Welcome to Used Car Face Off, where we find two similar or similarly priced used cars and ask you which one you would buy. Choose wisely!
What is the most American-sounding car name? Probably a Jeep Liberty, but that's no fun. Why not go with a company with America(n) right in the name – the American Motors Corporation?
From 1954 to 1987, the underdog of the American auto industry, AMC produced many forgettable cars and a number of cars that they'd like to forget. Today, however, they can be viewed as interesting creations and a company that, while perpetually cash-strapped, dared to be different in the wake of the Big 3. Here are two I've spotted and have decided to pit against each other. Naturally, they're both from the '70s.
A lot of people snicker at the Gremlin, for reasons I'm not entirely aware of. It didn't have a disastrous engine reputation like the Chevy Vega or a burning legacy like the Ford Pinto. It was just ugly, which isn't the worst automotive offense ever committed. It's a ridiculous-looking car and this 1974 Gremlin in orange is aptly described by its seller as an "old lady car." Extremely original, though, as it was put in storage for almost 35 years.
It has practically no equipment, though. The 120 mph speedometer is ambitious, to say the least, with the 3.8-liter straight-six and a 3-speed manual. But, hey, it's a (relatively) small car and it's pretty shockingly original. At $5,500, it's not absurdly priced for a Gremlin like this. The problem is, it's a Gremlin and you'll have to defend that every time.
AMC sort of felt the same way in the late '70s, so it came out with the Concord, the "luxurious compact," meaning it has a vinyl roof and it was smaller than most American cars of the time. But this '78 Concord 2-door is packing a V8 that originally propelled the car to 60 mph in 10 seconds and a top speed of 100. Which, ironically, is 10 more mph than what the Concord's speedometer goes to.
Even though it's closely related to the Gremlin, it's much more plush than the barebones '74 its competing against here. The thought of a V8 compact is intriguing, too, more so than the VW/Audi 2.0-liter four you could get as an option. But between the red interior and padded roof of this "luxury" model, there's something really dated about this Concord that doesn't make me laugh. Even though it's very low mileage, the nearly 7 grand price sounds steep. That Gremlin, on the other hand...
I have a soft spot for AMC and I'd defend that orange Gremlin as an amazing relic of the '70s. But I'd swap it in a heartbeat for something with a V8 or jacked-up like an Eagle.