The Curbside Effect kicked in again, delivering to us this ’74-’77 AMC Hornet. Normally, I’d just throw these pictures in the files for a future Curbside Classic, but I wanted to share it this week for three reasons:
1) AMC Week has been Hornet free (at least on the AMC side) and this car is very original and very complete. Given the car’s importance to AMC in the early seventies, we needed one to wrap up the week.
2) It’s the relatively rare Hornet Hatchback, a car Car and Driver called “the styling coup of 1973.” You can argue the point, but I agree. I plan to go back and ask the owner’s permission for some close up pictures, and I may also inquire about a potential purchase.
3) If you squint, you can see the fender badge indicates this Hornet includes the Levi’s interior (Yeess!). For now, watch for this car posted in a future Curbside Classic. Today, let’s just wrap up things up with one word:
Nice score Dave.I like the Hornet especially the woody Sportabout.I confess I ignored them in the 70s and lost interest in AMC’s cars after the Javelin was binned(even the 71 – 74 Javelin was better than no Javelin).
How did the denim interior stand up to wear and tear?My little sister had a Jeans Beetle which had the seats replaced with vinyl ones from a scrapyard as all the denim ones were worn out
How did the denim interior stand up to wear and tear?
As I recall, AMC did not actually use denim, as it wore much to quickly…I destroy a pair of jeans in 2-3 years, from just normal around the house wear.
AMC used nylon fabric, though it was colored like denim and had the orange stitching and the orange “Levis” tag just as a pair of jeans would.
This site has several pix of a Levi’s Edition Gremlin undergoing interior restoration. In the last pic on the right of the top row, you can just see the Levi’s tag high on the outside edge of the driver’s backrest
Thanks Steve that’s a neat Gremlin
IIRC, the AMC Levi’s interiors were (in)famous for the brass buttons, which would get so hot in the sun that they would leave nice welts on skin, even through clothes.
The photo is a Jeep version, which had more of the buttons than the cars.
Wow, a cool find! A bit of rubbing compound with a polishing wheel might really clean up what appears to be original paint.
This is either a 1974 or ’75, as it appears that the Levi’s package was discontinued for 1976. If you could see the grille you could pin it down; ’75s got a new segmented grille.
Took long enough to get a Hornet up, but it was well worth the wait to get a rarer version of the car without any tacky modifications or graphics or a vinyl top (Concorde). I don’t agree with C&D’s assessment on its styling, though. I think the 2-door sedan looked better.
For those so inclined, Greg Beckenbaugh (A/K/A Geeber) did a nice writeup on a ’76 Hornet hatchback.
It does have a vinyl roof though; sorry Perry 🙂
Thanks, Tom. Believe it or not, that Hornet hatchback is STILL there, sitting at the same house!
Thanks Dave. Great to see one of AMCs best designs of the 70s, before AMC week ends. I’m surprised the Hornet coupes weren’t more popular. Thought the Nova coupe and Duster were tough competition in the compact market.
They looked best in their early, cleanest versions, with no vinyl top. Unfortunately they used this coupe as the basis for the glam ’77 AMX. Which turned into the Concord AMX in ’78. I though these looked as compromised as any tape-stripe package offered on any domestic cars at the time. Including the gaudy Mustang II King Cobra.
The standard Concord coupe looked pretty nice though.
But not so much when equipped with a landau roof and chrome tiara–on a hatchback?!
So you could get a nice-looking one, a budget Smokey and the Bandit version (with Leslie Nielsen instead of Burt Reynolds) or a budget Cannon version (with Danny DeVito instead of William Conrad).
I could definitely do without the rear window louvers, aluminum roof band and Eagle-style fender flares. They overwhelm the clean basic styling.
The ’77 Hornet AMX had fore and aft wheelwell mini-flares…
While the ’78 Concord AMX adopted full rounded wheel flares. Somewhat a preview to the future Eagle flares. Worked better on the lifted Eagles.
I’ve started to get an unhealthy interest in the tapes and fake scoop “muscle cars” from the 70s.I blame my brother,it started with looking at photo’s of a Volare Roadrunner he snapped on his holidays
I feel the same way Gem. lol I think it’s because these packages haven’t been popular on new cars for at least 25 years. I think what eventually leveled my interest in tape packages, was seeing these packages age not so gracefully. They often looked great when new. But faded, peeling graphics look as bad as tired paint on a car IMO. Plus it was an era, when the graphics replaced performance, in many cases.
