As a big fan of both AMC and hatchbacks, there is nothing I like more than a nice, clean AMC Gremlin that really delivers all-around. The owner of this car, Mark Greenisen, has done a lot to this humble economy car from 1974.
After the oil crisis in the early 1970’s, large American cars faced a big problem. Their massive size and large-block V8 engines were no longer compatible with the price of fuel to the average American family. AMC answered this with a number of relatively small, practical cars that fulfilled the needs of citizens suddenly concerned with fuel economy.
The Gremlin was one of these, and customers immediately took to the charming little hatchback with huge blind spots (70’s, after all). This particular Gremlin came from the factory with a straight-6 engine and an automatic transmission. Not exactly what you would consider to be up to par these days.
That was remedied with a trip to Schwartz Performance. To keep it authentic, a 360 cubic inch AMC V8 that cranks out 505 horsepower was dropped in and connected to an AMC automatic transmission. This was a pretty good upgrade, but Schwartz Performance has a lot more to offer than tune-ups and engine swaps.
You see, Mark’s background is in autocross racing, and he wanted his Gremlin to be able to handle itself around the cones as well as it could in a straight line. So, rather than do extensive modifications to the unibody Gremlin to make the suspension geometry optimal for racing, Schwartz Performance simply put an entirely new frame underneath the car.
With the new frame and suspension in place, there was little room for the new wheels and tires to actually rotate. The inner fenders were cut and raised up and the outer fenders were flared up to help clearance. The rear fenders were flared to match, and it really brings the whole look together.
The bright green paint may not be for everyone, but it really fits this car. I really hope that this is not the last time that Schwartz Performance gets their hands on a Gremlin, because the results are awesome.