In 1977 the front end of the Gremlin changed dramatically. No longer was the nose cut off in a sharp box like slice, now the hood beveled over the angled front grill, and it all came to an aesthetically pleasing point, like a marker. The bumper came with optional rubber bumper additions, and the entire front end was shortened by an impressive four inches. This change alone made the Gremlin more attractive, as one of its biggest appeal problems stemmed from the fact that the nose was so long and the back was so short. Now at least there was less nose to stick out.
Was it the best year-model?
The rear of the car was also redesigned. Both the tail lights, and the rear window were enlarged. An unfortunate but necessary change came when, the very popular Gremlin embossed gas cap was relocated behind the rear license plate and replaced with an ordinary cap. The original Gremlin gas cap was a favorite amongst thieves. Finding one today would be impressive to say the least. They were seldom replaced with original equipment when the cars were new.
Another unfortunate change included yet another downgrade in the engine size. They did not eliminate the six-cylinder engines but, they did introduce the Porsche made four-cylinder. The engine was designed by Porsche and made by AMC. It had an aluminum cross-flow head and an overhead cam shaft. They also made another change to their transmission choices. They now offered a four-speed manual transmission.
Once again, more changes were made to the X package stripe. They returned to the swooping design that went around the passenger window but now, they split the strip into two.
The Year of the Infamous Commercial
AMC was feeling the stress the pacer put on them, so in 76 they produced a commercial to respond. It showed the underling differences, but might not have been enough.