Tuesday, September 16, 2014

5k: What Color Is This? 1972 AMC Hornet Sportabout Wagon

The AMC Hornet was a compact family car built as a replacement for the Rambler American brand/model starting in 1970.  Hornet production continued through 1977 when it was superseded by the AMC Concord and the groundbreaking AMC Eagle crossover utility vehicle.  However, before the Hornet disappeared into the history books, it was produced as a coupe, hatchback, sedan, and wagon -- and it was available with Levi or Gucci interior options in the awesome Sportabout wagon spec.  Find this 1972 AMC Hornet Sportabout Wagon offered for $3,000 in Brea, CA via craigslist.

If you are going to pick up an AMC Hornet, the coolest one to get is the Sportabout wagon.  From the front it looks like any 'Murican wagon from the 70s, but from the back it looks like an imported hatchback.   Now you can have your 4 doors and keep your hatch too!!  The Hornet had a number of available inline six and V8 powerplants, but this one is powered by a 258 cubic inch straight-6 good for 110 horsepower and 195 ft-lbs of torque.

The steel wheels and dog dish hubcaps, coupled with the lack of side trim lend a working-class air to this Sportabout. Perhaps the perfect donor vehicle for a sleeper project - twin turbo 4.0L Jeep inline six?

See a better bronze-ish/brown-ish classic for less? tips@dailyturismo.com


  1. Replies
    1. Nice pull, KBZ. I was thinking more splenic or maybe Kayser-Fleisher.

      Now I'm hungry.

  2. Oh God, that's magnificent.

    The Sportabouts are rare as pubic hair on a cheerleader, and the pre-bumper examples even scarcer. There was a time a few years back I was actively looking for one, and nothing turned up anywhere for three years. If I weren't already pushing one project car out of the way to work on another I might jump on this. It's close enough, and I'd bet you'll never find a better one. Best of all, it'd be driveable until you decided what you wanted to do with it.

    They're nothing special mechanically, they're not built very well, the interiors are great examples of Detroit (well, Kenosha) Compact Crap. But then all that applies to the Mopar and Ford competition. The Sportabout was a little less roomy than the competition, but still useful.

    401? Twin-turbo 4-liter Jeep? Late-model 6-liter Mopar Hemi? The alternatives abound. What wheels are the vintage Trans-Am Javelins running?

    1. mrkwong,
      Most of the trans-am cars were running 8-spoke Minilites back in the day, but a real set will probably set you back 2x the price of this car. The closest I've seen to getting the look right is the Vintage 48s from VintageWheelWorks or LT-III from Team 3 wheels. The V48s are cheaper but the LT-IIIs get the curve right.

      DT E-i-C.

    2. Yeah, Vintage 48s or one of the American Racing daisy wheels e.g. 200S would be just about perfect.

  3. that colour is very clearly 1972 "baby shit brown", very popular in its day, and a very telling indicator of the quality of any vehicle painted in that particular shade.....

  4. I can't remember the last time I saw one running. Dad bought a Sportabout wagon new in '76, same 258 engine, I think the factory brown had grown a bit darker between '72 and '76. I was four and thought it was great because the back seat was a helluva lot roomier than the Beetle that preceded it. It exited stage left when it kept on overheating on highway drives pulling a 1,500lb pop-up camper. I'm more nolstagic than most, but I think this is the only car from personal history that I wouldn't try to buy back.

    1. So, we shouldn't expect you to change your user name to AMCMatt?! :)

    2. No, the ANC refers to the airport code for Anchorage. But your comment has made me realize that I have seen an unexpected number of AMC Eagles since I arrived here a couple of years ago. Once they're up here, no one is paying to send them back down anywhere else, I guess!

  5. Buy! BUY! Buy! Don't be a conformist, go with with little guy. Forget GM, Ford and Chrysler! Rare, yes, valuable, well... not really, BUT that makes it even better!! Slap that KMart surf board on the roof and be the envy of the unknowing masses. The 70's are back, baby!


Commenting Commandments:
I. Thou Shalt Not write anything your mother would not appreciate reading.
II. Thou Shalt Not post as anonymous unless you are posting from mobile and have technical issues. Use name/url when posting and pick something Urazmus B Jokin, Ben Dover. Sir Edmund Hillary Clint Eastwood...it don't matter. Just pick a nom de plume and stick with it.
III. Honor thy own links by using <a href ="http://www.linkgoeshere"> description of your link </a>
IV. Remember the formatting tricks <i>italics</i> and <b> bold </b>
V. Thou Shalt Not commit spam.