Stalled Before it Started: 1973 AMC Gremlin

The dictionary describes a gremlin as being a mischievous sprite that is responsible for unexplained electrical or mechanical faults. In hindsight, calling a car a Gremlin was probably not one of AMC’s finest pieces of marketing. Barn Finder Pat L referred this Gremlin to us, so thank you so much for that Pat. It doesn’t so much represent a stalled restoration project, as one that never got started. The Gremlin is located in Ripley, Tennessee, and is listed for sale here on Craigslist. The asking price for this piece of automotive magnificence is $2,000.

Finished in Diamond Blue, the owner says that the Gremlin has rust “in the normal places.” This appears to include a few spots in the lower door corners and lower fenders on the passenger side, along with some in the rockers and around the gas filler. However, the panels look straight, while the exterior trim and the glass look to be quite good. The Gremlin looks like the sort of car that could potentially be driven largely as it is, but whether this is correct or not would depend on what a personal inspection reveals.

Under the hood of the Gremlin is the 232ci 6-cylinder engine, while the transmission is a 3-speed automatic, and the Gremlin is also fitted with power steering. It is here that some work is going to be required. The engine starts and runs, but the brakes currently don’t work. The owner has bought new brakes but hasn’t gotten around to fitting them. There are also a few electrical “gremlins” which will need to be sorted, but the car has been fitted with a new gas tank and new exhaust.

The interior photos are a bit bleached-out, but the news here doesn’t seem to be too bad. The headliner, rear seat, and the carpet all look pretty good, while apart from the missing radio, the dash also looks quite presentable. The door trims are looking a bit funny, but these might be able to be restored without having to replace the upholstery. The owner also has a pair of spare bucket seats that will be included in the sale.

In its basic form, an AMC Gremlin is never going to be a car that will be worth huge dollars, but they are an interesting looking car that will probably attract more attention today than they did when new. This one has some potential as a project car, but it would need to be bought by someone who is willing and able to do the majority of the restoration work themselves. The interesting thing about Gremlin values is that they have stayed completely flat for the past 5-years. You would normally expect to see some form of fluctuation at some point, but there has been nothing with these little cars. A Gremlin might not be everyone’s ideal project car, but at the asking price, this one might not be a bad starting point.


  1. Nevadahalfrack Nevadahalfrack Member

    TimM., here’s you chance to go SB with accompanying drivetrain and not get a lot of grief!! 👍🏻🤣

    Like 2
  2. Superdessucke

    Too bad AMC didn’t survive They could call their new electric car the Electrical Gremlin or E Gremlin.

    Like 8
  3. Stevieg Member

    After reading the ad, it sounds like this could be a driver after doing a minor brake pad or shoe replacement. For $2,000, this is a bargain. Interior looks decent in the pictures, tops of the fenders are solid (this was a trouble prone area here in the rust belt). I might be broke & out of room, but I am tempted. If this is still available next Friday after I get paid, I might take a quick trip to Tenessee next weekend.

    Like 7
    • Dan

      Sounds like you would give this car a good home. Hope everything works out for you!

      Like 5
  4. Shawn Fox Firth

    Had one in grade 10 loved it .. . a new Hemi swap would be sweet .

  5. Dan

    Gremlin values have held steady? Duly noted and filed away for possible future use! A distinctive vehicle that wouldn’t cost me an arm and a leg would make an ideal project…when I’m able to undertake one, that is.

  6. Rube Goldberg Member

    While that is one meaning of Gremlin, AMC’s take was ” a pal to it’s friends and an ogre to it’s enemies”, and that’s just what it was, an ogre to it’s enemies, beat them all to the small car in America. Even has the original gas cap. Those “went missing” on a regular basis. Once as common as VW’s, rare as hand signals today. Better get one before these are 5 figures too.

    Like 1
    • JOHN Member

      “common as VW’s”? They only made 650k of them in a 8 year period. You must have lived in an AMC dealership! Those Gremlin caps did seem to disappear, did they not have the retaining cables like the Mustangs, Camaro RS and SS caps? If I wasn’t building a new garage, I might have loaded up the trailer!

      Like 1
  7. Rex Kahrs Member

    I like the originality of this car, I wouldn’t change a thing.

    Like 1
  8. That AMC guy

    Brakes shouldn’t be tough to put back into action though it’s possible that there are lines are rusted out. Looks decent overall, but the dash appears to have been cut up for fitting of a modern stereo. At least the door panels haven’t been butchered for speakers.

    Like 1
  9. Gaspumpchas

    Good looking and reasonably priced. Good luck to the new owner, a fun project that you could take to whatever level you wanted!!

    Like 1
  10. Carbuzzard Member

    This is the car that saved AMC, at least for a while. For minimal investment—AMC simply bobbed the tail off its compact and it sold beyond all reasonable expectations. It provided subcompact size with traditional American engineering…and a traditional American engine, plus more elbow room than a Pinto, Vega or Corolla.

    In the words of Bob Dylan, don’t criticize what you don’t understand.

    Like 2
    • Dave

      Your comment about Dylan is ironic in light of the spiff he had with REM’s Michael Stipe over the song “Losing My Religion”. Dylan said something to the effect that “how can you lose something you never had?” to which Stipe replied that he was surprised that someone as worldly as Dylan didn’t understand that the phrase is a Southernism for “losing one’s temper”.
      Thanks for the memory jog…Alzheimer hasn’t taken everything yet.

      Like 3
      • carbuzzard Member


        Like 1
  11. Tony Primo

    Bob who? Does he drive a Gremlin?

    Like 3
    • Dusty Rider

      Sheldon throat sings, Bob nose sings.

      Like 1
      • carbuzzard Member

        Dylan sang so that other artists could say, hey, I can do better than that. Dylan got rich off songwriter royalties, not singing.

        Like 3
  12. Rex Kahrs Member

    Hey, lay off Bob Dylan.

    Like 2
    • Dave

      My favorite is “Lily, Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts”, particularly the lyric “Anyone with any sense had already left town”.

  13. Butchb

    That grill is worth about 30% of the asking price of the car. 73 grills are fragile and impossible to find.
    The Gremlin front brake drums are often over size, hard to find and expensive and in the end you still have a front drum brake car. Plan on doing all the brake wheel cyl’s too.
    My 73 Gremlin has a 327 SBC 700R4 OD transmission and a Fox body Mustang posi re with a 4:10 gear.
    And the AMC purist’s HATE IT!! LOL

    Like 2
  14. Little_Cars

    I had a 73 with air. Correct about the grilles… on this year only it was completely plastic. Sort of a pebbly silver held on by clips. First thing to go were the corners that held the side marker lights in. Then, another fail point was the center section if someone unfamiliar with the car tried to open the hood the wrong way.

  15. BrianT VermonterModelA Member

    I had a ’74 X and loved it. I drove it for many years and that was here in Vermont, the salt capitol of the US. The only issue I had with if was the door hinges wearing out but corrected that by having steel bushings made. I’d love another someday.

  16. Rob R

    I had a 73 Gremlin when I started to drive ( first car) and have been chewing at the bit to find another. This one may be in my driveway

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