1971 AMC Gremlin

The 1971 AMC Gremlin features spruced up models that were facing new competition: Chevrolet's Vega and Ford's Pinto. Both were four-cylinder cars aimed squarely at import buyers.

The 1971 AMC Gremlin two-seater had a fixed rear window.
The Gremlin two-seater continued into 1971
as the price leader.

With no prospect of being able to offer a four-cylinder engine, AMC made the best of what it had. There were several improvements. The 199-cubic inch engine was dropped; the 232 six-downrated to 135 horsepower became the standard powerplant; and a 150-horsepower, 258-cubic inch six was a new option.

The standard transmission was still a three-speed on the column, but a floor shifter was a no-charge option. A fully synchronized floor-shift three-speed was available with either engine for just $32.20 extra.

Wire wheel covers were a new option, as were 14-inch spoke-style steel wheels and white-letter tires. A tailgate air deflector, useful for keeping the rear window clear, made its debut.

But a new "X" option package was the hottest news. Consisting of a "spear" side stripe decal, body-color grille, slot-style 14 x 6 wheels, D70 x 14 black Polyglas tires, space-saver spare, Custom Interior package, pleated-vinyl bucket seats, sports steering wheel, interior appointment package, and Gremlin X decals, it proved extremely popular.

Gremlin's option list saw other sporty additions, like a handling package (heavy-duty springs and shocks plus a front sway bar) for $23.55, quick-ratio manual steering ($11.65), Turbo-cast wheel covers ($74.90, same as the wires). Slotted wheels came only on the X, but any Gremlin could be ordered with the spoke-style wheels.

Sales literature listed the rear liftgate window as optional, puzzling because press releases and a salesperson's price booklet both indicated it was standard on the four-passenger model.

1971 AMC Gremlin side view.
The price of a 1971 AMC Gremlin increased $20 to $1,899.

Prices were up slightly; the two-passenger model was now $1,899, the four-seater $1,999. By comparison, Chevy asked $2,090 for the Vega two-door sedan and $2,196 for the hatchback coupe, while Ford charged $1,919 for the Pinto two-door sedan and $2,062 for the hatchback.

Continue on to the next page to learn about the 1972 and 1973 AMC Gremlin models.

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