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1970-1978 AMC Gremlin

1970 AMC Gremlin Interior

Inside the 1970 AMC Gremlin, the features were conventional. The bench seat could fit three in a pinch. Buckets were optional. The instrument panel was similar to Hornet's but had two dials, one for speedometer, the other for fuel and temperature gauges. (Hornet's had a third housing for an optional clock.)

Teague's upright, station-wagon-type rear design provided ideal space utilization. Four-passenger models offered six cubic feet of luggage space behind the rear seat, 18 cubic feet with the seat folded down.

An optional inflatable space-saver spare tire freed up two additional cubic feet of storage. Front-seat room was enormous by small-car standards, especially leg room and interior width since both were the same as in the Hornet.

Rear seat space was tight. The rear floor, after all, was where most of the cutting had occurred, which left it suitable only for the young and supple of form. Kids, though, were happy enough back there.

From the time of the first Nash Ramblers, AMC's idea was that small cars should enjoy all the luxury and convenience options usually found only in more expensive cars.

The 1970 AMC Gremlin had a large assortment of options.
The 1970 AMC Gremlin had a long list of available
options including a roof rack and wheel covers.

Anyone overly enthusiastic with the option sheet could easily end up with a Gremlin much more costly than its modest base price. But that was part of the plan. Optional equipment came with a much higher profit margin, and that was important to AMC.

The 1970 AMC Gremlin offered an unusually long option list for the era. Included were a 145-horsepower, 232-cubic inch six ($45.35), automatic transmission ($200.95, column shift only), air conditioning ($379.50), power steering ($95.85), power brakes ($43.30), Twin-Grip differential ($43), luggage rack ($38.85), and wheel discs ($25.25).

The Interior Appointment Package was popular. It included a small under-dash shelf, glovebox door with lock and light, and a cigarette lighter, all for $19.95.

The Custom Interior trim package, including carpeting, better door and seat trim, and a custom steering wheel, was $49.95 with bench seat, $89.90 with buckets. Standard tires were 6.00 x 13s, but 6.45 x 14s were only $14.25 extra a set. Bigger B78 x 14s were also available.

A floor-shifted three-speed stick with full synchromesh came at no-charge with the bigger engine but wasn't available with the standard mill. Overdrive wasn't offered.

Most imports could beat the Gremlin's 20-25 mpg. After all, that big engine and 2,635-pound curb weight meant Gremlin's fuel economy, though excellent by most standards, couldn't match the flyweights.

At least Gremlin got "the best gas mileage of any production car made in America," as AMC noted. The huge 21-gallon gas tank allowed 500 or more miles between fill-ups.

But few import cars could touch Gremlin in performance. Car and Driver recorded a 0-60 mph time of 11.9 seconds with a 232-cubic inch-equipped Gremlin; a fuel-injected Saab 99 sport sedan tested in the same issue turned in a 12.6-second clocking. A VW couldn't even come close.

Legend says it was Teague who came with up the Gremlin's whimsical name. AMC apparently felt confident enough to not worry about the word's negative connotations fagremlin, according to Webster's, is "an imaginary small creature . . . blamed for the faulty operation of airplanes") or cringe at the timing of the car's scheduled announcement date: April Fools' Day, 1970.

As a mid-year entry (factory sales literature referred to it as a 19701/2), Gremlin couldn't hope for big sales, but AMC built more than 25,000 first-year models. However, most dealers reported tremendous interest in the car and it's likely a great many more Gremlins could have been sold that first year.

The next page describes features of the 1971 AMC Gremlin. Continue reading to learn more.

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