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Hagerty
Hagerty Employee

AMC values are finally stirring, but most remain Big Bad bargains

Ask the average person to name five American car companies: American Motors (AMC) isn't likely to be on the list. Ask the average young person what they think about AMC, and they'll probably start talking about movie-theater recliners. Too bad, because AMC is a carmaker worth remembering.
https://www.hagerty.com/media/valuation/amc-values-are-finally-stirring-but-most-remain-big-bad-barg...
43 REPLIES 43
Iso_Grifo
Instructor

I'm kind of surprised that the AMC Eagle 4x4 isn't getting any love from the hipster crowd. Considering how much they love vintage SUV's. I guess it's not big enough.

Design-wise, I like the later Javelins with their swoopy lines the best. They've got a real Hot Wheels look that should make them worth a lot more.

I'm surprised by what a bargain the 2 seater AMX continues to be.
Aquay_Mizmo
Intermediate Driver

A big AMC collection (with many of those cars) are up for auction at Mecum Indy this weekend. Love me some AMX!
Jaguarman
Pit Crew

You stopped one model short. Must include the Matador X 2-door coupe designed to compete with the Grand Prix/Monte Carlo, Thunderbird/Cougar, and Cordoba/Mirada. The aero-look Matador X was AMC's only entry into NASCAR and under Penske even won a few races. Not quite the success of the Javelin and Mark Donahue in Trans Am, but still a major success for little AMC.

https://www.oldcarsweekly.com/features/car-of-the-week-1974-amc-matador-x
Lash
Intermediate Driver

My brother had a Matador (not the X though). It was a pretty nice ride.
sclin10
Advanced Driver

Ugly then. Ugly now. But I love 'em!
RickL
Detailer

Dad hauled for AMC in the 60's/70's. We had them all from Ambassadors to an SC/Rambler that Dad drag raced (still in the family). AMXs, Javelins, Gremlins, Hornets, Rebels, Rogues, etc. We were an AMC family. For the Drag Race fans how could any one forget the Super Stock AMX of Shirley Shahan or the Pro Stock Hornet of Wally Booth. Great being the underdog!!!!
Would love to have my 68 390 4 speed AMX back again. Was a great car.
jorge1958
Pit Crew

I love the AMC cars. Especially the the 72-74 Javelins. They had such style and power. That 401 was a heck of an engine to. Surprising to see there values are just now coming up.
dd1
Detailer

Back in college (early 80s) had a '71 AMC Hornet. It was auto with a V8 (I think 304). I just had to tap the gas and the thing took off like lightening! It was a nice little car and I was amazed by the ruggedness of the vehicle. It was very solid and surprisingly didn't have any major rust considering I live in Connecticut.
As to the cars on this list I guess I'm also one of those odd balls who likes the strange non-conformist looks of the Gremlin and Pacer! And of course I love the Javelin.
k5ride
New Driver

I just purchased a 69 Red AMX with the "go pack" and black interior. It's completely stock and in fantastic shape. It gets a lot of attention driving around and many people have never seen or heard of them. I'm joined a few AMC groups and the people are very friendly and helpful. It can be challenging finding parts for these and everyone helps each other out. I could have purchased a classic from one of the "big three" but I'm glad I went with AMC. When you go to car shows, you see literally rows of Camaros, Mustangs, etc. You usually don't see anything from AMC. The AMX is a fun performance based car that you can still get at a reasonable price.
mbr2000
Advanced Driver

Yes, it's nice to have something different. I used to have a 55 Chevy car, and at car shows it wasn't unusual to see 5-10 or more bright red Tri-5s lined up in a row. I believe it's called CCC Syndrome (Classic Car Conformity). At least my car was maroon!
WillieG12
Pit Crew

If you can find a 73 or 74 Hornet Hatchback X w/ a V8, buy it. James Bond car in 74. Had one in 73, 153k, 30k pulling an RV, sold and another 50k plus put on it. Great handling 20+ mpg with a V8 lots of storage, great car. Tough to find in good shape.
Reatta
Intermediate Driver

Yes, a good value, but not a very well built car. For some reason, when your company is going broke and can't compete with the big three, you cut corners and have less quality.
I love the AMC cars, but I have to admit that they are not so great. Stand them next to a very cheap Chevelle or GTO and that Fisher body shows such better quality.
I am not knocking the AMCs. I am saying that they are a bargain because they are not as well built as many other muscle cars.
beeser
Intermediate Driver

"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!

mbr2000
Advanced Driver

Don't forget the Matador coupe. In a late 1973 edition, Car & Driver magazine called it "1974's Best Styled Car."
beeser
Intermediate Driver

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.)

