The AMC Gremlin is a subcompact car from American Motors Corporation, introduced as a 1970½ model and produced through the 1978 model year. AMC reduced development and manufacturing costs by adapting a shortened compact Hornet platform with Kammback-like tail producing what was described at its introduction as "the first American-built import".
The AMC Gremlin was introduced April 1, 1970 competing with the Chevrolet Vega and Ford Pinto introduced six months later, as well as imported cars including the VW Beetle and the Toyota Corona. The Gremlin would become American Motors' best-selling passenger car since the Rambler Classic. From April 1970 through 1978, a total of 671,475 Gremlins were built in the United States and Canada. With a mild body restyling, the basic design continued with the AMC Spirit and the all-wheel-drive AMC Eagle until 1983.
Changes for 1977 included redesigned sheet metal for the first time in the Gremlin's now 8-year history: revised hood, shorter front fenders, new bumpers, taller glass tailgate, enlarged taillights, and rear license plate now covering the fuel filler. The front end was shortened by four inches (102 mm) with all new sheet metal and a crosshatch grille insert. Parking lights reverted to rectangular, and headlights were now recessed into square bezels with rounded corners. The new hood had a small "power bulge" at the front. The base model now included carpeting, as well as rocker panel and wheellip moldings. Available was the "Custom" model with a list price of $2,998. The X package returned as a $189 option, with yet another new striping pattern that ran straight back from the front fenders and crested upward over the rear wheels. Front disc brakes became standard.
At the start of the model year, the Gremlin was available in either the standard 232 cu in (3.8 L) or optional 258 cu in (4.2 L) six-cylinder engines. Both featured a power boost from updated cylinder heads and two-barrel carburetors. In addition, AMC offered a carbureted four-cylinder engine: a Volkswagen/Audi 2.0 L (~122 cu in) Straight-4 also used in fuel injected form in the Porsche 924. It gave better fuel economy, but less power than the standard six-cylinder engines. The new engine reduced the Gremlin's weight by 250 pounds (113 kg) allowing it to achieve an EPA rating of 21 mpg-US (11 L/100 km; 25 mpg-imp) in the city, and 33 mpg-US (7.1 L/100 km; 40 mpg-imp) on the highway. However, the expense of acquiring the rights to the new 2.0 L engine meant that AMC could not afford to make it standard equipment. It was reserved for the Custom version. The changes did not result in improved sales: AMC built 46,171 Gremlins for 1977 (13% less than in 1976), of which 7,558 carried the new 2.0 L engine.
Source: Wikipedia, 2011