Behold, the American Motors Gremlin.
Its sales brochure called it “the first American-built import”.
It was marketed as “cute and different”.
Both Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush once owned and drove Gremlins.
In 2007, Time magazine included it in its list of “The 50 Worst Cars of All Time”.
In 2020, Automobile magazine gave it a good review, but still called it “one of history’s dorkiest cars”.
The ad copy:
The New American Car.
This is the American Motors Gremlin.
It is the kind of car this country has needed for a long, long time.
It is designed to give the American motorist a car that is easy to buy, easy to handle, easy to take care of, and, at the same time, fun to drive.
The Gremlin is the smallest production car made in America.
It is 161 inches long, just 2 1/2 inches longer than the Volkswagen.
Yet its turning circle, at 32 feet, 8 inches, is about 3 feet less than VW’s.
Which makes the Gremlin about the easiest car in the world to park and handle.
The Gremlin gets the best gas mileage of any car made in America. It goes about 500 miles without stopping for car.
This is great gas mileage, when you consider the Gremlin has a bigger standard engine than any car near its size and price. 129 hp to VW’s 57.
This engine gets from 0 to 60 in 15.3 seconds, the pickup you need on expressways.
And nobody’s going to push you around in a Gremlin. It is 10 inches wider, 7 inches lower and 765 pounds heavier than a VW.
Which gives you about the smoothest, most stable ride possible in a car this size.
The Gremlin is remarkably easy to service and maintain.
Its normal oil change interval is 6 months or 6,000 miles; lubrication is normally needed only every 24,000 miles.
There are two basic Gremlin models.
A two-passenger, with storage area in the rear.
A four-passenger with fold-down rear seats for extra storage and flip-up rear window for easy access.
Both models cost about what you’d pay for an imported economy car.
The four-passenger lists for $1,959.
The lowest list price of any car made in America.
Except for the two-passenger Gremlin.
It lists for $1,879.
Which is quite a bargain, when you consider what you get for your money.
The new American car.
American Motors Gremlin
Manufacturers Suggested Retail Prices, state and local taxes, if any, destination charges, custom exterior trim, rally stripes, roof rack, while walls, and other optional equipment extra.