Rare Rides: The Very Rare 1977 AMC Hornet AMX, Levi's Edition

Corey Lewis
by Corey Lewis
rare rides the very rare 1977 amc hornet amx levis edition

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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  • Msquare Msquare on Mar 28, 2021

    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!"

    • FAHRVERGNUGEN FAHRVERGNUGEN on Mar 30, 2021

      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.

  • Sigfried Sigfried on Mar 30, 2021

    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.

  • MichaelBug For me, two issues in particular:1. It can be difficult for me to maintain my lane on a rainy night. Here in southeastern PA, PennDOT's lane markings aren't very reflective. They can be almost impossible to make out when wet.2. Backing out of a parking space in a lot with heavy pedestrian traffic. Oftentimes people will walk right into my blind spot even if I am creeping back with my 4-way flashers blinking. (No backup camera in my '11 Toyota Camry.)Michael B 🙂
  • Tagbert When you publish series like this, could you include links to the previous articles in the series so that we can follow through? Thank you. Edit: now I see a link embedded in the first paragraph that goes to the previous story. It wasn’t clear at first where that link went but now I understand.
  • DungBeetle62 When you're in one of these, you life in a state of constant low-level nervous about 90% of the time. But that other 10% kinda makes up for it.
  • Garrett Instead of foisting this problem on the car companies and the people who buy cars, make those who possess liquor licenses and those who purchase alcohol take on the economic cost of this problem.
  • Inside Looking Out Thieves are gradually winning the war with law enforcement in America not only in California and that is the tragic fact. They would rather put in jail police officer than thief.
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