A former girlfriend of mine had a ’74 that looked just like this one (minus the Levi interior; hers was tan plaid) with a 360(!). The 360 was available for a few years in Hornets. I worked on it for her once and thought it had to be a 304, but it really was a 360. Now that was a rare beast.
The side profile is pleasant enough (and much like the ’74 up Matador coupe) and cleaner than most of the GM compacts starting in ’74. The taillights, rear panels, bumper fillers were obviously crude even before the years of wear, but not much worse then the Chevelle / Malibu during these years.
People sitting in traffic behind some of these cars had to be seriously turned off.
As a military kid, I won’t forget the two Hornet sedans that military police had at Canadian air base Rockcliffe had in 1973/74. Very close to these below, but all black. The two AMCs served the whole base. No idea if they had the 304 or 360. I wouldn’t be shocked if they had sixes.
Yeah thats a neat car good find, Hornets were on sale out here and there was one on sale locally but with chronic rust, this one looks quite solid and well worth buying and returning to use, Having watched Cars2 last night with miss 12 I’m on Gremlin overload but that denim rebuild is nice.
The pics of this Hornet really bring back memories! The parents of my first serious girlfriend were of very modest means and had a 71 or ’72 Hornet, 2 door post (non hatchback) that was optioned with – the AM radio! Nothing else – small six, 3 on the tree, as cheap and basic as you could get. I am not positive but I think the back windows did not roll down, which leads into the story.
When I was 15 (1973) we, the teenagers, went on a 5 day float trip culminating in the Ozark hills about 100 miles from our St. Louis homes. The girlfriend’s parents picked us up in the Hornet – 5 teenagers plus 2 parents plus a younger sibling along for the ride. We ended up with 5 teenagers in the back seat, 2 parents and the 12 year old daughter in the front, trunk stuffed full plus bedrolls, etc in the interior that would not fit in the trunk.
8 people in a non-AC Hornet for 3+ hours in a very warm Missouri June – good times. Not positive, but with all that weight and the Ozark hills I doubt if the Hornet could do much more than 50 mph. As much as I liked having my girlfriend sit on my lap (dad adjusted his mirror to keep an eye on us), after the first hour I thought my legs would have to be amputated.
Every time I see a Hornet I think of that girl and that ride. You never forget your fist love.
These are my favorite types of posts 🙂
I like these better now than I did in the 70s. However, was there an uglier wheelcover design during this car’s entire decade?
Well, other than the ’75-’77 base Cutlass wheelcover, this one comes to mind…maybe it’s because the cars these attach to are some of the only domestic 70’s vehicles I have zero love for..
Where is it? I want it.
I had forgotten about the performance nameplate prostitution that went on in the late 70’s with Volare Road Runners and AMX Hornets.
Here’s U one in Corning, AR
HAHA. My family had the 76 wagon – which my parents bought after my mother hit a patch of ice and wrecked a Mustang 2 – and it goes down as the biggest lemon of the bunch. It backfired, made really strange noises, had a plastic bushing that would wear out regularly and was just ornery. It always made a strange “winding down” noise after long -straightaway drives, a RRnnNNNnnnnNNNNNNNN sound. As a three year old, I was able to pull off a body panel and the plastic door lock covers. My folks had a late 60s Rambler they loved, so in some odd fashion I guess they wanted to stay true to brand.
By the way, being the biggest lemon in my family’s history is quite an accomplishment.
We also owned:
79 Datsun 210 wagon
various VW bugs
a early 70s-ish green Dodge with bad doors
84 Monte Carlo SS
91 Dodge Shadow
74 Mustang 2 4 door
It’s a wonder we let my father pick out bread at the grocery store.
Lynne, you list “74 Mustang 2 4 door”? I am confused. Very confused, trying to picture such a beast. 3 door?
Oops. Mustang II coupe. My fingers are moving faster than my brain. Or I was counting the fuel door.
And the trunk, hey its a 5 door!
Is that an MC oval nationality sticker?
I find it slightly hard to believe this car resides in Monaco…
The owner probably came from there. A Belgian lady I know has a “B” on her newish Mitsubishi Lancer, and I’m sure the car’s never been there.
Where you see Hornets parked next to the Corniches at the Casino Royale…..