1974 AMC Hornet Sportabout 258 c.i. 6 from North America




The engine leaked oil badly. You had to have a carton of oil in the back compartment. The front fenders rusted out. There wasn't much holding the fenders on the front end.

General Comments:

I loved this car. Too bad, I wrecked it. With rear wheel drive, doughnuts were easy on any iced or snow covered parking lot. There was tons of room for all my friends, and our gear. I wish that I still owned that car today.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 5th August, 2003

21st Nov 2003, 04:37

I just recently bought a (76) hornet. This car is the bomb. Uses very little oil, runs like a charm. I have not started any work on it yet, but I plan to. I got this car out of a storage, an old lady had it, (43 on the clock) at 80 miles per it begs for more. that's the only time I put the car through paces. Over the next two years I plan to fully restore this car. The back end sits a little high so I am going to have it lowered to the level of the front. I am going to modify the original paint three times, and I am going to my home town of Chicago and purchase a set of rims nobody has ever seen before. I am going to honor my ride. people will have a chance to grovel at it's tires.

1974 AMC Hornet Hatchback 258 ci from North America


It was a very good inexpensive car for it's time


1) Had to replace "T.A.C." hose every couple of weeks. It was an aluminum hose covered with black paper. It connected the air filter to the exhaust header, providing warm air to the carburetor during startup. It was designed poorly, and was easily damaged just by bumping it. Without it, the engine would take longer to warm up.

2) The drivers seat was a problem, dealer had to replace the bottom section a number of times, as the support kept breaking where the seat back hinged together. The hinge didn't fail, it was the rear section on the bottom seat.

3) A tapping noise was heard, the dealer replaced the lifters, and still heard the noise. Then the rocker arms were replaced. Turns out, the last rocker was scored, thus creating the tapping. After replacing, was quite as new!

4) Valve cover design caused the gasket to leak oil. Unlike "normal" covers, A.M.C.'s design had the bottom metal rolled over where the gasket met. Later in 1977, AMC changed it, and made it with a "channel" where the gasket met. I changed over to this design and had no more valve cover oil leaks.

5) The hatchback gas filled supports failed and replaced twice. When they fail, the hatchback would not stay opened.

General Comments:

It was my first car. I was in the last year of High School, and holding down a job. My friends accepted it as a "cool" car.

The stock AM radio was the first thing to be replaced, for of all things, an "AM/FM 8-Track player!

The stock shocks were next to be replaced, as they were not very good. Put air shocks in the back. Kids then loved that raised rear look. My dad threatened to cut the lines if he ever saw it "jacked up"

After the stock tires wore out at 29k miles, replaced with Michelin's. Boy that really improved the ride. It was so noticeable. Felt like a new car.

The folding rear seat came in handy for hauling things and for date night!!

The car survived my "teenage years". I tried to run the heck out of it, and it kept coming back for more.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 28th June, 2002

11th Nov 2010, 20:16

The 1974 AMC hatchback was my first car as well. Mine was red with the black pin stripe.

I had problems with the radiator, I think I replace the radiator in that thing at least three times. The bushings on the door hinges were a poor design, and I remember replacing them several times.

I put air shocks on the back of mine as well, with Kelly Springfield 60's. I put a thrush muffler on it, and pretended that I had a real muscle car. Ha!

Those were the days.

12th Nov 2010, 12:58

I saw really liked the 71 SC360 with the factory Hurst 4 Speed. I ordered a 73 Gremlin X 304V8 put dual exhaust. I did not jack mine up and still put G-60-14s on the rear and F60s on the front. I added some speed shop upgrades and Lakewood traction bars with a 391 posi rear. Cool car. It was kept low key. The early Gremlin X 5 Litre V8s were cool.

I have a Vette today, but had a lot of cool interesting cars like this one along the way. Wish I had this cool little car that has tripled in value today with the V8 easily.