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The Levi’s AMC Gremlin wasn’t just quirky, it fashioned a movement

The AMC Gremlin has undergone some serious image rehabilitation in the last 20 years. Launched on April Fools’ Day, 1970, the Gremlin immediately became a successful part of American Motors’ lineup, outselling the Javelin, Ambassador, and even the Matador. Unfortunately, AMC failed to update the car frequently enough. By the mid ’70s it had become woefully outdated compared to the small-car competition like the Vega, Pinto, and Corolla.

AMC built a total of 671,475 Gremlins from 1970 to 1978, and some of the obvious features collectors look for are V-8 engines, manual transmissions, and the sporty “X” package. But perhaps the most desirable option out there is the Levi’s jeans interior.

Before we get to that denim delight, however, you may be asking, “Wait a minute—people collect these things?” The lack of updates, combined with the inconsistent quality of all domestic economy cars of that era, caused the unique-looking Gremlin to become an object of ridicule in pop culture throughout the ’80s and ’90s. Movies, TV commercials, and “Top Ten Worst Car” chain emails constantly ragged on the little Gremlin. The messaging was clear: This was a dorky car driven only by losers… read more >

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