Jay Leno is notoriously a wealthy car collector, who not only enjoys the high-end, six-figure supercars from across the pond, but even the occasional classic muscle car, late-model Corvette or vintage Euro exotic. However, Jay does have a soft spot for the weird and unusual, including Jeff Dunham’s AMC Gremlin Xs. Yup, we said Gremlin.
Jeff has quite a collection of cars too, including Porsches, McLarens, etc., just like Jay. But he owns a pair of Gremlins (and a Pacer, apparently) that are impeccable and immaculate. Both of them are the sporty-themed X models; one with the 258 cubic-inch 6-banger and the other with a 304 V8. The 304 is also a Levi’s Edition, which provided the owner with a mock denim interior, complete with copper rivets. Leno even joked, “Olds had Hurst, AMC had Levi’s,” pointing out that it wasn’t really a performance attribute.
You have to keep in mind, that the X package (borrowed from the AMX moniker), was largely a cosmetic package over a base model Gremlin and the Pacer. You could have specced it with the 304 V8, or either the two 6-cylinder engines that were avail be during the X’s availability. The Gremlin itself was clearly based on the relatively larger Hornet, with the back lopped of resulting in a lower curb weight. Designed to compete directly with the Japanese and German economy cars that were beginning to flood the market, the Gremlin would have some competition from GM, Ford and to a lesser extent, Chrysler, in just a few months that would follow upon its initial release.
Jeff’s cars are 1973 and 174 examples, and represent the sort of midway point between overall Gremlin production. Being as busy as he is, there are some details that even Jeff isn’t familiar with on both of his cars, that would strike the typical enthusiast as odd, but we can understand his relative confusion and uncertainly about the two vehicles. AMC themselves were clearly confused about the cars, and they’ve built them.
Rick Seitz is the owner and founder of Timeless Muscle Magazine, and has a true love and passion for all vehicles. When he isn’t tuning, testing, or competing with the brand’s current crop of project vehicles, he’s busy tinkering and planning the next modifications for his own cars.