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AMC Gremlin Power Station

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American Motors Corporation began in 1954 when two independant car makers, Nash and Hudson, merged together to form one company.

Nash was involved with racing their '50-'54 Nash Healey sports car on road courses, and Hudson's Hornet was winner on the US stock car racing scene. 

The post war auto racing scene became confused when in 1955, a horrific car crash where a Mercedes Benz sports car broke into pieces, caught on fire and flew into the grandstands like schrapnel, decapitaing several and wounding many.

Plausibly Mercedes, and Jaguar got out of racing entirely.

This was what happened to the Nash and Hudson racing efforts; wherefore the newly formed American Motors chose to emphasize their consumer friendly Nash Rambler type cars instead. Nevertheless, it seemed that privateers were undaunted.

AMC historians generally call this time period 'the Rambler days', and AMC took up a new slogan saying 'the only race we're interested in is the human race.'

AMC continued the Rambler image from the mid fifties into the mid sixties. During that time, AMC was an industry leader, pioneering the concept of making many different sized cars to suit the needs and desires of different types of consumers.

As the anti-racing mood faded, and 'the big three' finally began to follow AMC's lead in the early sixties by making a variety of different sized cars, AMC decided to allow the Rambler name to fade away similar to what they did with the Nash and Hudson labels, and to simply align all their cars under the one corporate American Motors nameplate.

In doing so, AMC began to gradually move away from their former 'Rambler ideals' -where Rambler cars were made with many superior 'invisible' features such as an internally painted engine, all seating having coil spring cushions, full galvanized steel rear fenders, and ceramic coated exhaust components; AMC began to acknowledge and make concessions to impulse buyers who did not necessarily appreciate the benefits of having those invisible 'idealic' qualities. 

The gradual shift from Rambler to AMC is marked by those annual changes made to their new fastback Marlin model which went from '65 Rambler Marlin' -having an arguably superior Nash style torque tube drivetrain with 'Twin Stick' five speed overdrive transmission, to '66 Marlin by AMC' with a more conventional four speed tranmission option, then to '67 AMC Marlin' bearing very few mechanical traces to it's Nash, Hudson and Rambler progeny, rather transformed to having an altogether conventional drivetrain.

Likewise, the gradual shift-image change from Rambler to AMC was marked by a steady release of all new type cars that were instead made to have 'tit-for-tat' features making them fierce challengers to the all new different size catagory 'status quo models' made by 'the big three'.

I call it 'Rambler's Revenge'! 




Two main automotive developments during the sixties led AMC into making their Gremlin model;

1) GM, Ford and Chrysler began for the first time making compact and intemediate sized cars, and quickly re-invented reskinned models to sell them as sports car substitutes.

2) A new class of drag racing, named 'AF/X, evolved when drag racers began altering the wheelbase of their cars for improved weight distribution. 

The all new smaller sized cars made by the 'big three' became a big success decorating the driveways of millions of brand loyal customers, and never before had there been so much experimentation done to alter the wheelbase of pre-existing cars. 

Whereas the drag racing name 'AF/X' meant 'American Factory Experimental', AMC representatives were quoted for saying the name of their new '68 AMX meant 'American Motors Experimental'.

By making a pre-existing chassis shorter, it becomes proportionally wider, and when the '68 Javelin got it's rear axle moved forward a full 12" -AF/X style-  that same AMX version also became better at going around corners on a road race course by merit of it's proportionally wider track. 

The '68 AMX debut made sure everyone knew AMC intended to compete with all their competition, and the AMX had nearly all those curious mechanical features found on the early production race track oriented Shelby Mustangs. It was no ordinary car, and AMC used them as marketing tools like they did with the Marlins; put at least one in every dealer showroom to attract attention in order to sell the more prudent less expensive models.

The AMXs soon became an SS/D drag racing class record holder.

Among this next generation of sporty cars being developed by AMC was an alternatively styled AMX prototype named 'AMX GT' which was basically a standard production AMX but with a even more radical rear styling treatment which eliminated the trunk area. On a drag strip this modification would further reduce the weight of the car for better power to weight ratio. On a road course this modification would move the rear wheels further out into the corners for less 'overhang', which reduces chassis inertial deviation for better handling. 

In '69 and '70, the Society of Automotive Engineers gave AMC's AMX their highly coveted 'Best Engineered Car of the Year' award; two of the three years the car was in production.

The AMX GT showcar is not memorialized in AMC historal media with any rear 3/4 view pictures, this is most likely explained by understanding the AMX's visual proportions were already looking a bit wide, and by having it's trunk removed the AMX GT would look understandably wider... too wide looking.

But where the idea of removing the trunk would make the AMX look too wide, applying the same technique to the more narrow all new Hornet bodystyle became 'the look', having the better visual proportions.

Hello Gremlin, having the AMX GT for it's styling preview prototype.

The all new '70 Gremlin was offered in a two seater version like the '68-'70 AMX but AMC's plan was obviously to produce the evolved type chassis in larger volume & at a lower cost. This spread out the former exclusive AMX model's racing potential to many more possible customers.

The AMX was a higher cost version of the Javelin, but the Gremlin was a lower cost version of the Hornet.

So, as far as AMC's range of production was concerned, the former exclusive AMX chassis formula became mainstream with the Gremlin.

And where those writers used to nickname AMC's AMX 'the Walter Mitty Ferrari', the base model Gremlin then became the poorman's AMX.

Moreover, when AMC ended two seater AMX production, nearly all AMC cars began to have an AM 'X' option, whereas the AMX theme became widespread to all sporty AMC cars.

Alas, AMC made the Gremlin GT as a 'going away present' when the Gremlin model was ended. 





Gremlins are HOT!


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