The very first Gremlins to come off the line came with six cylinder engines. This made them the beefiest sub-compacts to be introduced. Their competitors went with four cylinder engines, which helped distinguish it from the crowd.
Was it the best year-model?
AMC also gave the consumer the choice of two seats or four. The version with two seats didn't have the fancy hatch window, where the version with four seats did. I personally don’t remember ever seeing a two-seater, and I owned a Gremlin. They also had a few choices in transmissions. The consumer could get a standard on the column three-speed, an on the floor standard three-speed, or a column three-speed automatic.
One thing is for certain -the Gremlin had it's work cut out for it upon release. It had the potential of being a monstrous hit or monstrous disaster, solely because of it's reach for mass-appeal. Nevertheless, it was seen as an underdog in a sea of predators.
With it's odd characteristics and creature it did manage to grab attention, and become one of the better selling AMC models, with 675,000 produced by end of year. It's tough not to be pulled in by it's name, power, tiny size, and creature-looks.
Like other AMC cars (see the Pacer) the Gremlin can be seen as either a daring leap forward by an innovative underdog or as a desperate attempt to do something - anything - that would stand out in a marketplace dominated by larger competitors.
One of The First Commercials to Air
This commercial hit tubes across America in November 1970, the year they started rolling onto lots. It shows the danger AMC already knew they'd take on competing against 3 much larger U.S. car manufacturers.
The premise of it being:
If you had to compete with the three biggest car companies in America what would you do?