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#1 of 26 Alex Travanti
Aug 03, 1999 (1:16 pm)
I was going to talk about Gremlins in the AMC
topic I made in the classics section, but since
there were a lot of heated responses by some of the
people there, I decided to put it here in
hatchbacks (since it is a pretty important part of
Anyway, I use to own a '66 AMC Rambler and I grew
up in Kenosha, Wisconsin, where AMC HQ built just
about every AMC in the U.S. up intil 1987. Both my
mom and my aunt had Gremlins, my grandmother had a
Pacer and my dad had an Ambassador. SO I've
decided to restore a '74 Gremlin I've recently
found for sale.
It's in great shape, ahs only 50,000 original
miles on the clock, the old v6 is running strong,
and only needs some cosmetics to bring it back to
glory (new windshield, hammer out a few dents, new
paint, new interior upholstery, etc.). Well, I was
just wondering if any of the hatchfans out there
have also restopred Gremlins (I hear they're one of
the most popular classic cars to restore for the
under-25ers) and I was interested in finding some
tips on increasing performance and fuel economy.
So far I'm planning on getting a K&N air filter and
adding a performance muffler and exhaust tip.
#2 of 26 carlady
Aug 04, 1999 (12:39 am)
Gremlin in Classics? I'm feeling old. When I was in high school, the first girl to have her own car bought a deadly green Gremlin. It got us to and from school, shopping, parties, and much more. I have good memories of it. I wasn't the driver, of course.
It's been some time since I've seen one on the roads. I'll be keeping an eye out now. Lurkers, let's hear from you.
#3 of 26 Alex Travanti
Aug 07, 1999 (7:33 pm)
Well, since the old Gremnmy is having a hard time starting (not unlike my Rambler used to) I've opted to replace the carburetor entirely with a new/reconditioned one from JC Whitney. At $100 it's not a bad buy for better performance/gas mileage. Now I just have to get it installed (I'm no mechanic). Any guesses on average labor cost? I think I may replace the timing chain as well, as the original is made of plastic (is that 70's for ya or what?), and although not too worn I figured why not put a brand new steel one in? Only $30 for the parts plus current quote of $90-$100 for the labor from a local shop. A good tune up is next on list, the cosmetics will have to wait until September when I have more dough.
Aug 07, 1999 (9:15 pm)
You may want to install an electronic ignition when you tune it up, that way you won't have points anymore. I'd think JC would have a kit for it.
#5 of 26 Alex Travanti
Aug 11, 1999 (1:05 pm)
Is it possible to install a larger carb? The gremlin 6 cyl. uses a 1 barrel carb, I was wondering if it's possible (or practical) to make modifications for a 2, 3 or 4 barrel carb.
#6 of 26 Alex Travanti
Aug 12, 1999 (1:07 pm)
Well, I found the electronic ignition in JCW, and at only $77 I'll probably be getting within the coming month. I also found an electronic choke to replace the old automatic one for only $18, which I will get along with the carg immediately.
And I guess I answered my own question since I found that JCW also has a conversion kit for the smaller displacement 6 cylinder that includes a massive 4 barrel intake manifold and a customized 4-barrel carb. Together they run a little under $600, so they won't be in my gremlin anytime soon, but for the power and performance of a v8 with the efficiency of a 6 I probably will install the kit in 6 months to a year from now. This reminds me of how cool it was that AMC made the gremlin X with a 304 8-cylinder. I mean, nowadays it's pretty damn hard to find a compact hatchback with a v6, much less a v8. As far as I know the only company's that make them are BMW and VW (??? and GTI GLX). And I've even seen gremlins maxed out with an AMC 401 v8, which for you modern folks is a huge 6.6 litres.
Aug 31, 1999 (2:31 am)
Hi guys. I was a little kid in the 70's and I remember Gremlins. They had some funky colors, and one of my childhood memories is seeing my neighbor buy her first car....a PURPLE Gremlin. It was wild and the neighbors were mortified by the color, but I thought it was cool. Oh well, something else from our youth has disappeared...lol. Good luck on the Gremlin. Maybe for your next 70's project, you can restore a Vega or Duster...or the sister car to the Duster, the Demon, which also came in purple I believe...lol
#8 of 26 carlady
Sep 01, 1999 (1:48 am)
Alext, please keep us posted on your restoration project. As I wrote above, Gremlins have a special place in my heart.
Sep 14, 1999 (9:49 am)
For those who don't know or remember, and yet may care, the Gremlin was based on the AMC Hornet, a compact car, designed to compete with cars such as the Chevy Nova, Ford Maverick, Plymouth Valiant, and a smattering of imported compacts. The Gremlin was essentially a hatchback version of the Hornet (which was later renamed Concord), and it was introduced to do battle with the sub compact VW Beetle, Toyota Corona, Datsun (Nissan) 510, and the soon to be introduced Chevy Vega, Ford Pinto, and Plymouth Duster.
To clarify a couple of inacuracies from former messages, the Gremlin's 6 cylinder engine was a straight 6, not a V6, and I'm almost certain that it came from the Nash side of the Nash-Hudson merger, not Hudson. That engine was indeed durable, as was pointed out, but the flip side was that it was also rather heavy for a car of the Gremlin's dimensions. The front end weight detracted from the car's handling and traction. The heavier V8 version only exacerbated the weight distribution problems of the 6.
The Gremlin was developed on a very tight budget, and AMC did a very commendable job with the money it had. While it was fairly competitive for its time, the Gremlin had design compromises due to it's being essentially a chopped off compact made to compete with new from the ground up sub compacts. In addition to its heavy engine, which was less fuel efficient than the competing 4 cylinders, the back seat room, especially leg and foot room, was very tight, even by the sub compact standards of the '70s.
Similar comments as were made for the Gremlin could be said of Chrysler with its Plymouth Duster/Dodge Demon, which were coupe variations based on the Valiant 4 door.
Fortunately for AMC, all of its competitors had serious flaws of one type or another. The VW Beetle, for all of its vaunted strong points, was an old design, and among it's numerous weaknesses was the fact that its already underpowered, noisy engine couldn't adapt well to the tightening emission standards; the Vega and the Pinto were plagued by design serious design defects, some (though not all) of which were compounded by abysmal build quality; the Duster and Demon had the some of the same design compromises as the Gremlin; and the Japanese cars, though not too bad for their day, didn't have nearly the quality of later models. For example, I owned a '70 Datsun 510, which developed somewhat of a cult status, and it was the worst car I've ever owned, although it's possible that mine may have been a lemon.
Sep 14, 1999 (9:51 am)
As a P.S. to my previous message, I agree that the Gremlin has a lot of nostalgia value. have fun with your restoration, Alext.