Silver Ghost: 1971 AMC Gremlin

This great-looking 1971 AMC Gremlin is also a bit of a head-scratcher. It recently sold at a Mecum Auction in Chicago and the “reseller” hasn’t even bothered to take off the Mecum plates from a month ago when it sold. It’s now posted here on eBay in Dallas, Georgia and the current bid price is $5,500. There is also an $11,500 buy-it-now price listed if you have to have it now.

This is a strange one. The car looks fantastic in the photos and I wondered if it was the same car, but when I saw the driver’s side photo, I noticed the same big rust bubble under the paint in front of the rear wheel and it has to be the same car. And, are the bumpers painted silver? They don’t look like chrome to me. Their buy-it-now price is $1,300 above Hagerty’s #2 excellent condition value. I don’t understand this one at all. I’m guessing that this car was “restored” several years ago but we don’t know for sure.

I’m not divulging any state secrets here, we all have access to the internet and it took exactly ten seconds to see this car online after typing in “1971 AMC Gremlin”. For the record, and again it’s right there locked onto the internet forever for everyone to see, this car sold one month ago at a Chicago Mecum Auction for $2,750, exactly half of what the current bid price is now and about 1/4 of the buy-it-now price. If it was a perfect car I’d be applauding the seller for taking advantage of a cheap auction price to make some money.

The unusual part is that in the Mecum listing, they say, “Please note that the undercarriage of this car has severe rust issues and will require restoration” but there is no mention of that in the current eBay listing. Was it already repaired by the seller? Maybe, but there’s no mention at all about that as you can see from the eBay listing. It’s a really cool, nice-looking car, though. The seats are a bit of a buzzkill, I can’t imagine that they’re original to the car, but otherwise, it’s a really nice looking car – possible rust issues notwithstanding. And again, maybe the seller has already repaired that, we just don’t know. The floor-shifted 3-speed manual is a nice touch but I’d want to change those seats, the steering wheel, and nab some replacement pedal pads for the old, worn-out ones on there now.

The engine looks clean and it’s the smallest offering that year, an AMC 232 cubic-inch inline-six which would have had 135 horsepower. The seller’s description is word-for-word exactly the same as the Mecum Auction listing other than the last line about the underbody rust so maybe they have already repaired it? Any thoughts on this Gremlin?


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  1. alphasud Member

    I would think Mecum would be the last place to find a good deal on a classic. So easy to get snookered buying a car online sight unseen. At least with this one there seemed to he honest disclosure. So is the current owner feeling buyers remorse? Or thinking he bought this way under market value? I’m with you it’s a head scratch.

    Like 4
    • Evan

      You might be surprised… take a look at the low-end car prices from some of these fancy auctions. Seems like buyers at such auctions are looking for nicer iron and some of the stuff on the low end of the scale goes pretty cheap.

      Like 5
      • Steve R

        That’s very true. Anyone that pays attention to auctions, which are often streamed online knows that many cars sold during non-prime time slots don’t sell for a lot if money. Definitely for less money than they are typically advertised for sale on eBay, Facebook and Craigslist.

        Steve R

        Like 6
  2. Cadmanls Member

    Quick flip and hoping those Mecum tags will add money, wait already has!

    Like 8
  3. Sorel

    Best case scenario, the seller found a car he could make some good money on with a quick restoration, and patched out the rust issues for a quick buck. Worst case, he’s just counting on buyers not noticing it, hoping they see the pristine exterior and engine bay and drop a hagerty excellent-recommended bid on it. It really does look to be in excellent condition though, so I hope it’s the former.

    Like 2
    • Scotty Gilbertson Staff

      I think you may be right, Sorel, they have great feedback so they have to be honest folks.

      Like 3

    The Gremlin sold at auction for what it was worth. With the power of your phone in your hand. Takes little skills to find out what something is worth. Completed recent sales to looking at Hagerty. So generally you are never getting anything past the sharks especially at a televised auction. The room is full.

    My take on this car someone did a poor presentation. It wouldn’t take any effort to locate the correct oem original parts. Hub caps are from a 1980’s Spirit. The seats are very incorrect as is the steering wheel. Amazing is the fact they got the engine color right.

    It’s sad but the dealer flipper will sell it to someone who do not know what they are looking at other than shiny paint.

    Like 4
  5. DavidH

    Perhaps the following can explain the unexplainable.
    an imaginary mischievous sprite regarded as responsible for an unexplained problem or fault, especially a mechanical or electronic one.
    Buyer Beware.

    Like 3
    • Gary J Lehman

      DavidH–beware of what?????

  6. That AMC Guy

    Crack pipe price for a six-cylinder Gremlin with mismatched interior, painted bumpers, drum brakes, no AC, no power anything, vacuum wipers, and rust issues.

    Like 10
  7. Gary

    It’s a Bondo ladened turd that needs to be flushed.

    Like 6
  8. Stan Part

    If you read the description in the ad, it’s being sold by a dealer, so this is an intentional flip, and one that may just work out in the seller’s favor. It’s sitting at $6k right now with the reserve not met. That’s already double what it went for at auction. I have to wonder what the thinking was behind such a high reserve price. I see this a lot, so this must be some sort of game being played by the dealer, I just don’t quite know what it is.

    Like 3
  9. Psychofish2

    Seats and door panels as well as steering wheel not original.

    My parents had a new ’71, same as this but an automatic.

    Bumpers are painted but they don’t look too bad. The rust bubble is concerning, especially under what looks to be fresh paint.

    Like 2

    Amazing what junk goes for these days. Someone robbed the AMC section of a junkyard to make this car.

    Like 1
  11. T. Pond

    Stay away from this is my advice. Too many red flags for me.

    Like 3
  12. Arby

    Never trust RNM bids on Ebay.
    Dealer is fishing for an unsuspecting buyer.
    BTW, his recent feedback is fishy also…

    Like 2
  13. Howie Mueler

    $6,200 now, i would rather have the blue Vega.

    Like 3
  14. Teh Agent

    This is a low effort quick flip job. Undercarriage probably got blasted with a rubber coating to cover the rust.

    Like 1
  15. Scotty Gilbertson Staff

    Auction update: this one ended at $7,512 and no sale.

    Like 1
  16. Scotty Gilbertson Staff

    Auction update II: this Gremlin has been relisted with the same $11,500 buy-it-now price.

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