Flashback to Hell! An AMC Gremlin!

[I fell off the “no politics” bandwagon and was thinking of another Trump/Hillary sign count on another roadtrip. Then this event happened and I was so addled I totally forgot about everything as I drove. I really really really hate that damn car!]

I was minding my own business when I was assaulted!

It was driven by a hipster. Seeing it made my eyes hurt.

I’m disgusted by the fact that this Goddamn thing actually still exists. I’m revolted that it ever existed. No world should tolerate so much ugliness in one place. It’s a hideous failure of imagination and engineering. The only saving grace of these abominations is that they usually wound up rusting to death soon after their accursed manufacture. Their time on this earth was short… yet too long. They are too foul to be stored in junkyards. Every last rusting heap of this model should be immolated and crushed. The cores should be melted into blocks, sealed in lead, and dumped in the Marianas Trench. Even then I fear the Marinas Trench isn’t deep enough to contain their fearsome nullity.

It was so awful… so vehicularly grotesque… that I had to take a picture. Why? I have no idea. Perhaps I was in the throes of a terrible flashback. That I used pixels and CPU cycles on this abomination before God and man confuses even me!

This… this thing… this rolling mistake… this metallic disaster… this abhorrent monstrosity is why I shall never forgive the 1970’s. The 55 MPH National Speed limit, the Iranian hostage crisis, Jimmy Carter’s fucking’ cardigan… and the God Damned AMC Gremlin.

There are things worse than the AMC Gremlin; but not many.

I’m going to go lie down. Pray for me.


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About Adaptive Curmudgeon

I will neither confirm nor deny that I actually exist.
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38 Responses to Flashback to Hell! An AMC Gremlin!

  1. Thomas The Tinker says:

    Actually… You couldn’t want a more “Gray” vehicle than that hulk. As to your prayer for rust and oblivion … The hood and side panels look to bloom into pure red oxide yet this winter. Calm yourself AC… go lean against a tree and listen to the wind .. count your breaths… close your eyes and let your soul hear the ‘tink.. pop.. plot’ of a rusting hulk returning to nature from where it was untimely ripped and forged.

    • Good advice.

      Deep breath. Ooooohhhhhhmmmmmm. Be one with the universe and just let it…..

      NOOOOO! It’s a total piece of shit. It’s a Trabant from Detroit shoved up the ass of America! I hate it, hate it, hate it.

      Sorry about that.

      At least I don’t see them on the road very often.

  2. NEO says:

    Egads! Concur, completely!

    • It’s perfect. He hates the Robin just as much as I hate the Gremlin. (Though Clarkson wins in that the Gremlin was shit but it wasn’t a total deathtrap.)

      Obviously safety outweighs… wait! I had a total steering failure in my Dodge. It could have killed everyone in the vicinity and it nearly shook my balls off. Yet I still hate the Gremlin more. Hmmm… I’ll have to ponder that over bourbon sometime.

      In the meantime I’ll stick with the analogy: Clarkson is to Robin as Curmudgeon is to Gremlin.

  3. Judy says:

    Giggle! Poke, Poke! Hubby had a baby blue ’76 that the front seats were propped up with spare tires in the back-seat floor-boards. We use to dress in our trashiest Wally-world and cruise the rich yuppie neighborhoods on Saturday afternoons, with a box of Popeyes, for the laughs. The looks were priceless. It was a fun little car. LOL

  4. Mark Matis says:

    I would only note that Gremlin appears to be in MUCH better condition than most cars from that era are nowadays…

    • You mean that the only Gremlin I’ve seen in decades is in better shape than the other Gremlins that mercifully died? Or that virtually everything with wheels made during the early ’70s in America was shit?

      Because both are true.

      • Mark Matis says:

        Virtually everything else with wheels made in America during that timeframe has already died. This budgetmobile is still alive. I would posit that says this car is better than the overwhelming majority of other American-made vehicles from this era. Even though it cost a shitload less than MANY of them.

      • Sure. You’re right. I’ll grant that this particular Gremlin is better than the 99% of Gremlins that already died. It was definitely cheaper than much of the wheeled crap Detroit pushed out in that time. Also anything that runs that long is a hero.

        Even so, to me, a Gremlin in 2016 is like this; “Today I was hit in the balls. This was less awful than the last time I was hit in the balls. In fact this particular day’s ball smiting was the least bad instance of getting hit in the balls of all the ball hitting instances I can recall.”

        While I’m rambling:

        There’s an episode of Jay Leno’s garage with Gremlins; a matched set in “restored condition”. Jay, who spends every minute of those shows saying mostly good things about the vehicle in question had a really hard time finding positives… then one broke down on camera while they were driving it around on.”

        (Incidentally I salute Jay Leno’s Garage for being mostly positive. It’s good to see Hollywood produce something that’s basically kind hearted and happy.)