Snailish
Instructor

Younger audience enthusiasm for Gremlins is pure.

AMC is long-gone from public consciousness, there is no perception around it like say a VW where modern efforts, scandals, advertising and styling call-backs continue to influence perception.

So Gremlin is just appreciated for what it is: a quirky looking, different car that isn't too big, too brougham or too expensive. It's also a 2-door coupe version of today's dominant crossover body style without the sport utility lift (pretend) aspects.
hyperv6
Racer

I always loved the AMX.

These are not easy or cheap cars to restore or one you will earn the money back fast on. These are for those who restore for love of the model.

Lack of parts and Reproduction parts can be challenging here.
Padgett
Advanced Driver

Always thought the 66 Rogue Coupe was one of the best looking cars of the period, unfortunately even with a 290 cid 230 hp V8,almost any 327 Nova would beat it. AMX was a great design but was obviously a shortened Javelin and lacked two things: a decent steering wheel and dash. Did also like the '69 SCRambler but again a tough row to hoe against a SS Nova/Camaro.
And who can forget the AstroSpiral.
Pchmotoho
New Driver

I was a young boy in the mid to late 70s living in the Detroit area and it is a fact that during that time the Gremlin was the most feared car in the area.

Google Wayne County serial killer. It was the largest murder investigation of the time and the suspect (never caught) supposedly drive a blue gremlin with a white hockey stripe.

OCULUSNY
Intermediate Driver

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."

TheFlow
Pit Crew

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.  1645DFB0-72B0-48F1-A0DA-A986679A0267.jpeg725828AF-D93B-4C5B-9659-2B05C628C88C.jpeg60EA23B2-8062-4E2D-B23D-D01A3B8D7DBE.jpeg

SJM1
Intermediate Driver

Ok, I understand the Javelin, AMX and the Scrambler and Machine, but the Gremlin and the Pacer? Definitely not muscle cars, although they do have their own "special" identities.

I remember looking at a"Big Bad Javelin" with the little wing on top and the painted bumpers, with a 390 and a 4 speed. The Scrambler was pretty cool back then. I wanted an AMX (mainly to be different). I ended up with an $850 max wedge Dart. Faster, cheaper, and as it turns out, down the road, a whole lot more valuable. Too bad that it was killing me with all that $.35/gallon gas that it was drinking on its way to Lions for a day of bracket racing...
These big engine AMC cars are still very cool, and are also rare. The low prices work to keep more of them from being restored, which makes them more rare and more cool. I imagine, that in the next couple years, the restored or survivors will be quite valuable.
beeser
Intermediate Driver

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?

Buzz
Detailer

To me the Hurst SC/Rambler was their best muscle car effort. Racing stripes running through the seats and headrests, blue Magnum 500 wheels, hurst shifted 4 speed, crazy hood scoop, those little cars surpassed just about everything for power to weight ratio. I’d trade my Super Bee for one in a New York minute.
Smilodon
Detailer

But it would be slower. Seen it when these were new.
beeser
Intermediate Driver

Me too. The S/C Rambler around here embarrassed many a big block B and E body....

andre
New Driver

Anyway it's a head turning and the Gremlin X 1978 Levis Edition that a drive gets lots of thumbs up.
Too bad he first buyer choosed the 232 but i keep original.
SIPLOWGUY
New Driver

If you asked me 20 years ago what I thought of AMCs I would laugh at you.... now, I am insanely intrigued by them lol.
DaveVan
Intermediate Driver

