Pebble Beach Bound: 1971 AMC Gremlin

Buckle up, you’re about to see the world’s nicest 1971 AMC Gremlin! I mean, as close to Pebble Beach quality as there ever was, if a person can say Pebble Beach and AMC Gremlin in the same breath. This velvet-lined-trailer queen is listed on Hemmings with an asking price of $32,500! Yes, you read that correctly, there wasn’t a mistake with there being an extra zero in that price. This masterpiece is located in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

How does one get a $32,500 Gremlin? You simply take the entire thing apart, piece by piece, part by part, nut, bolt, clip, hose, piston, and literally everything, and then restore every bit of it right down to restoring the zinc on fasteners. You would use over 250 NOS parts and generally spend several times what the car cost, or what it’ll ever be worth, in capturing your dream. We’ve all been there, admit it! That’s all there is to it, really. Two years of work, writing check after check, and heartache and then you’re done! It only takes 48 minutes on tv, but in real life, it takes a little longer.

Then, when you’ve finished, you’ll have the nicest, most-correct factory-perfect 1971 AMC Gremlin in the history of the planet. Maybe even nicer than when it was new. It’s literally that easy! Now, get those checkbooks out and get started on your own projects!

When you’re selling a $32,500 Gremlin I would have expected a wealth of photos, but there are five, lone photos in this listing. Thankfully there is one interior photo and one engine photo, and they’re both gorgeous. Or, the subject of the photos is gorgeous. It’s hard to argue with a red interior for me, and seeing the third pedal also makes me smile. Actually, Gremlins, in general, usually make me smile when they’re even close to being in this condition. I live in the past, which is why I normally like things restored back to bone-stock original-spec. I like old movies, old tv shows, old people (like me), old times, old everything – but mostly, old memories. I could see a $32,500 Gremlin restomod with a V8 and AWD and the whole checklist, but give me original-spec any day of the week. I’m boring and I openly admit it.

The seller gives an incredible listing of the work that was done on this car, including “the original engine and transmission fully rebuilt. All new brakes, steel lines, carpet, upholstery, weatherstripping, etc used in restoration.” And, “all lenses are first run NOS with markings and reflector patterns that differ from commonly available later run lenses.” Dang, that’s detailed. I’d love to know more about the shop that did the work on this one. This is the standard engine for 1971, AMC’s 232 inline-six with 135 hp. The seller says that it “is an excellent running car that is well-sorted and fun to drive or show. It tracks straight down the road at 60mph, starts and idles as it should.” Have any of you gone overboard on a restoration? It’s easy to do.

Fast Finds

Comments

  1. RayT Member

    Scotty, I can think of a few cars I would love to put through a resto like this one. Unfortunately, a Gremlin just isn’t one of them. Every time I see one, the letters “SBC” pop into my head, and if I was going to go down that path, I wouldn’t much care if the tail light lenses are proper “early-pattern NOS” or not. I would, however, probably spend almost as much as the seller did putting a Gremlin in mechanical and physical shape around its new (and heretical) beefed-up small-block!

    It would be interesting to see what the seller finally gets for the car. Unless you’re talking about Porsche 356s, 21-window VW buses or Ferraris, these kinds of all-out rebuilds seldom return the investment. I applaud the effort, but don’t think the world is yet ready for $32K-plus Germlins.

    • Scotty Staff

      RayT, I couldn’t agree more. I would much rather take that $32,000 and buy a half-dozen cheap-but-nice cars.

    • Ohio Rick

      You really don’t need s SBC. AMC had a 304 that will do nicely in the flyweight. Works in mine ( which I don’t think would sell for half the asking price of this one despite a similar restro). And you can shift mine three times after you take off!

      • jwinters

        well if a 304 will fit, a 401 will go in there too… same block.

    • Vince Habel

      Ray I hear you but I would go with a AMC V8. They made some good ones.

      • Pleiku Pete

        How about a 700 HP 6.2-liter supercharged Hemi V8 engine….then you could you call it a “Grhemi”?

  2. Marty Member

    Great write up, Scotty! I have to echo pretty much what Ray said, above. I can only add that I owned a Gremlin or two, in my past…hey, I’m among friends, I can admit that, right? I bought one of them for fifty dollars, and might have overpaid.

    I can applaud the incredible effort that went into a restoration like this, but I have to wonder what was done to correct the flaws this thing had, straight from the factory… The 232 and the 258 were bullet proof little engines as long as the crankcases were kept full, and that was no small effort with these.