  5. anon says:

    The Robin reliant was awful. But far worse was the positively evil Bond Bug Even more was the fact that the bodies were fiberglass and you couldn’t even rely on good old rust to kill them.
    Probably there one claim to fame was the chassis was used to make lukes land speeder in the first star wars film. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bond_Bug

    • Dear God… what happened in England? Did they round up all the engineers and shoot them?

      • Phil B says:

        No – the engineers were working within the Byzantine and illogical Use and Construction Regulations and the frankly bizarre taxation classes of the British system.

        Allow me to elucidate …

        If a vehicle was under 8 cwt (8 x 112 pounds) AND it had three wheels it was classified as a Motorcycle with Sidecar and could be driven on a motorcycle license OR a car license. if you drove it on a motorcycle license, you could NOT use reverse gear (yeah, right) but could with a car license. Makes sense? No? A lot of motorcyclists rode their bikes during the summer, drove the “plastic pig” during the winter.

        Furthermore, the way the Civil servants originally classified power of an engine was by the piston diameter x number of cylinders which, when the internal combustion engine was first developed approximated to the actual BHP. Of course this bore no relation to the actual BHP produced once engines became better developed. This resulted in British car engines being (very) long stroke, slow revving and imported cars with more conventional Bore/Stroke ratios being classed as “high powered”. Road tax was based on assumed horsepower from the bore x No. Cylinders. So the engineers minimised the tax by using long stroke engines.

        The Reliant Van option (panel truck for Americans?) was popular because vans were not subject to purchase tax as they were commercial vehicles, not passenger vehicles, though they had rear seats. Try to pay attention and stay awake at the back of the class, please.

        Both these regulations conspired in a incestuous, illegitimate bastard hell broth to produce a Frankensteins monster – the three wheel car. (Actually Morgan started off with a 3 wheeler and motorcycle engine but had two wheels at the front and were fast and handled well, fast as phuck and sexy … Ahem!

        http://www.morgan-motor.co.uk/3-wheeler/

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morgan_3-Wheeler

        Actually, the Reliant series of cars were not that bad. True you had to drive them carefully but were reliable, strong and easy and cheap to keep maintained and running. The Reliant aluminium engine is a strong and gutsy unit and is used in junior racing cars (see here for details of this series:

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Formula_Junior ).

        Quite a few of the top Formula 1 drivers cut their teeth in this class.

        So there you have it. The engineers aren’t to blame and indeed their ingenuity in working within a frankly crazy system should be applauded, not condemned.

      • First of all I want a Morgan! That thing is sex on wheels. I like reverse trikes and the Morgan is the prettiest of the bunch.

        Second, I see how UK taxed itself into plastic trikes because the US does similar things. I’m not driving the tiny efficient diesel Mahindra Truck I wanted because they couldn’t get it into the US. Then “cash for clunkers” ate my used car market. Of course, fuel efficiency & Safety mandates turned a lot of US cars into minivans and plastic eggs with the driving excitement of a potato. Plus for some reason they’ve been on a multi decade vendetta against diesel in civilian hands.

        So this weekend I was hauling 200 pounds of garbage and a short little kayak with a one ton dually designed for 50X that payload. If they keep it up I’ll be mowing my lawn with a bulldozer and commuting with a Kenworth.

      • Phil B says:

        You will mow your lawn with a bulldozer and commute in a Kenworth? Swoon! MY HERO! >};o)

      • A man needs goals in his life. I was mowing with a tractor until I set it on fire. (The tractor.)

  6. p2 says:

    there i was…1980, meeting the gal who later became my wife and she pulls up in a godawful hooker fingernail red gremlin….she loved that car. i married her anyway…it didnt last. as for the robin…they made a van version of the blasted thing. immortalized in the bbc’s iconic “only fools and horses”….i had a squadron mate who drove one the whole 4 years he was in england… and survived!

    • Those goddamn squirrels! I should have warned everyone that they were going to do this. (I had more of the story to write but decided to get depressed about political signs instead.)

      Now it’s too late. The mind control system has been reactivated!

      You can’t stop the signal.

      • Do we need to tip you again?

      • I was mentally considering another “tip and I’ll write” event. I’m not sure where the squirrels are going but I have a vague plan. You interested? If so that’s BIG motivation! (I might not do the login thing… I fear that pissed people off. Maybe e-mail instead.)

        For then next few weeks I can’t write more fiction/satire/bullshit. First America must elect either Cheeto Jesus or the Felon. I can’t make shit up as weird as the election and I’m not gonna’ even try. Seriously… the name Anthony Weiner on a serial perv is comedy gold and that’s how I know God has an awesome sense of humor.

        I’m going into the woods shortly and maybe wont return until after America self inflicts one of the two freaks on itself. In the next few weeks I will encourage everyone to vote (or not) and then set their TV on fire. After the dust settles it might be time to type up “the rest of the story”?

      • Tennessee Budd says:

        ABBA never really made much headway down here, except in enclaves in cities, & screw them anyhow. Most of us were protected by the Redneck Dome system (Southern rock, weed, alcohol, & just generally being here). I think our defenses are still adequate.