I bought my one owner 11973 Javelin in 1993 for $3,000. That was upper end at the time but it was a perfect rust free car with 90K on it. For all the years I have owned it I felt it was under valued. Much lower value than a Mustang or Cuda. But I still think she is the best of the 1973 Pony cars.......or at least gets the most attention at shows.
Dad_jokes
Detailer

Where’s the Hornet SC/360?
PhillipinSD
Intermediate Driver

Car&Driver was either joking or else got a huge advertising contract awarded by AMC. Most likely the later. The Matador was beyond butt ugly. AMC had such poor styling it made the company a joke. When it came to cars that looked good Rambler and AMC were simply out to lunch and the car designers were simply the children of the company execs. They picked these kids from the cars they drew at pre-school or all the way up to third grade. Their moms would hang the crayon drawings on the refrigerator and then the dad would take those drawings to work. Hence the Matador was born.
mhealy1
Detailer

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Richard Teague was a talented designer working with what he had. I find the American, Javelin, AMX, Hornet and Spirit particularly attractive. The Matador two door starting in 1974 and yes, the Pacer, were pretty cool too. As far as body quality, nothing from that era was any good. Here in the rust-belt, three years was when rust perforation started on most American cars of the late 60s and 70s, earlier than that on many imported cars. Our Fisher-body 70 Chevy Impala had four doors that pointed in four directions and C-pillar seams that appeared to have been finished with nothing more than a rasp. My dad used to joke that car had “flush and dry” rocker panels, as advertised, but also “plug and rot” fenders and quarter panels. AMC was not alone in regards to body quality issues.
beeser
Intermediate Driver

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.

Snailish
Instructor

Car & Driver has my respect for a willingness to called the emperor naked even if the statement being made is contrary to popular belief.

Remove the 70s euro/luxury/brougham stuff* and the 5mph bumpers, ignore the dated and haven't-come-back in style colours** and the tunnel-headlight Matador is a standout design. Sort of 70s Nova and Camaro had a baby and it grew bigger...

*nothing wrong with liking the 70s euro/luxury/brougham stuff it just era-sets the design vs. it being more timeless.

**look at the internet pictures of Matadors in black, Candy reds and such and they present as a different car than the 70s kitchen appliance ones.

We need that person that does the phantom design ideas here at Hagerty to draw a 2024 Matador EV as if the 76 Matador was last-year's model and they are doing the "evolution" of the model like Subaru legacy or F150 generations (not trying to reinvent it). I predict it would look pretty cool vs. most of what is actually getting made today.
Retro1
New Driver

One of the most fun cars I ever owned was close to the SC/Rambler, it was a 67 American with a Hurst option: HP 340 V8 with a 4 barrel, dual exhaust, Hurst shifted 4 speed and a posi. But unlike the SC/Rambler it was all under a plain jane white two door with dog dish hubcaps, a real sleeper. It was fast, blew the doors off of many a Mach 1 or Z-28 Cameros. Won a lot of bets back in my younger street racing days until word got around to watch out for the little white Rambler. I've been an AMC fan ever since, still have three in my collection.
JDull139
Intermediate Driver

I know it wasn't from the factory,but the Randall 401 Gremlin was one hell of a package.
Gary_Bechtold
Specialist

The Javelin and AMX are my favorites.

God help the Gremlin and Pacer's.
Mattwurth06
Pit Crew

1965-1967 Rambler Marlin & 1974-1978 Matador coupes ARE NOT EVEN MENTIONED!
Chevelle67
New Driver

My guess is the Millennials and Gen Z buyers relate to the Gremlin and Pacer because they were fans of Cars 2 as kids and the bad guys Grem And Acer.
Timbo
Intermediate Driver

What's the value of a '67 Marlin?
OkJustOneMore
Intermediate Driver

I liked the styling and paint combinations that really stood out. I would drive any of those cars, even the gremlins/pacers. Got to love the underdogs!
MARK400
Detailer

Pacer X..........yea baby !!!..... Wayne and Garth would be proud.
240ZV8
Intermediate Driver

I figured the Hornet SC360 would have received some attention. It was a great exercise in dorky little car with a big engine. It looked like a Gremlin that the rear section was finally completed .