At $9,500, Is This 1976 AMC Gremlin an American Dream?

Nice Price or No Dice 1976 AMC Gremlin

The seller of today’s Nice Price or No Dice Gremlin says it was their mother’s car and that it has so far been held onto for sentimental reasons. We’ll have to decide if it’s priced to make potential buyers hold onto their wallets.

Have you ever done something only to have others shake their heads and, indicating you with an outstretched hand, announce:  “This is why we can’t have nice things”? Yeah, that’s a real buzz kill.

The 1980 Jaguar XJ6 we looked at back on Friday seemed to be a very nice thing and it would be a shame to let guilt over some poorly thought-out life choice deny anyone its automotive pleasures. This is the holiday season, after all. Do you want to know what else shouldn’t be a hurdle? The $13,900 price tag, that’s what. According to fully 77 percent of you, that earned the car a Nice Price win, which is a nice thing of its own accord.

Speaking of which, today we’re going to look at an Accord… Ha, just kidding.

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What we’re actually considering is this 1976 AMC Gremlin, which interestingly enough, was American Motors’ entrant into the compact car market that was also the playground for the likes of the Honda civic and Accord.

The Gremlin, however, wasn’t really a compact car. Instead, in a move to save AMC development costs, it was a mid-size car (the Hornet) that had been reduced in overall length by chopping off much of the back half. Now, naturally, that was the part of the car that carries the passengers and their baggage, which significantly reduced the Gremlin’s space from that of the larger Hornet. It still, however, provided a mid-sized car’s engine bay allowing for it to use significantly larger engines than in, say, those Hondas. A more modern example of this cost-saving model development is BMW’s E36 Compact which, hilariously, is the Gremlin’s spiritual descendent.

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This Bicentennial-Year car is claimed in the ad to have been owned by the seller’s mother. She apparently put a mere 40,000 miles on it before hanging up the keys. It comes in brown metallic paint, which that seller says is an older respray, but in the factory hue.At present it rides on rallye-style wheels, but those don’t come with the deal and the car will instead roll on steelies with appropriate covers.

Like the exterior, the cabin has been recovered as well, only in factory-aping vinyl on the seating. That seating is comprised of a front bench with forward folding backrests to aid egress to the rear compartment. There, a wildly uncomfortable-appearing seat offers accommodations for two additional passengers. It all seems to be complete and reasonably clean in the cabin.

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As noted, the Gremlin’s odd proportions allow for a capacious engine compartment, and in this car’s case, that’s been filled with AMC’s stalwart 258 CID OHV straight six. In the Gremlin that was good for 90 horsepower and, more respectably, 170 lb-ft of torque. A 304 CID V8 was also available but that only made 122 horsepower combined with 219 lb-ft of twist. A three-speed TorqueFlite borrowed from Chrysler does transmission duties.

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Like the cabin, the engine bay appears complete, right down to its factory air cleaner. Also, if anyone can tell me what that metal circle with the red cone is on the passenger-side wheel well, I’ll give you a gold star.

While you’re working on that, let’s wrap up our discussion on the rest of the car. According to the ad, it “Runs great” and comes with a clear title. The seller says they want to find the car a good home. That will most likely be with an AMC fan (you know who you are) and that fan will need to come up with $9,500 or thereabouts since that’s the asking price for the car.

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What do you think, is that a fair price for this old small but not so small car? Or, like its namesake, does that price wreak havoc on this Gremlin’s chances for a sale?

You decide!

Washington, DC Craigslist, or go here if the ad disappears.

H/T to Jude Burke and S.R. Gooch for the hookup!

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