  7. Ahh, leave some room in your ranting for the Pacer, another AMC abortion on wheels, but I fully agree with you on the Gremlin, it is below the Chrysler TC4 or was that T4C, another piece of crap that broke down every 10th mile run

    • I had various “adventures” in a rustbucket Pacer. Damn thing left us abandoned in the woods. I don’t mind the forest so the memory isn’t as bad. Unfair to the Gremlin but I don’t flake out over the Pacer’s contemptible looks, styling, engineering, and quality.

  8. Kurt says:

    Ohmygod. You had to bring up that bastard son of Detroit and East Germany. And with pics that mirror the one I had even. Early eighties. Eight months of unadulterated torture. By that time I was having to keep the driver-side door closed with a bungee cord. Thanks for reawakening the nightmares.

  9. Max says:

    Look, I’m driving an ’88 New Yorker with 220K miles on the clock so it’s not like I’ve ever commuted in a Ferrari or Lexus and have a counter-example to work with here, but the Gremlin is, I believe, unfairly maligned. First, it wasn’t a Pacer. Second, while it was ugly so was pretty much every other car from Detroit as they struggled to figure out why 1969 was no longer and tried to make horsepower while confining the motors to an iron lung of expensive gas and emissions controls. The Gremlin is to cars what the Jimmy Carter presidency was to America — we knew we were smart, we knew we were sensitive, we just knew we were The Right Thing For The Time, and yet we were utter failures anyway. Name an American car from 1974 that was good. I dare you. And it sure as hell didn’t get better in 1980 or 1985 or even 1990 — the best we had to brag about was an IROC Camaro with 190hp on tap from a fuel-injected 305v8. Hot Rod magazine practically ran an entire year masturbating over the 1984 Buick Grand National with a 3.8L v6 turbocharged to nearly 200hp. I had a John Deere tractor with more horsepower running on diesel than that abomination and an 8-speed automatic transmission to boot!

    The only thing the Gremlin, Pinto, Cordoba, and others had going for them is they were made in Detroit, and if you were of a buy-American mindset they offered some reliability and a bit of patriotism you could show everybody as you drove around. Which, really, is exactly the same as driving a Prius today — yes it’s a POS car, but dammit I’m saving jobs/planet/gas/something-that-might-get-me-laid-I-hope.

    That all said, AMC and their Javelin’s were eye-catching and I still see one now and again. There are few ponycars sexier than the Javelin SST. It was the slowest and poorest-handling of the ponycars, but I double-dog dare you to not look at those fenders and think of what could have been. It was Mae West in steel, nicely flared curves up front and a slight narrowing amidships leading to rounded curves towards the back. 2600lbs of twisted steel and sex appeal. Anybody who tells you it wasn’t meant to remind you of a girl probably wears flannel PJ’s and talks about Obamacare at breakfast.

    OK, I can’t really defend the Gremlin. I can’t defend Detroit in the 70’s. Or 80’s. But I did put 200K miles on a 1974 Gremlin and it never once failed me or left me on the side of the road. I’ll take that over the reliability of the Grand National, the Camaro, or Obamacare.
    – Max

    • Your defense of the Gremlin has the greatest logic ever: “First, it wasn’t a Pacer.”

      Ha ha ha ha ha ha! You are so right! The Gremlin is a work of art compared to a Pacer. I had a relative who had several Pacers, each more trashed than the last. He joked that he was trying to make it to the year 2000 in a Pacer. Alas, he would have needed Jay Leno’s budget and a team of mechanics to pull that off.

      You’re also right that virtually everything Detroit made in that era was shit on a stick.

  10. Eric Wilner says:

    What a coinky-dink! I was just thinking “Gremlin” this past week…
    …because I found it necessary to buy some sort of a cheap but serviceable used runabout…
    …which ended up being a 2008 Smart Fortwo, which kinda looks like someone washed a Gremlin in hot water and it shrank. But it was cheap, and it seems like it’ll run for a while yet.

    • I was interested in a SmartCar when they were initially hitting the market. I was not thinking “little car” so much as “motorcycle I can drive in the snow”. Canada had a version that ran on diesel, got a zillion miles to the gallon, and had a stick shift. By the time it cleared US Regulations it was gasoline, got much less impressive MPG, and was an auto. Plus when you see it in person it doesn’t have a “motorcycle feel”. Nice try but it didn’t appeal to me.

      At first they were eco-green smug appeal gold… like a Prius squared. Now you’re saying their just a cheap serviceable car? That’s interesting. Probably better to be “serviceable” than a “toy”. But now that I think of it, I haven’t seen one for a while.

      I still think they’re kinda neat. I like funky cars. I know they make great “toads” (car towed behind a motorhome). I drive a battlecruiser but like little cars too.

  11. Fred Paget says:

    One word – ” Vega” !

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