Curbside Classic: 1972 AMC Hornet Gucci Sportabout – The First Fashion Designer-Mobile

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(first posted 6/11/2014)    Life can be funny. I didn’t set out to shoot this Green AMC Hornet Sportabout Gucci Edition, but then I didn’t set out to give a talk about the future of cars to the McMinnville City Club Pub Talk series either. Nor, when you get right down to it, did I ever really intend to write about cars for a living in the first place. Life has a plan for all of us that is almost entirely incomprehensible, except for the occasional small clues that seem to indicate things are moving along on the right path. When we’re especially lucky those clues are even as obvious as a perfect CC-condition 1972 Hornet Gucci Sportabout.

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Matt, the Hornet’s proud owner, no more meant to buy a Curbside Classic than I meant to write about cars… but as he says, “just look at it.” He couldn’t say no. I’m not sure I could either, if I found this “little old lady” car at the deal he got.

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It’s the kind of car that might not immediately grab your eye on a scan of the street in 2014, but as soon as you notice it it draws you in.

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The details are what makers this car, and the condition is what makes the details. Everything is there, right down to the somewhat distressing warning “Keep window closed and latched while driving.”

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A good warning. The gorgeous Gucci-pattern headliner is probably at nightly risk of being slashed out by the aggressive artisnal upcyclers who roam the greater Portland area in an endless search for vintage materials with which to make iPhone cases for Brooklyn boutiques.

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If not for Matt’s vigilance, the leather and vinyl upholstery would already be wallets or bong cozies.

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But as easy as it is to bash hipsters, I’d buy the tail ornament myself just to stare at the Italianate Hornet symbol, framed by a gear.

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And don’t get me started about those hubcaps…

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Not while Matt’s driving it though, and he plans to keep it running for as long as he can. That wasn’t the plan, but it is now… and it’s not hard to see why.

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Postscript by Niedermeyer the Elder: I do hope Matt fully realizes what a rare and exceptional car he has. The 1972 Gucci Sportabout is the first hookup between an American manufacturer and a European fashion designer, a pioneering move by AMC that didn’t really pay off for them, but it sure did for Lincoln, which soon took up the idea. Only 2,583 of these were built in 1972, and 2,252 in 1973.

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AMC expanded the idea to the 1973 Cardin Javelin and the 1974 Cassini Matador (CC here). But it seems that AMC didn’t really ignite the market that it primarily catered too. Realistically, most Hornet buyers in 1972 probably didn’t even know what Gucci was. AMC was ahead of their time, once again.

I wonder what this car would fetch in Gucci-crazed China?

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