1973 AMC Gremlin 304 from North America


A great piece of American automotive history. An iconic 70s vehicle!


Only regular things that were needed are standard to all cars.

Doors sag, but the car is 40 years old.

General Comments:

A factory V8 304 car that I put a 4V intake and carb on. Also put a dual exhaust on it. I would say that it is now up to close speed with my 74 454 Laguna that weighs 4000lbs. The Gremlin is around 3100lbs. It feels light and nimble, but choppy due to the short wheel base and short rear springs, but it is what it is. FUN!!! It also turns more heads than the Laguna. Of course the Laguna feels stable at higher speeds and will float down the road at 80 all day long or until its 14 MPG eats up all the fuel. The Gremlin is also a gas hog!!

The Gremlin is just fun and silly. If you have the 6 cylinder, just put a 4V on it and see what a difference it makes. The AMC motors are stout and strong. Contrary to the what non AMC owners write about problems with AMCs, I can say I have owned Chevys, Fords, Mopars, Pontiacs, Buicks etc, and AMCs do not require any extra maintenance than the others. Their doors sag, but so do ALL GM cars of the 60s and 70s.

The cheaper AMCs of the 60s did not use a trans cooler at all on their 6 cylinder cars and hence they burnt up transmissions. If you happen to have an AMC with a 6 cylinder and automatic from the 60s without a trans cooler, you should install one.

Gremlins are cool and their flaws can be fixed. For example, if your 6 cylinder Gremlin handles poorly, put a nice set of shocks on it, it will greatly help. If it feels weak with the one barrel 6 cylinder, change the one barrel set up!!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 6th November, 2017

12th Nov 2017, 04:05

Good review.

AMCs are an acquired taste ;)

I grew up working on cars beginning in the late-70s.

AMCs could be had for cheap back then. Build quality was way variable. Some of them were nicely-built "Wednesday Cars". Some, were Monday/Friday nightmares.

The engineering was surprisingly good when you consider their staff was spread very thin. The not so good was taking shortcuts like using flex fans instead of ones with thermostatic clutches. Then again, they would ambitiously use a four-link, coil sprung rear axle on a unit body, and figure out a way to make it work (for the most part). The only one of the Big Three to do that was Ford, 10+ years later, with mixed results.

Encountering these cars today, they are very much worth saving.

Quirky-but-charming goes far :)

A early-seventies AMC is AMC at the top of their game.

The Gremlin - AKA Hornet missing its tail - is a solid car. You want to improve the handling of this nose-heavy, rear-wheel-drive beast, go with a large front anti-roll bar. It transfers more if the weight transfer back up front - where the driving wheels aren't.

Enjoy - and keep us posted :)

1973 AMC Gremlin Base 232ci from North America


It's a darn tough old beast!


The seats have started to wear badly after 32 years of abuse. The dash is strangely still in good shape.

In about the summer of 1999 the original muffler fell off while decelerating, at high speed,coming down a mountain in Colorado. I think it actually exploded from the unburnt fuel. Last year the little Motorola alternator finally gave up the ghost. It also was likely original.

Other than routine maintenance items those have been the only faults in memory.

Oh and I haven't bothered to replace the broken speedometer cable. (5yrs and counting)

For some strange reason the right rear tire smokes a lot and I get speeding tickets often.

General Comments:

There have been a few modifications from the factory configuration that I have made.

I converted the the front brakes to disks.

The clutch linkage is now a hydraulic unit from an Eagle.

Exchanged the points distributer for an electronic unit.

The car also has 1973 Hornet front sheet metal due to a minor wreck at Redstone Arsenal Alabama.

Its got somewhere over 200,000 miles on it now. I'm not sure of the exact number due to the before mentioned speedometer cable failure and neglected repair.

Now that we are back home in Texas it desperately needs a new air conditioning system!

That is all. thank you.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 31st July, 2005

25th Nov 2005, 08:51

I Think the gremlin is a cool car. There is no need to be rude to this guy.

13th Jul 2006, 17:15

"The car also has 1973 Hornet front sheet metal due to a minor wreck at Redstone Arsenal Alabama."

I'd love to see a pic; I've always wondered why they kept the longer front end (shared with the '70-72 Hornet, except for the grille) on the Gremlins, a shorter hood would (and did on the '78) balance the car out visually.

14th Jul 2006, 09:24

The Gremlin had the "longer front end" of the Hornet because it was based on the Hornet. The Gremlin was a Hornet with the rear overhang shortened to a kammback. Different grille, slightly different instrument panel, but basically the same car-including the 1978 which got a new instrument panel, but was otherwise mostly the same as previous models.

20th Jan 2009, 11:23

I own a 72 Gremlin 232. It has a 600cfm carb header dome, forged pistons, 4.0 head. It makes over 300 hp, a stock 232 makes 123 hp. There are a lot of performance parts for the 232 and 258. Gremlins are so cool.

21st Jan 2009, 06:26

I hydroplaned mine on a wet road with oversized tires and rolled it. It was only 2 years old and it was not totaled. The sheet metal reminded me of cars from the 50's; it was strong metal. New cars today seem tinny and light for fuel economy.

I kept it 8 more years, and it was still running great with the 304 engine.

I agree about unnecessary wheel spin; it was very easy and unintentional at times to avoid that.

I added Lakewood traction bars. At stock height it cornered really well at high speeds with larger tires filling the wheel wells. I got quite a few tickets on the street.