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Parked in 1999: One-Owner 1974 AMC Gremlin

This isn’t a Hemi Cuda, Porsche 356, or some other incredibly valuable car, but this 1974 AMC Gremlin is a dusty barn find nonetheless. It’s also a one-owner car that has been parked for over two decades and it appears to be in pretty nice, preserved condition. It’s listed here on craigslist in the Livermore, California area and the seller is asking $5,900. Thanks to Pat L. for sending in this tip!

Some of the photos are hard to see given the incredible contrast from either super bright or super dark areas, but other than what looks like a few areas where the paint has been rubbed against for the last twenty years, it looks solid. It’s hard to tell if the bumpers are sagging or if it’s just the angle of the photos and it’s not like post-5-mph-bumpers are going to win a beauty contest anyway, but they look straight in most of the photos.

This car is a barn find, or garage find, and it comes with its “old dust & all”, according to the seller. It really looks like it could be cleaned up and restored here and there – like the front fascia – and the paint could be buffed out and it might look surprisingly nice again. The Gremlin was made for the model years 1970 through 1978 and then it lived on as an AMC Spirit for a few years, and even an Eagle Kammback, my personal favorite of the Gremlin family.

The interior looks like it could use some work as far as the seats go but the back seat looks great. A cool feature of this particular car is that it has a three-speed manual transmission. The seller says that it’s a grandpa’s car and being in California its whole life, there is no rust on this one which is always good news.

They list the engine as a 6-cylinder but they don’t say whether it’s the base 232 or a 258 cubic-inch inline-six. I believe that it’s a 258 six and it looks good in the engine compartment. This one ran when it was parked in 1999. I’d fix the interior and maintain the rest and then just drive this car and enjoy it – how about you?


  1. Howard A Member

    Californy is about the only place you’ll find one. They rusted to bits anywhere else. Got to give those folks credit, they sure live on a different standard than the rest of us,,,for now. The fact it has floors entices the deal, but maybe $900 bucks in the real world. May have been grandpa’s car, but the grandkids took turns trashing it. Still, a great find.

    Like 11
  2. XMA0891

    Agree with you on the price @HowardA. She runs, and she’s a manual; so I’d up it a couple of hundred from your offer, but $5,900 “Second-Gen” (by which I mean newer than ’73) Gremlin? This seller is California Dreamin’.

    Like 8
  3. Maverick

    How much.lol

    Like 0
  4. Mitchell Gildea Member

    It’s not a Hemi ‘Cuda, but it sure could use a Hemi…

    Like 4
  5. Johnny

    Yes the price is too high. About $4,400 too much. ,but it would and could be a nice cheap running dependable car. I,d rather have the 6 cyclinde then any hemi any day. You can,nt even buy good gas to run one of the .Plus the expense to repair on. Where the little six cylinder will more then likely out last the hemi and save you alot more money in gas ,speeding tickets and repairs. I,d like to have the Rambler. Clean it up and re-do the seat and replace a few things. I,d say a reasonable price would be between $1,000 to $1,400. Start keeping close tabs on that Dodge mileage. The speed-ometer works off of electric and it will rack up mile.While it is parked. Start writing it down and keep close tabs–you,ll see. They do that so the warranty will expire sooner.

    Like 1
    • Cerno

      Where you buying cars from the Bronx that aren’t actually belonging to the rightful owner. You can’t buy a pair of mint bumpers for that .

      Like 0
  6. fran

    Its one thing to use a picture with all the dust, just for sayin’ “Barn Find”. Its another thing to leave it that way for the rest of the poor pictures, (too lazy to get good pictures). Clean it! Washing it might bring it up to 3500.00.

    Like 1
  7. BigDoc Richard L Van Dyke

    Ugliest cars ever made IMHO.

    Like 1
  8. BrianT Brian Member

    I bought one new, same exterior colors, different interior color. I drove it to around 140,000 miles. The engine still ran great but when the second transmission, automatic, gave up, so did I. I traded it for a V8 Maverick and the next owner replaced the transmission and drove it a while after that. Oh, I paid $3200 brand new.

    Like 0
  9. S

    I remember those wheel covers on Hornets back then. It always seemed to me if you got too close you’d scratch your leg on the little point in the center if you got too close! I guess that never really happened, but it seemed like it could.

    Like 1
    • BrianT Brian Member

      I never liked those wheel covers. I went right to the House of Speed in Danbury, CT and bought dark center Cragers for it.

      Like 1
  10. KKW

    I never cared much for these when they were new, but now that I’m older, they’ve kinda grown on me. But then again, so have hemorrhoids.

    Like 1
  11. Robert Eddins

    Wonder why both doors are out a
    bit? If the engine isn.t froze or have worn out bearings it could be a good entry level econobox.
    About 1500.00 here to pull reupolster and reboot the buckets.
    Plus money to refurb the engine and hire a gas tank flush out.
    You.d promanly have 9k to 9.5 k in it now that I think the brakes are gonna need flushed and new cylinders and the master etc so to get her on the road maybe 10k.
    Dunno if that’s a good buy you.d have to be a gremlin fan for sure.

    Like 0
  12. Robert Eddins

    My text device changes my verbiage I can really spell pretty good sorry.

    Like 1
  13. Phlathead Phil

    I’m a-kinda thinkin’ that someone should create a web-page called “Gremlin Finds.”

    Now, don’t get any ideas, it’s just a random thought!

    Like 1
  14. Jeff zekas

    My sons and I have restored several cars, and the rule of thumb is, it costs $10,000 to get the vehicle decent, 20,000 to make it show quality entry, and 30,000 to make it concours. So, yeah, this car isn’t worth much to begin with, and when you want to sell it, you have to find another crazy person who loves that particular model. My buddy found this out, when he was trying to sell his weird, offbrand car.

    Like 0
    • BrianT Brian Member

      which really dictates that you don’t restore it, just drive it and have fun.

      Like 0
  15. Mitchell Ross Member

    Cleaned and polished, with a new interior and tunes ready for the road, this is a $6k car, Maybe.

    Like 0
  16. Mike

    Never put fuel in it after midnight.

    Like 1
  17. PJH

    I’m NOT seein the Gremlin emblem on the back!
    Gotta have that bfor I jump on it.
    Cool little oddball anyway!

    Like 0
  18. Cerno

    People are alive who buy odd things and this was always the car people laughed at due to its name or quality but truth be told there inline power plant was one of the longest manufactured engines and although a little thirsty for a 6 they had a ton of torque and were unbelievably reliable. I love that it’s a stick and in this condition it will be bought for over asking price for the fact that it’s cheap and the body is solid . You can’t even get a paint job done right for $5000 so get it to a upholstery shop and get cruising.

    Like 2

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