The AMC Gremlin defines automotive quirkiness. A backsliding American automaker’s flailing attempt at making a compact car, the Gremlin was too big to be a compact but too small to be a full-size. It had the clipped, hatchback proportions of an imported economy car, but its big, boat-anchor straight-six (or optional V8!) and rear-wheel drive meant it wasn’t really that much more efficient than a bigger domestic sedan. Even today, with the soft-focus glow of nostalgia and blue-collar irony, the Gremlin has a hard time inspiring vintage enthusiasm. But that’s not true for everybody. Apparently, big-time stand-up comedian and puppeteer Jeff Dunham has a strong fondness for AMC’s “American-built import.” And he brought two examples from his collection to Jay Leno’s Garage. And you know what? We can’t knock Dunham’s enthusiasm for these things. As Jay points out, the Gremlin was always a misfit, but it was an honest car, and there’s charm in that. And Dunham’s 304 cu.in. V8-powered Levi’s Edition seems like it would just be a hoot of a time.
As Jay Leno will now demonstrate.