Some Serious Attitude: 1977 AMC Gremlin Hot Rod

There were AMC Ramblers, Pacers, Javelins, AMX’s, Hornets, Gremlins and then there are GREMLINS or maybe, in this case, Mr. Gremlin, as that is exactly what we have here, located in Delano, Minnesota and available here on craigslist for $7,500. Thanks to Ikey H. for this fantastic tip!

In the ’70s and ’80s American Motors Corporation (AMC) went for the unique; models that would set them apart from the crushing competition of the Detroit three: Ford, GM and Chrysler, as well as the steady market share of VW and the rise of Toyota, Datsun and Honda. The Pacer and Gremlin were two of AMC’s more noteworthy attempts. The Hornet had a very slanted, truncated hind-side that gave one the impression that AMC ran out of design money three-quarters of the way through the development phase.

Our subject Hornet is hardly as AMC intended. In true economy car mode, the Hornet came originally equipped with one of two different six-cylinder in-line motors. Well, when enough is just right then too much is perfect and that’s what’s under the hood of this Gremlin, a Ford 5.0 liter V8 with GT 40 heads. Interesting? You bet, let’s add to it; how about a Ford four-speed AOD automatic transmission with a B&M shift kit and, keeping it all in the family, a Ford nine-inch Detroit Locker differential with 4.11 gears? Now we’re talking! Our seller tells us, “Drive any distance, dependable fun car.” I’m sure the emphasis here is on “fun”. Too much fun? No worries as this Hornet is equipped with four-wheel disc brakes.

So, how’s it look? Like it means business. It’s slammed with Mickey Thompson tires on black painted, five-spoke wheels all while wrapped in a bland white paint finish – mostly a sleeper other than the big tire and wheel combo, and I imagine, how it sounds. The body is straight and the finish is strong, there are no visual concerns regarding the body as in rust, dents, panel alignment, etc.

Underneath, the big Ford nine-inch differential is front and center. No idea where this axle originated or if it had to be narrowed, but the fact that it is present means someone was very serious about performance. Beyond that, there is no evidence or suspicion of frame/floor pan integrity issues. Sorry, no images or commentary regarding the interior so there’s an unknown.

So, where does this Gremlin fit in? AMC purists are probably going to hate the FoMoCo power train. Ford fans are going to snicker a bit and give a knowledgeable, knowing tip of the hat. The GM & ChryCo guys better watch their you-know-what’s as this Gremlin is going to show up and want to run. This AMC is probably a bit of a round peg in a square hole or is it the other way around? It doesn’t matter, AMC was always a go-your-own-way outfit and this Gremlin is a tribute to that spirit. I really like this very cool car, how about you?


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  1. DayDreamBeliever Member

    Still for sale, has been around a while….

    For this money, I’d have thought someone would have taken off the seller’s hands by now.

    Like 5
    • DayDreamBeliever Member

      Hmmm… Deleted ad already. Maybe sold, or maybe the listing was a CL scam. In any case, nothing to see here, move right along….

      Like 1
  2. Stangalang

    Plenty to see..but I smell old seafood. Really would like to have this one and of course I like the Ford power train🤤👍

    Like 3
  3. jerry z

    Surprise this was for sale for so long. The car has the right everything!

    Like 1
  4. CCFisher

    First, it’s a Gremlin. Then, it’s a Hornet. Finally, it’s a Gremlin again.

    Like 14
  5. bone

    Gremlins also came with 304 V8s , and an AMC 360 would bolt in as well – I would have gone all AMC , but to each his own….

    Like 5
    • Leslie Martin Member

      Or a 401 from a wrecked AMX? Not hard to find or swap. I love me some Ford 5.0 power, but in an AMC? No respect!

      Like 5
      • Bob

        Lots of AMC 401’s ( the largest version of AMC’s small block) in old Jeeps through the 1980’s, but I understand using a newer small block Chevy or Ford due to parts and mod availability. The Hornet was probably the best looking American mid-size in the 1970’s and the Gremlin was a compact chopped Hornet. That is why it has the chopped look in the back but has a front end/ engine compartment that takes bigger car engines with minimal modification.

  6. Jeff Male Harner

    I can’t be the only one who noticed the author doesn’t know the difference between a Hornet and Gremlin. I liked the set up on the Gremlin enough to want it.

    Like 5
    • Jim ODonnell

      I know the difference, it’s a typo.

      Like 1
  7. Carlton1959

    Nice, but this past summer at the Macungie, PA car show there was a sharp 72 Gremlin with a 401. My money would be on that one.

    Like 1
  8. JCA

    Nice car, nicely spec’d. A 5 speed would have been perfect.

    Like 1
  9. RexFox

    A neighbor in Longview bought a new Gremlin X with a 304 and a 4 speed. When it rained, which it did a lot, she could not take off in a straight line. Pretty cool to watch, but scary to be in the car. The car did not last long.

    Like 3
  10. Burger

    A long-ago girlfriend’s dad had a pair of hotrod Gremlins that he special ordered from the factory. Both were 4-speeds, and one had a 360?/390? and the other a 401. If memory serves, they were 73 and 74 models. He put sand bags in the back in an attempt to keep the ass glued to the ground. He had half a dozen special AMC’s and kept them all like museum pieces. Wonder where they are today ? Not a lot of people would special order an AMC. They were the car of mizers and pennypinchers and most were pretty bare bones. AMC had a strong penchant for building odd looking, of not downright ugly cars and most people went straight to Ford or GM for a decent looking car.

    Like 3
    • kevin

      no gremlins any year came with a v8 bigger than a 304 from the factory, as far as a 4 speed , again never offered from the factory, 3 speed manual only

  11. Louis Chen

    Just a little note: the AMC Gremlin was the grand daddy of the later Toyota Corolla FX-16 which a few of these were sold! When you consider AMC was ahead of it’s time in weird looking cars but they were the fore bearer of modern cars like the “Fish Bowl” Pacer new rendition Porsche 928? This example here would be fun to have but like one commenter: put a sand bag in the back to keep it from “drifting” even now you have to do the same with the ‘Stang, Camaro, Challenger! History repeats. This same trick also applies to the air cooled Vee Dubs.

  12. chrlsful

    what’s funny about the headlightds and tail lights. The grill missin prts?
    Is this a last yr change or sompin? May B i’m just remembering wrong…
    Yeah, keep it all AMC. I wanna 258 there, lighter rear end…

  13. Little_Cars

    The grille and rear taillights are stock for a later Gremlin. However given the mean guise this thing is perpetuating I would black out the entire slam panel and radiator support as the white behind the grille shows how chintzy the blackout component is. Looks out of place.

  14. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry Member

    Strange set up, but efficient. Looks natural sitting in there and probably moves it quite nicely. With the mundane color and steel wheels it appears to be quite the sleeper. It’s the type of set up that would be seen cruising the stop lights looking for drag challengers.
    God bless America

  15. Jimmy

    Being a Ford guy and I always liked Gremlins so what more could I ask for in this car. I want it !!!

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