Wednesday, October 19, 2011

San Francisco Street Sighting - 1973 AMC Gremlin

Coming from the other end of the spectrum from yesterday's immaculate 1970 Toyota Corona is this 1973 AMC Gremlin. American Motors products are becoming scarce in San Francisco, and this is arguably the saddest one in town. The Gremlin was a comedy of errors that was rumored to have been penned by Richard Teague on an air-sickness bag while on a flight, was named after a troublesome creature that sabotages machinery, and was introduced to the public on April Fools Day, 1970. It was created by cutting all the useful space out of a Hornet coupe, marketed as an economy car, and then offered with a V8 and sporty option packages for a wonderful mixed message, none of which really made sense. That's probably why the Gremmie is so universally panned by critics, and precisely why I love it.

This Gremlin has lost most of its paint, to the point that it looks as though someone attacked the poor thing with a wood chisel and left it to rot, but it probably looked rather smart in its day in metallic Pewter Silver with a roof rack and twin black "hockey stick" tape stripes that run from the leading edge of the hood, up along the beltline to the C-pillar and end at the roof. It's not the hotted-up "X" performance model, just a basic Gremlin with dog-dish hubcaps over steel wheels, likely powered by a straight-six. The original fuel cap, embossed with the signature pot-bellied gremlin character and easily stolen, is gone, replaced by a nondescript locking cap. The plastic grille is ruined, and the driver's door is rusting through at the bottom corners, but it looks like there may yet be time to save the body. I'm fascinated by the patina on this thing, but no way in hell would I want to drive it. The tags were current, so I guess it gets driven still, possibly by someone who can't afford to restore it. I understand that. Some folks are content with anything that runs, and there's nothing wrong with that, especially if money is tight and the most important thing is that it starts in the morning for the drive to work. This car has given its owner a lot over the years. I would like to see it receive some attention someday though, before it blows away in the wind.

No comments:

Post a Comment