1973 AMC Gremlin Base 232ci from North America

Summary:

It's a darn tough old beast!

Faults:

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.

1973 AMC Gremlin X 5.0 V8 from North America

Summary:

A unique great "hot rod"

Faults:

The car needed a transmission rebuild recently.

The car required a one-wire alternator to bypass some electrical problems with the charging system.

The car required a new dual exhaust system recently.

The car shows some valve wear with the very high 258,034 miles on it.

I rebuilt the carburetor very recently.

General Comments:

My 1973 Gremlin X with a 304 V8 is still a lot of fun to drive despite 258,034 miles on it.

Twice movie companies wanted to use it it in films, such as "Mr. Holland's Opus" and an unspecified Zombie film.

With new spark plugs and a recently rebuilt carburetor, the car will easily "burn rubber" if great ease.

The handling seems pretty good for such an old fashioned automobile.

I've owned four Gremlins. And this one is not the fastest. But it's a unique small high performance car.

I have smaller 185 by 14inch tires on the front, and bigger 215 by 14 inch tires on the rear, with a three inch lift in back for more clearance, and a one inch lift in front. This way there is no tire drag on the wheel wells.

The car has a very basic "hotrod" feel. It is a basic small well built automobile with big motor. Some say Gremlin V8s are similar to the British Austin Healey automobiles of the 50's. A heavy, basic, but reasonably well handling fast car. Sort of a "poor man's Corvette".

Gremlins get plenty of attention. Most people think they're cool in a strange sort of way. A few people still laugh at them. But most admire a 30 plus year old car that is still on the road, and can still "burn rubber" while many other cars are already in a junk yard.

Gremilns aren't for everyone. But they're a great old small high performance car. They're easy to work on. And you can easily bolt in a rebuilt 401 with 330 gross horsepower for about $1,500 if you want more power than the Javelin 304 V8 that the Gremlin V8 models had. Offenhauser offers some great intake manifolds that will allow either one or two Holley or Predator carburetors to be installed. The Predator carburetors offer the horsepower of a six barrel carburetor in a single unit, so two of these will equal three standard four barrel carburetors. For small race track home built race cars, this will offer awesome performance. But for the street, probably one single four barrel carburetor like a Holley will be more than adequate to turn your tires to liquid if you so desire.

Any V8 Gremlin will be fuel hungry. The 232 and 258 six engine models will handle better than the front heavy V8 models as well. But the V8 is a fun motor in such a small car. Only the British built Triumph V8 models were a smaller V8 than the 1973 Gremlin for 1973.

Gremlins are increasing in value. On Ebay expect to pay $3,500 or more for a nice Gremlin V8. But this isn't bad compared to buying a small car with only a four in it.

On Ebay there are over 200 listings for Gremlin cars and parts today. Gremlins are a great 1970's car. Fun to drive. Powerful. Gaining value. Hemmings Motor News have offred several featuresin Gremlins and other high performance AMC cars recently.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 17th July, 2005

2nd Jan 2006, 05:11

I have a 1973 gremlin x how do I know if it's a v8 model or a 6 cyl can any body help thankls mike.

2nd Jan 2006, 16:10

Its easy unless its been repainted. On the back of my new 1973 Gremlin X it said... 5 litre V8. The 2 different sixes were noted the same way. That was the only area it was labeled by the way. The other giveaway on mine was the V8 exhaust note. I had dual exhaust added. I also put 60 series tires on mine on the factory rims and it handled very well except in the wet.

1973 AMC Gremlin X 304 from North America

Summary:

I loved my new Gremlin X 304 V8

Faults:

Purchased brand new... 304 V8 GREMLIN X

OWNED 10 YEARS 1973-1983

Was extremely reliable

Great solid body!!! Thick sheetmetal. Great paint job - today's cars do not have the durability...

Easy to work on and fun to drive. Surprisely great handling on back roads.

E60-14 front G60-14 tires changed from E70 Goodyears from the factory. Harder ride, but better handling.

General Comments:

I bought it new in college; actually my mom did! Ha! AMCs was very popular back then... Mark Donahue Javelins, SC360 Hornets and quite a few AMX390s were about... I had a tan with gold stripe model, with the typical popular side pipes, lakewood traction bars, ACCEL.60 series tires etc etc, that I added bit by bit. My vanity tag was "GERM".

I never was stranded and actually drove this car quite a distance to work everyday until I bought a larger necessary family car! The Gremlin X V8 was not as common a sight as the two sixes... I recall some special models, Levis for one, that were available.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 5th September, 2004

28th Oct 2004, 11:53

Was behind a red Gremlin this morning--wide tires, big dual exhaust tips, huge "Gremlin X" decal on the back window (like anybody needs to be told it is a Gremlin). The driver was driving like an a**hole: cutting from one lane to the other, cutting in front of people, running red lights.

All I could think of was here is this doop who spent a lot of money to make this old car go fast--and he still looks like as much of a dipstick as he would have in 1973!