Roadside Find of a ’74 AMC Gremlin

While Sports & Classics is mainly focused on classic British sports cars, we certainly don’t discriminate. As we have said before, all cars have a story, and not just the British ones! We recently received the following story from our customer, Marc, a British car enthusiast and owner of Classic Technologies. To our surprise, Marc sent us a story, not of his Triumph TR6, but of his 1974 AMC Gremlin!

February 1, 2016, Marc was running some errands during his lunch break. While cutting through his neighborhood he noticed that a detached garage was being torn down at one of the houses. Parked on the side of the road was a filthy old car. As he got closer, he realized the car was an AMC Gremlin.

After finishing the rest of his errands, Marc quickly returned to the car to investigate. Upon further inspection it was clear the car had been sitting in that garage for a long time. It was caked with dust, but not rust.  Being that it was all original, and having just 48k miles on the clock, it begged the question, “Is it for sale?” Marc asked, “Yes, we’ll take anything for it” said the owner.

It was clear they needed the car out of there as soon as possible. Marc ran to the nearest ATM and returned with $300 cash, and the deal was done. This whole time Marc was wondering what he was going to tell his wife, as he had two other classics cars, one not even finished yet. Despite all that, he felt he could not wait as he might miss out on this deal. He would be right, too, as later that day they were offered $1,000 for the car, but Marc returned with a flatbed and they honored his deal.

Once the car arrived home, Marc quickly began cleaning it up as much as he could before his wife saw it. Luckily, she didn’t give him too much grief for the car considering the price and his good track record of finishing projects.
While the Gremlin is by no means a super desirable car, this one was like a time capsule and Marc felt it deserved a stock restoration. He began rebuilding the engine with all new rings, bearings, seals, fuel and water pumps, along with a rebuilt head and carburetor. His two sons helped him assemble the engine and finished it off with a fresh coat of blue paint.

After he addressed a few rust spots under the battery tray, he decided to give the engine compartment a re-spray before dropping the rebuilt engine in. Once the was engine in, Marc poured a few gallons of gas into the tank and turned the key, but it didn’t start. When going through the fuel system Marc noticed the fuel filter was clogged and the gas tank was rusted. Unfortunately, replacement Gremlin gas tanks aren’t available so he had to improvise and repair the original gas tank himself. Once that was taken care of and the Gremlin finally started, the radiator began leaking and needed to be replaced.

After all the time it took to get the Gremlin running and driving properly, Marc felt that to not have a nice paint job 

 

would have been a waste of all his effort. First he attempted to paint the car in his driveway, but when that didn’t turn

 out to his liking, he pushed it into his garage and tried again. This time the paint came out great and after putting on 

the original decals, it really surpassed Marc’s expectations.

Throughout this whole project, Marc was concerned about investing too much time and money in to a Gremlin, but after seeing how much joy it brought to him and his whole family, it all felt worthwhile. The car even caught the eye of a film producer who ended up using the Gremlin and Marc’s TR6 in their film! Going to a car show, you’ll probably see a number of Porsches, Ferraris, Camaros and so on, but a Gremlin!  That is something different.  And that’s exactly what Marc was looking for. 

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