AMC Gremlin

With a name like the AMC Gremlin what could drivers really expect in this vehicle? Gremlin was the first U.S. subcompact car and was made by the American Motors Corporation staring in 1970. Between April 1, 1970, when the car was released, through the 1978 model year, AMC pumped out a total of 671,475 Gremlins. This car was launched on an attempt to preempt the releases by Ford and General Motors, who had scheduled releases for subcompact cars in 1971. The Gremlin came to light from the ingenious mind of Chief stylist Richard Teague – he simply chopped off the back end of a Javelin. On a more interesting and personal note, rumor has it that Teague sketched out the design on the back of a Northwest Orient airsickness bag. The Gremlin was a midsize car in every respect except for the distance from the seatbacks to the rear bumper. It did nevertheless have the wheelbase of a subcompact vehicle. In fact, the back seat was nearly non-existent and could only comfortably fit children, and the cargo area was even smaller than that of a Volkswagen Beetle- not counting folding down the rear seat. Consumers were not quite ready for the Gremlin design, and in fact, it was the focal point of a number of jokes such, "What happened to the rest of your car?". But, those who could get past being the laughing stock of the parking lot enjoyed the aerodynamics of the vehicle, and its design was used as a starting point for many other popular subcompacts in following years. Sadly, the diving experience suffered because it was front-heavy and the ride was a bit stiff on account of the shortened rear springs. While the interior of the vehicle was lacking in extra space, it had a roomy engine compartment for its standard 199 cubic inch (3.3 liter) six-cylinder engine. Some drivers even went so far as to drop in an even larger engine – up to 390 cubic inches (6.4 liters) and even a hemi Gremlin is rumored to have existed.