    An interesting car which actually turned heads, for better or worse, then and now.

    • Scotty Staff

      Hey, thanks, Marty! That’s darn nice of you. I think you’re right that it’s probably better now than when it left the factory. I bet they corrected a few things that the car had when it went out the door in late-’70 or early-’71.

  3. plattmotors plattmotors

    My blue Gremlin with the white racing stripe is considered legendary in my humble hometown of Livingston NJ. After purchasing her in Newark for $250 in 1992 I pointed that Grem west and never looked back. 3000 miles and the only problem was a thermostat failure in the warm Arizona sun. I regrettably sold the old Grem in the bay area for $100. Big Mistake I have missed that car ever since. I have been keeping my eyes open for a replacement but this resto will not suffice. I saw the most beautiful original documented Gremlin a couple of years ago in Palm Springs and it only brought 20K?! It was purchased by one of if not the biggest Lamborghini collectors on the west coast. Lamborghinis and Gremlins that’s my kind of car guy!

    • Robert

      “Lamborghinis and Gremlins that’s my kind of car guy!”

      I fully agree. I have a variety of cars, including two Pinto wagons, a Ferrari, 63 Vette etc, When visitors see my Pinto parked next to my Ferrari the REAL car guys understand and appreciate how special the unrestored all original Pinto is.

      • KO

        These words have never left my mouth before, but that’s a freaking beautiful Pinto!

      • Woodie Man

        It is certainly a beautiful Pinto. Cant believe I said that having owned a ’73 (small bumper) in ’78 and ’79. Exactly like yours down to the roof rack but yellow. It was just a Pinto. Never imagined they would rise to the heights of desirability they seem to have attained. Chacun a son gout!

  4. CCFisher

    It takes a special person to wake up one day and say “I’m going to build the best Gremlin in the world!” Even more special is the person who pays $32,500 to own it.

    • blyndgesser

      Yes. “Special.”

      • Little_Cars Alexander Member

        “Special” or “touched” or just plain emotionally disturbed. This is one man’s ecstatic dream and now of course we pay the price for his OCD restoration. Meh. In the end, it replicated the throwaway car that I owned in college and, quite literally, threw away.

    • Jeffro

      Bless their heart!

  5. Levi77

    Yes, I agree with most comments, but,…fun, crazy, silly. Still not as silly as a half million mustang. Or some crazy mfg # Chevy. Bring on the finds! Just not so many crazy $. We have those sites on our browsers too.

  6. glen

    It looks mint, but, …it’s a Gremlin!

    • angliagt

      If it were Mint – it’d be Green.

  7. Arfwoof

    My girlfriend had one in the seventies and I put a fair number of miles on it. I can still remember what a horrible POS it was when new. I can’t imagine why anyone who has any experience with one would want to put money into it.

    • Dave Wright

      In my late dad’s words……..”they weren’t a good car when new, why would you want an old one?”

  8. 71gremlin

    There wasn’t a shop involved; I’m the builder and owner of this car. I am enjoying all the comments so far! I didn’t restore this car make a lot of money, and I didn’t build it for anyone else. As an AMC collector, I just wanted to build an OE Correct AMC, and thought it would be fun to do it with a Gremlin (i can confirm that it was fun). The fun in this build was the challenge to make it as accurate as possible, so that the final result was as close to a “new” 1971 Gremlin as I could get. I can also verify that this car gets more attention than any car I’ve ever owned at shows – no matter what it is sitting next to. I’ve heard so many great stories from people who remember the gremlin they had when they were young, or the gremlin their mom took them to school in. I get that it isn’t a ‘cool’ car, but it’s a lot of fun, which is what car collecting is all about.

    There was no effort to correct factory flaws, and I understand that not everyone cares about date codes and first run parts, but some people do. I don’t really care for restomods or Chevys, but it is that diversity that makes this hobby so much fun.

    There are many more photos on actual hemmings ad, too. https://www.hemmings.com/classifieds/cars-for-sale/amc/gremlin/1938145.html

    • Dan

      You did a great job. Love the paint scheme. Never have seen a white gremlin in the real world. Just green. Lots of green.

    • jerseygirl

      I still miss my red gremlin with the white hockey stick stripes. When I finally gave it away you could see the road thru the rusted out floor in the back seat. But what I would give to have it back. It cost me $2900 new. I think my payments were $60 a month. and it was all I could afford in 11972!!!!! Thanks for the memories

    • Mike F.

