1978 AMC Gremlin

The fall of 1977 brought the announcement of the 1978 AMC Gremlin models. New for the X package was a wide stripe that ran from front to back over the wheel arches and across the rocker panels, with a large "Gremlin X" name carried on the lower door area.

1978 AMC Gremlin automobile side view.
Customers on a tighter budget could get a standard
six-cylinder Gremlin for under $3,400.

All Gremlins got a new instrument panel, mostly because the panel was shared with AMC's new Concord (formerly the Hornet). The rich-looking new panel was a great improvement over the earlier multi-piece dash.

There was also a special model, the limited-edition Gremlin GT. The GT featured a side stripe reminiscent of the earliest Gremlin X stripe, though larger and bolder.

More exciting were the body-color fender flares and front air dam, as well as body-color bumpers, all of which combined to give the GT a modern, aggressive look.

Standard equipment included spoke-style wheels, DR70 x 14 outline white-letter steel-belted radials, front sway bar, dual black mirrors, rally instrument panel with tachometer, and more.

It's a pity AMC hadn't introduced the Gremlin GT a few years earlier, because it probably would have sold like crazy. As it was, with Gremlin long overdue for a replacement, GT sales were modest.

In fact, sales of all Gremlins had become minimal. Just 22,104 were made for the model year, including 6,349 fours. By mid-summer of 1978 came news that the Gremlin was being phased out to make way for the new Spirit series.

In all, 691,196 Gremlins were built. Certainly, Dick league's bobtailed little hatchback had stolen a march on Detroit's Big Three, and it enjoyed its best years early on.

But there was no holding back the Chevy and Ford subcompacts once they hit the market with their four-cylinder engines and broader model ranges. (Ford made almost a half-million Pinto sedans and wagons for 1972 alone.)

Gremlin outlasted the Vega by a year, but Chevy already had the Vega-based Monza and squarish Chevette to dangle before shoppers in the segment.

Chrysler first tried captive-import subcompacts from England and Japan to draw buyers, but in 1978, it released the Dodge Omni and Plymouth Horizon. Not only were they handy four-door hatchbacks, but they were the first U.S.-built small cars with front-wheel drive, starting a trend that would soon sweep Detroit.

Curiously the folks at AMC's Mexican affiliate were so fond of the Gremlin they continued to use the name for several more years after it faded in the U.S. They knew a good thing when they saw it.

For models, prices, and production numbers for the 1970-1978 AMC Gremlin, continue on to the next page.

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