The AMC Gremlin Doesn't Deserve All of the Criticism

 The AMC Gremlin has gotten more flak than most cars, but does it deserve it, or does it have some redeeming qualities?

Not many classic cars have elicited as much derision as the Gremlin, and to be honest, it deserves a lot of it. Back in the 1970s, it was a huge success for the AMC brand because it was the right car at the right time.

The AMC Gremlin Doesn't Deserve All of the Criticism

Also with fuel crisis in full swing, it became the ultimate poster child for malaise era cars, and after imports began to dominate the compact car market, the big three, as well as AMC, all needed an answer. AMC responded with something cheap, familiar, easy to maintain, and, of course, dog ugly.

The Name Is Appropriate For The Car

Although no one would have associated the name with an image back then, after the movies of the 1980s, it would be impossible not to associate the name with a "face." Most would argue that having a rabid Furby as that "face" isn't such a good idea, but it adds some personality to a car that otherwise lacks anything interesting or cool. Gremlins are both of these things and much more.
The AMC Gremlin Doesn't Deserve All of the Criticism
Accepts Its Flaws

According to the designer, "I don't think the Gremlin is going to win any styling awards." It most emphatically did not. It was practical, though, because it reused many parts from AMC's previous car and used the same platform as the sedan. It also has a certain allure that has won it many fans over the years.

Low-Cost Development

AMC's financial situation was already precarious, but they needed to release a small car to compete, at the very least, with the other small American cars being developed at the time. Their solution was to remove the back end of their current sedan.

 You'd think people would see through such logic, but it proved to be a stroke of genius, and the car went on to become one of AMC's best-sellers.

AMC was temporarily saved

They weren't quite on the ropes in the early 1970s, but after purchasing Jeep, they weren't exactly flush with cash either. Almost by chance, the AMC became the ideal car for a decade that saw massive increases in fuel prices and nearly all Americans purchasing at least one small, efficient car.

The AMC Gremlin Doesn't Deserve All of the Criticism

Despite not breaking any sales records, they made more than enough money to last another decade.

Did everything AMC said it would do

It wasn't like they were making empty promises; it was simply a solution to a problem caused by the influx of Japanese compact cars and the big three's general inability to produce a half-decent local alternative.

The Chevrolet Vega had grave build quality issues (despite selling well), the Pinto had a tendency to blow up, and Chrysler seemed hellbent on rebadging some pretty bad imports rather than producing small cars.

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