"Going broke"?! During the time period mentioned, AMC had enough cash to buy Kaiser's automotive operations (that means Jeep), create a whole new division (AM General) to go after and often win government contracts (HumVee, postal jeeps, metropolitan busses) and develop a new V-8 line and products. Hardly a company struggling. And as to quality; AMC was first with their "import beater", the Gremlin, beating both the Pinto and the Vega to market. Of those three, I know which one I would prefer, and by a long shot!
And don't forget the Oleg Cassini Edition! AMC was first to employ well-known fashion designers to spice up their products. (There was also a Pierre Cardin Javelin and Gucci Hornet.)
What? No Marlin?
I recall my Dad chatting with a fellow Chrysler Dealer who also happened to have an adjacent Rambler/AMC store. They were talking about the sporting 60s Barracuda and Dad asked John, How about the Marlin? John groaned at the now months-old left-over he'd had since Announcement: "We're planning on having it for Thanksgiving Dinner."
Happy Hagerty reviewed AMC cars. I beg to differ from the put down comments. The Go Package car came with power steering and brakes, front disc, and Dual Track differential (posi equivalent). The 390 X code motor was built with forged pistons, rod and crank. I’ve seen many Fords, Mopars and Chevy’s with less.
In the late '70s, among my high school classmates were the children of the local car dealers. The high school parking lot included the latest Z-28s, Firebirds, both Formula and Trans Ams, there was even a Ferrarri! There were also plenty of built up MoPars and Mustangs. There was one guy who bought a used, green Gremlin with the 304 V-8, cheap! Because all of AMCs V-8s are based on the same block, he dropped in a mildly upgraded 401. He did the R & R in one weekend. Can you guess what the fastest car in that high school parking lot was?
In fact, AMC products often scored well above the competition in quality surveys. The generally poor build quality of American cars in the '70s was a major reason (along with lower prices and greater fuel economy) that Japan, Inc, was able to greatly increase their market share in the US during this time period.