      71Gremlin – I’m glad there are people like you restoring cars like this!

    • Mr. TKD

      Sometimes you do something just for the experience. I appreciate the effort.

  9. Steve R

    It was built for one thing, going to concourse judged shows, in that case make and model are irrelevant. He might find someone else that thinks the same way.

    Steve R

  10. Rick

    It’s his money – let him do what he wants. Plus – it’s nice to see what they looked like new.

  11. Don

    Wee got some good drugs here in the Hoosier state ,no teeth but good drugs just joking ,but wanting that much for a gremlin is crazy

  12. Tom Indrieri

    We derby a lot of these in Northern CA… a friend of mine has over 20 of them and several nice V8 Gremlin’s…

  13. JW

    Speaking of going over budget on a restoration whether original or restomod we’ve all done it and that’s why we are car guys it’s called PASSION !!!

  14. Kent Morris

    The owner and restorer is arguably the premier AMC expert, especially regarding 70-87 cars. He took on this enormous task out of love for the brand. He has loads of NOS parts tucked away and, with decades of hands-on know-how, he knew the time was right to make this happen. His attention to detail is stunning to behold. This car has to be poured over for an extended period in order to appreciate the work involved to bring it to this state.

    Naturally, this is not a driver; it is a museum piece built to transport the user to the dawn of the Gremlin era.

    As with all cars, the price on this Gremlin will be what someone is willing to pay, but it will certainly bring a heady sum. As a side benefit, all Gremlins in good condition may garner more dollar respect due to this project.

    At the very least, this car gives those of us with lesser level AMCs something to aspire to with our own vehicles.

    • Jeffro

      Very well said Kent! Kinda puts in perspective.

  15. Mark

    I just don’t get it. Sure it turned out fantastic but why would someone spend so much money and effort on this car? They can’t honestly expect to get somewhere in the neighborhood of 30 bign’s for this.

  16. 68 custom

    now if it was a Gremlin X with 304 and 4/speed, and I just won the lottery I would be on my way!!! :)

  17. KO

    I love the fact this guy used his expertise and money to restore this vehicle so it will be preserved for future generations. It’s even more of an impressive feat because people that restore a vehicle like this know they’re not going to make money on it. THAT is PASSION. Most cars produced now will never be restored. Better to save examples like this.

  18. David Miraglia

    too much money. I’d take a gremlin at the minimum of 5,000

  19. W9BAG

    Gotta love those vacuum wipers.

  20. Mike H. Mike H

    Why doesn’t anyone restore any car? In probably 80% of all cases the ratio of dollars spent to value is 2:1. . . Did it cost him $32k to restore a car that’s theoretically worth $16k?

    So why do any of us do it? For some of us it’s a labour of love. If I had the space and a bit more available cash I’d be doing exactly this, and a Gremmy is in the Top 10 cars I’d do it to, no question. Rather than ongoing comments of how it would be better if it had this, or I’d do that to it, let’s just try to appreciate that someone built this beautiful and accurate car and took ZERO liberties with it aside from better quality paint and probably a higher quality of build.

    Saying that it was a crappy car when new isn’t productive. Hand build any car, friends, and it will be what you put into it. Personally, I’d build a car to drive it (and have, many times over), and I doubt this one will ever see much of the road, but my level of want is high (but not $32k high).

  21. Jack

    I was going to submit this car a couple days ago, but I thought you guys would laugh. Glad to see this is up on bf!

  22. AMCFAN

    To each his own and I would like to think I am an AMC person. I respect the effort but in making a premiere Gremlin why not start out with a premium car? How about one of Randall AMerican’s Super Gremlins with a 401? They are out there. How about a 72/74 Gremlin X with a factory H code 304? Either one of those would stop the head scratching here. It would cost the same to restore instead of the plain jane/hubcaps wearing car we see here.

    For the record those seats should not have wrinkles in the pleats. The floor mats (who else but me would know) are of the incorrect vintage 78 up. In fact it would have a rubber mat not carpet. $32K is AMX money!

    • 71gremlin

      The goal was to restore a non mainstream car, not the same thing everyone does all the time- how many people even knew that 13″ tires were standard, and who has seen them? The point was to solicit some head scratching! Whom is it up to decide which cars are worth restoring and which cars aren’t? This is the car the kept AMC in business in the early seventies, why not pay tribute to it?

