By on March 26, 2021

Today’s Rare Ride is one of just 100 Hornet hatchbacks turned into the AMX for 1977 to feature a Levi’s interior.

I hope you’re prepared for lots of trim.

The Hornet was an important car for AMC, a company known for its compact vehicles. It was a replacement in 1970 for the very long-lived Rambler American that had been on sale since 1958. To signify its newness, the Hornet name replaced Rambler American entirely in the US and Canada. Hornet was a throwback to the Hudson Hornet, made by one of two companies (alongside Nash) that merged to form American Motors. In other markets, the Rambler American name persisted on the new car. With quite an international presence, the Hornet was manufactured under its various guises in the US, Canada, Mexico, South Africa, Costa Rica, and Australia.

The Hornet was doubly important because its new “junior cars” platform served as the basis for many AMC vehicles all the way through 1988. After the Hornet’s run was over, it was replaced by the Concord – a dressed-up Hornet. Long-time AMC head designer Dick Teague penned the Hornet’s inoffensive shape.

With something for everyone, Hornet was available with two doors as a sedan, a more racy three-door hatchback, and with four doors as a sedan and wagon. Engines for the North American market were inline-six or V8 configuration and ranged in displacement from 3.3 to 5.9 liters. Other markets used only inline-six engines that were of different origin to North American models. Transmissions were all three-speed if automatic, and three- or four-speed if manual.

With its wide variety of trims and body styles, the Hornet at its base was always an economical family car. Sales were assisted by sporty styling cues that made it a bit more exciting than the typical family car offering. AMC upped the style ante in 1973 with the debut of the Levi’s package, which extended to the Gremlin (also Hornet-based) as well. The Hornet wagon even went ultra-lux with a Gucci trim to make the neighbors jealous.

In 1977, AMC introduced the single-year AMX variant of the Hornet hatchback, intended to appeal to the performance-minded buyer and recall the excitement of the extinct AMX muscle car. Available with I6 or V8, a manual transmission was even optional with six cylinders. Big bumpers and exterior trim were all color-matched, and there were extensions at the lower edge of the fenders, front and rear. Style extended to unique road wheels, additional black trim inside and out, and a faux targa bar of aluminum across the roof. In some examples, sunlight at the rear of the car was filtered through louvers.

As mentioned, just 100 of the unique AMX variants were fitted with the stylish Levi’s interior. It was the end of the line for Hornet at that point, as the car was dressed up and broughamed for 1978 into the compact luxury Concorde. Today’s white over denim AMX is presently for sale in Denver. In sort of okay condition, it has 75,000 miles and asks $3,650.

[Images: AMC]

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22 Comments on “Rare Rides: The Very Rare 1977 AMC Hornet AMX, Levi’s Edition...”

  • avatar
    Mike Beranek

    I can’t believe you used “broughamed” as a verb.

  • avatar

    No title, no thanks.

  • avatar

    This is from a time when it was so easy to get yourself some trim.

  • avatar

    I wouldn’t give you $500 for that old Rambler. The only interesting AMCs of this era are the 4X4 Eagles and of course anything Jeep. I live just west of Kenosha and still see a lot of these roaming around on their last legs.

    Whoever coined the phrase, “runs poorly for a long time” for GM never met one of these old Hornets

  • avatar
    kjhkjlhkjhkljh kljhjkhjklhkjh

    ohhh no .. No Denver car that has VISIBLE rust. If you can see the rust .. the rust you cannot see will be Steven King bad ..

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    When the Spirit was introduced in 1979 an AMX trim package was offered along with the 6 cylinder and 304 V8.

  • avatar

    Good morning world, I’m ready for you…wearing my Levis! LeeeVis…

    Look at the size of the BW a/c compressor.

  • avatar

    I read an article that had there not been the Hornet, or it failed there would be no Jeep today. AMC owned Jeep at this time, and it was a small low volume brand. AMC got money form the Hornet profits to come out with the first generation Cherokee, which made Jeep a real brand that had value.

  • avatar
    Grumpy Old Gay Man

    “Throughout the 1970s and early 1980s, custom vans were all the rage in the United States. Economic uncertainty had convinced many to transform their vehicles into a distinctive mobile living space and there was a sense of needing to hit the road and see what’s out there in the midst of a cultural malaise that set in after America finally came off its post-war high. We seem to be laying the groundwork for a repeat event, with many young adults becoming suddenly interested in the idea of being able to put everything they need into a van so they can relocate at a moment’s notice or temporarily live off the grid when urban life becomes too much.”

    Uh, young man, were you alive in in the 1970s? Van conversions weren’t a reaction to malaise – they were put together by middle- and upper-class guys trying to get women. Google “Chevy Van” by Sammy Johns. :). I know. I was there (born in 1953).

    The Sixties van craze personified by the tatty VW microbus was either a) surfer dues, or b) hippies looking for weed and other drugs. Neither had anything to do with cultural malaise either, except maybe a reaction to the war in Viet Nam.

    And todays youngsters looking to get off the grid aren’t gonna be very successful with an electric vehicle – unless they use Dad’s MasterCard at a supercharging station.

    (Note: This post is intended as a light-hearted jest).

    • 0 avatar
      Arthur Dailey

      Yep. Signing into a hotel/motel in those days was a little more ‘restrictive’ than it has become.

      And since any STD back in the 70’s could be ‘cured’ with a dose of antibiotics, casual sex was still a thing.

      With so many ‘late boomers’ coming of age and living at home, the ‘van conversion’ provided a practical alternative.
      ‘Hoochie Mama’ as Frank Costanza would say.

      It was also useful for driving somewhere for Spring Break, camping and road trips.

  • avatar

    Nobody mentioned the “Float like a butterfly, sting like a Hornet.” line in the magazine ad?

    Lifted from Muhammad Ali, who should have licensed that line.

    For the record, it’s “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee. His hands can’t hit what his eyes can’t see!”

    • 0 avatar

      I like that the ad copy, when switching to “bee” in the second line, rhymes the last line with “…AMC”. As if the then-reader will make the same jump. ABCB scheme.

  • avatar

    I had an 81 Concord I bought in 91 for $1100. Drove it for several years. It was reliable, cheap transportation gussied up with a bit of bling. It was definitely nicer than the 72 Gremlin I had bought for $175 back in 83. A bit cramped for my 6’2″ frame, but back then I was used to folding myself into an origami shape to fit into most cars.

    Note that the AMC Concord didn’t have an e at the end. Concorde with an e was Chrysler’s clone of the Dodge Intrepid a decade or so later.

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