Today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe candidate is a BMW M-roadster clothed in an AMC Hornet coupé body because the world isn’t crazy enough as it is. Now that you’ve absorbed that fact, let’s find out what the buzz is all about.
I probably should have mentioned in the exposé of yesterday’s 2008 Dodge Sprinter ambulance that my first job out of high school was working as an EMT on just such a rig. That made the high-mileage Dodge of particular interest to me, but at a $14,500 asking price, few of you could muster much if any enthusiasm for the former emergency response vehicle. That resulted in a 68 percent Crack Pipe loss since even a camper conversion seemed ill-timed right now considering our present state of affairs.
As a matter of fact, with everybody locked in their homes these days practicing “social distancing” it’s not surprising to discover (usually on TikTok) that some folks are finding new ways to keep from getting unfathomably bored.
I can say with certainty that there’s nothing in any way, shape or form boring about this, ahem, 1975 American Motors Hornet. That’s because this uniquely American (hence the brand) body hides a surprising secret just beneath the skin, and is something obviously concocted by someone with more than a few hours in the day to fill.
To let the cat out of the bag, this Hornet is actually a BMW M Roadster beneath its petticoats, having adopted the AMC skin in the same manner envisioned by that Silence of the Lambs weirdo who kept lotion-applying girls in his basement.
See? People have time on their hands.
The car looks like your standard Hornet semi-fastback coupé from most angles although both the wheels and their offset start to give it away. Speaking of giving, something had to give in the draping of the AMC body over the little Bimmer’s frame. That’s because the M Roadster only stretched 96.3 inches between axle centers. The Hornet, on the other hand, managed a much longer 108-inch wheelbase.
However it was handled, the fat wheels and tires seem to reach where they are supposed to, even if they look a little lost under the Hornet’s bulbous wheel arches. The dark grey paint with red stripes looks serviceable here and extends to the bumpers, door handles, and mirrors. An air-dam in front and wing in the rear combo offers a bit of throw-back sporty style too.
Popping open a door reveals an unexpected interior, sort of like getting invited inside Dr. Who’s Tardis. There’s nothing extraordinary here if you’re familiar at all with the M Roadster’s dash, seats, and controls, but they all do look a bit out of place next to the Hornet’s door cards and seatbelt latches—sort of like that one emo kid in the family photo.
The engine compartment is surprisingly tidy for a mad mashup like this. There’s a general mise en place here although you might expect the Hornet’s engine compartment to afford more space for the BMW straight-six.
It does look a bit tight, and while we don’t get any clue from the ad as to what year M Roadster gave up its life for this Frank-and-beans monster, that does look to be the 240 horsepower S50 3.2-litre in residence there. Behind that lives a five-speed ZF manual which feeds a limited-slip pumpkin in back.
Oh, and did I mention that’s all clothed in AMC Hornet bodywork? Yeah, I know, that’s nuts. Remarkably, the ad claims the title to be clear. You might expect such drastic action to have only been taken once a car has been scrapped, but that seems not to be the case here. It’s also described as having everything working as it should, including the HVAC system, as well as to drive “like new.”
Now, I don’t know if that means new like in ’75 Hornet new or new like in late-‘90s BMW new. There’s a difference there as you can imagine. Either way, this is one wacky ride and obviously the realization of some very individualistic individual’s unique vision. What might that be worth on the broader stage?
Well, the seller is asking $14,500 or exactly the same amount as was asked for yesterday’s ambulance. That’s an interesting coincidence and makes me wonder if it’s the set price for oddball rides these days?
While you’re rolling that over in the old cabeza, also give so thought to that particular price when associated with this car/cars. Do you think this mad mashup could be worth that $14,500 asking? Or, is it just too weird to warrant so much?
H/T to Craig B. for the hookup!
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