AMT 1/25 1976 AMC Gremlin

KIT #: A690
PRICE: $24.99 SRP
DECALS: Several options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: Reissue

HISTORY

The AMC Gremlin is a two-door subcompact car produced in the United States and Canada by the American Motors Corporation (AMC) between 1970 and 1978. In typical fashion, AMC expanded their development and manufacturing profits by adapting a shortened Hornet platform with a Kammback-type tail, continuing the 19681970 Javelin and AMX pattern but without the limited production aspect of the AMX, as forecast by the 1969 AMX GT. The manufacturer described the car as "the first American-built import".

Introduced on April 1, 1970, and competing with the Chevrolet Vega, Ford Pinto, and imported cars including the VW Beetle and the Toyota Corona, the Gremlin became AMC's best-selling passenger car since the Rambler Classic. A total of 671,475 were built in its single generation (one chassis design and body style).

Here is a bit of info on the 1976 version as kitted by AMT. Changes were greater for 1976. Oval headlight bezels replaced the previous circular items. The grille shape became a stretched hexagon and included in its insert two opposing loops stacked atop each other and housing new rounded parking/turn signal lights. Front fenders were taller, with a slight finned effect. A new "Custom" trim line debuted, featuring a striped interior trim called "Potomac", as well as a spare tire cover and other minor details. The A models were given another new striping scheme: the hockey stick-style stripe of the previous year adding a secondary extension that ran from the door-handle straight back. The X package was now available only on Custom models. Due to flagging sales, the 304 cu in (5.0 L) V8 engine option (now downgraded to 120 hp (89 kW)) was cancelled at midyear, after only 826 installations. (A total of 40,994 Gremlins were equipped with the V8 engine from 1972 to 1976.) A 4-speed manual transmission was made available at midyear. Sales tapered slightly to 52,941 - a decline of 5.5%.

THE KIT

Round 2, which either owns or controls MPC, AMT and Polar Lights has reissued a car from the mid 1970s with this Gremlin kit. Just to show how things have changed, this kit was $2.00 in 1976/77. Packaged in a box that is far larger than needs be and at a price that is much higher than most will like (though keeping in line with new tool car kits from Revell), you get a standard looking AMT/MPC kit. There is a bit of flash and as usual, some of the parts had departed the trees. The huge box is divided into four compartments with the chrome/clear bits in one, tires/axles in another, body/chassis in a third and the rest of the parts in the fourth section.

Molding is typically a bit soft by modern standards and there will be ejector pin marks in many places that one would rather not have them. The kit does have a ton of options, however. For instance, these is a choice of clear or tinted windows and the ability to build the car as a street or drag car. For the engine there are three different carb set ups, different intake manifolds, chrome or plain valve coversas well as headers or stock exhaust manifold. The transmission is separate from the rest of the engine. Drag slicks are provided complete with pad printed tire logo. A roll bar is available for the interior as is a different steering wheel. For the the body, one has different quarter window panels, a roof or chin spoiler, side pipes and a hood with a scoop for the dragster. There is no hinge for the hood so displaying the engine will mean simply not gluing it on and lifting it off when the time is appropriate. Many of us will simply glue it in place. All the suspension detail is molded onto the lower chassis. Wheels are attached using thin metal axles.

Kit instructions are exactly like they were in 1976/77. The decal sheet is very nicely done and provides a number of stripes and logos. There is no painting information provided for any of the parts or the overall car and no decal placement guide. One will need to rely on box art to fulfill that requirement. Interestingly, licensing fees were paid to Chrysler and to Goodyear, the latter for use of their logo on the decal sheet. Many other model car companies and slot car makers have simply left these off their products so they would not have to pay the fee. But really, that is simply passed on to the consumer anyway so it makes no real difference.

I should also point out that there is a box size poster of the box art included with this kit.

CONCLUSIONS

Probably one of the reasons this was reissued was due to the popularity of Cars 2 and because this kit has been getting rather high collector's prices. Now that it has a decent decal sheet, I fully expect to find a lot of folks buying and building this one.

REFERENCES

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AMC_Gremlin

February 2012

Thanks to me for picking this one up. It is because I like kits of cars like this.

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