off the Hornet’s wheelbase and more off the rear section to come up with a car that was smaller than a compact but bigger than a subcompact. Despite its strange name and looks, the car sold well by AMC standards, producing more than 671,000 copies through 1978. This ’76 edition, the sportier Gremlin X, is pretty well-worn from living out in the desert but is a running, one-owner car offered by a dealer here on eBay where the price is $6,750. It can be found in Lucerne Valley, California.

Changes to the Gremlin were largely cosmetic over the years. Along the way, AMC tried a variety of things to attract buyers to the car, even offering their small-block V-8 for a while. The Gremlin X was introduced as an option in the car’s second year, giving it a larger inline-six and a variety of trim combinations to create a sportier look for younger buyers. In 1976, the Gremlin X became a series of its own for just one model year, before disappearing altogether. As the car and design were aging, Gremlin sales were down to 53,000 units for 1976, including about 6,000 of the Gremlin X.

When you ordered a Gremlin X in 1976, you got AMC’s larger 258 cubic inch I-6, a 6000-RPM tach, sports steering wheel, wider radial tires, Hurst linkage for floor-mounted shifting, power steering, tinted windshield, bright molding trim, and wheel trim rings. It also came with an interior featuring “Navajo” patterned cloth upholstery and Gremlin X stripes on the sides of the car. While the seller says this automobile is rust-free, the original paint along with the rest of the car have been pretty well baked. Even the clear plastic covers on the instruments are so faded that the numbers are fuzzy. Other than a small dent in one door, the body is probably good. We’re told that the 77,000 miles the odometer shows are likely original, but not guaranteed.

This Gremlin X is one family Arizona car. The engine is said to be strong as is the transmission. There is no smoke or fluid drips, but the exhaust does leak at the donut. If you want to hear it running, check out this video the seller has provided. No issues are reported with the steering (including the power steering pump), suspension or brakes. This Gremlin came with factory air conditioning, but it does not work but is complete. The interior is going to need a lot of attention. The material under the Walmart front seat covers is all ripped up, and the back seat has some separation at the seams. The dash pad is cracked and the radio has been ripped out.

What’s a 1976 Gremlin worth today? According to Hagerty, you wouldn’t want to pay more than $15,000 for one that looks like a time capsule. Fair is $3,500 or roughly half the seller’s asking price. But these are standard Gremlin prices, and an “X” model might bring a little more. Considering the expense that’s going to be required to whip this car back into presentable condition, you’re going have to REALLY love the Gremlin to justify the overall investment.


  1. KKW

    We used to say they looked like a Hornet that got rear-ended. I’m sure there’s a classic AMC fan out there who’ll rescue it.

  2. JCA Member

    Cool. It even has a trailer light connection. Or is that a bottle opener?

  3. Comet

    Is that an outlet for a trailer wiring pigtail?

  4. Steve Clinton

    Clean Arizona Car? $6700.00 Somebody’s dreaming.

  5. Super Glide Member

    Good little car with a 3 speed on the floor. Timing chains wear through the cover, rocker arm wear, weak rear ends and definitely not rust proof. Also absolutely terrible in the snow. Because of the rust, floor air conditioning will
    make an appearance somewhere after 80,000. I had mine in the Chicago area.

    What do you want, they were made in the 70s.

    • Blyndgesser

      Pretty sure this one’s an automatic.

  6. Glen staley

    Restmod 383 chevy 5 speed ford 8.8 rear axle

  7. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry

    It shows signs of overheating at some point. Poor interior condition, automatic transmission this is a $500.00 car.
    God bless America

    Like 2
    • Steve Clinton

      And God bless American Motors…wherever they may be!

      Like 3

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