American Motors Corporation: The Gremlin

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The first thing anyone should know about these cars is that they are truly smeared with an unfair bad reputation.

I guess the next thing one needs to know is that the smears are not made by highly educated automotive engineers; in the case of the Gremlin, this car is basically the same well engineered AMX chassis that earned the SAE 'Best Engineered Car of the Year Award' two years in a row; '69 & '70.

The AMC Gremlin even bested the AMX proportions with less front and rear overhang, affording potential for better handling by a reduction of mass outside of the car's four wheel footprint.

During the late sixties the United States Federal Government told carmakers they would need to get rid of the traditional steel framed dash design in the interest of safety. (so the occupants would not bounce off a steel framed dash in the case of a severe collision) Among those features the Society of Automotive Engineers cited for the AMX to earn it's award was it's innovational all one piece injection molded instrument panel.

Wherefore when AMC made the Gremlin/Hornet dash in '70, this dash was also a one piece injection molded plastic unit.

So the Gremlin/Hornet dash is a safety dash like the '68-'70 AMXs... however...

Me personally? -I never really liked the look of it; weird looking... why'd they make it like that?... but one day when I was working on a Hornet, I remembered it's Cavalier prototype which was a styling exercise in symmetry, and when looking at the side of the car if you sliced it in half each side would be equal... and all the sudden I realized; the dash is a schematic diagram of the car!

WOW; the dash is schematic diagram of the car -specific to the Hornet & directly related to the Cavalier styling exercises.

The profile of the dash is the profile of the car & the dash basically has three sections; on the left is the engine compartment, in the center is the passenger compartment and on the right side is the trunk! The headlight switch on the far left side of the dash represents the location of the headlights on the car & the glove box on the far right represents the trunk etc! -Even the steering wheel represents the actual steering wheels of the car!

In that moment, all those times I thought the dash was weird looking suddenly vanished & I wondered to myself; why is there no information anywhere telling about this in any AMC literature, and is this the only dash ever made which is a schematic diagram of the car? (needless to say, I personally very much like how the dash looks now because I know what the designers were doing)

Nah, there is no other car in all automotive history where the dash is a schematic diagram of the car. -only the AMC Gremlin/Hornets have this dash design.

As a more compact version of the Hornet, they two were the first full production US cars to have 'guardrail beams' in the side doors (for safety, exceeding the legal requirment by one year?)

AMC Gremlins bested the awarded AMX model by having more sturdy full framed door windows.

All AMC Gremlins came with a 21 gallon gas tank; the larger tank is a safety feature, having a more barrel like shape to absorb impact with less catastrophic damage.

The majority of AMC Gremlins were made while AMC was pioneering the "AMC Buyer Protection Plan"; One could not purchase a 'lemon' from AMC. Even the entire unibody chassis carried a part number and could be replaced under warranty if deemed necessary.

Most AMC Gremlins came from the factory having the now legendary AMC inline six cylinder engine; this engine has proven itself to be among the most durable engines ever made.