      The wrinkles in the seats were from the new covers being installed, and the car did have a carpet as it was part of the deluxe interior package. You are correct that the floor mats pictured are not correct, just there to protect the carpet when moving it around. Floor mats were a dealer option, not factory installed equipment, so they aren’t present when the car is displayed. Are there any other issues with the car you’d like to discuss?

      • That AMC Guy

        I salute you, Sir. This is one of the most amazing things I have seen in a long time. Is that a three-on-the floor transmission? I can remember test-driving a Gremlin very much like this one in the early 1970s and that’s what it had. I also remember the 13″ tires. I really need to get moving on my own projects, poor as they may be in comparison.

    • Ohio Rick

      My 72 (see above) is a factory 304. The Mansfield, Ohio AMC dealer, Dick Holland, turned out a few of his Super Gremlins, but his modifications were mainly cosmetic. He apparently thought the 304 was plenty of power for the little car. Of course, as most of us gear heads know, anything worth doing is worth doing to excess.

  23. Cubs win

    Hey I really think this is super cool. He did the opposite of what anyone else would do. That is what AMC is all about people. Get it now?

  24. cidevco

    I have always been a fan of the Gremlins and Pacers. This is the finest Gremlin I have ever seen. I not to crazy about the price, however, it is reflective of all of the work that was put into it. I would love to see what they get for this when it sells, so if any of you find out please post.

    Party On! Garth

  25. RoselandPete

    Like Jay Leno said about one of his cars, he put $25k in a car that was worth about $5k.

  26. XMA0891

    ’71 Gremlin – My hat is off to you. You did a beautiful job on a great car! Your price is not outrageous. If I had the cash, I assure you I’d be buying yours or asking you if you’d restore another (mine).

  27. Miguel

    The reason some of us older people like the Pinto, Vega and gremlin is because they were always a cheap car and easy to get into. That led to a lot of good times that didn’t cost an arm and a leg.

    I am not sure that the same people that have always paid $50.00 or $100.00 for these cars will now pay $32,000 because it is in good condition.

    Only time will tell.

    By the way, after the hundreds of cars I have had in my life, the Pinto still remains as my favorite. If they were available where I live, I would have a lot full of them.

  28. Howard A Member

    Quite an outstanding job here. This car should be in a museum, it beat them all to the punch. Introduced on April Fool’s Day 1970, It was touted as the “Beetle Killer” as Asian imports were a few years away. I think it was the cheapest car sold in the US at the time,( $1,879) and revolutionized the compact scene. I’m surprised they actually found a gas cap, as every gas station seemed to have one left on the pump, and they were stolen. Saw lots of Gremlins with a rag for a gas cap. Simpsons picked on the Gremlin with several characters shown driving one. Price flabbergasts me, but that’s what museum exhibits cost,,,,apparently.

  29. John

    Beautiful car!!! Hats off to 71 Gremlin for having the Kahana to bring back such a great example if true Americana. Are we really able to judge whether $32K for a Gremlin is any crazier than $150+K for a 911 Porsche? This hobby should appreciate any tremendous restoration such as this. In the showfield, I would quickly walk past multiple Mustangs or Tri-5 Chevys or other common collectibles to check out that Gremlin.

  30. John

    Oops, spellchecker kicked in, Kahana should be “having the Kahonas”…

    • CarNut from Winnipeg Member

      Cojones?

  31. RJ

    Let me just say that if I won the lottery I would buy this car in a heartbeat or at the very least pay the seller to restore a 74 Gremlin for me like the blue one with white hockey stripes my grandmother had when I was growing up. My grandmother was not a particularly nice lady or educated, but she was a stubborn and strong lady and the memories I have of her driving her blue Gremlin will never go away. Riding in the back seat and looking out that big to me back window. Or playing outside and hearing the loud exhaust of grandma’s Gremlin off in the distance knowing she would soon be driving by my house on her way to my great grandma’s house whom she lived with. Hearing that Gremlin meant I knew I had a little time to run to the side of the road to wave at her. She passed away from Stage 3 lung cancer on April 8th, 2016. She refused all treatments, suffering greatly finally dying surrounded by all the family in a hospital bed in the living room of the home she and my grandfather bought in 1960, on $60 monthly payments and raised my mom, aunt and two uncles there. She went everywhere in that Gremlin. She fought some of the worst winter weather in that car to get to her daily clients because they depended on her. My uncles used to wrap chains around the rear wheels just to insure she could get up the giant snowy and icy country hills.

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