P71 SuperDork
Nov. 29, 2009 5:39 p.m.

Well I finally started work on the Hornet. In the last few weeks I transferred the title, registered it, got Collector plates on it, insured it, and put gas in it. Over Thanksgiving Break I finally started some real work getting it all cleaned up, doing a little bodywork, and bought a new pair of wiper blades for it (stainless steel is cool!). I threw some pics and descriptions up on Reader's Rides:


I intend to keep updating this thread as work progresses. I intend on driving it stock all winter while finishing up the interior, trunk, and bodywork. I will also start building the AMC 401 V8 with the intention of installing it summer of 2010 with a T5 Manual and Ford 8.8" rear end. I'm aiming for low 11's when finished and still get 20mpg driving down to the track. Oh yeah, it'll run on E85.

Let me know what y'all think. I'm open to suggestions and what not. And no, I'm not taking out the green interior and yes, it will be green on the outside when I'm done. Going with Ford Legend Lime Metallic with SC/360 stripes done as SC/401.

stroker Reader
Nov. 29, 2009 5:47 p.m.

I've been thinking a Hornet would be a great sleeper project for quite some time.

stuart in mn SuperDork
Nov. 29, 2009 5:57 p.m.

I always liked the look of the Hornet, but I think It should remain a 1970s green. You've probably seen that Car Craft magazine has an ongoing AMC project (theirs is an American, but the engine tech will be applicable.)

P71 SuperDork
Nov. 29, 2009 6:32 p.m.

Yeah, I've followed Doug Glad's Rambler since it first started. It's been a good 4-5 years now, he's got it really performing well. My grandfather (an AMC racer since '68 and one of the S/S AMX owners) and father (an AMC race for 35 years) are helping with the engine build and whatnot. As an aside, Legend Lime is also a Ford color from the 60's/70's so it's still totally applicable. I haven't 100% made up my mind yet, but I've always loved that color and ones like it.

The 401 is tentatively going together like this: 11.5:1 compression, ported dog-leg heads, roller rockers, Air Gap intake, full-length coated headers, Mallory dizzy/ignition, and an E85 carb (probably a Demon). Later on when I get some real money to drop on a car project I'll upgrade to Edelbrock aluminum heads for weight savings and the modern chamber design. We'll see what the fam says.

Feedyurhed HalfDork
Nov. 29, 2009 7:41 p.m.

It's kinda ugly but yet I can't turn away. It has potential. Will be much more interesting with the 401 in it.

Vigo New Reader
Nov. 29, 2009 8:06 p.m.

Props for keeping the colors. 70s colors are the only thing that attract me to 70s cars. Its the reason i bought my 1980 Plymouth Arrow truck (its a holdover i guess).

Looking good!

AngryCorvair SuperDork
Nov. 29, 2009 8:16 p.m.

my short list for sleeper success with this car:

  • keep the OE paint, just touch it up as necessary
  • keep the steelies with poverty caps
  • widen the rear wheels to hold a 275/60 drag radial
  • if you need bead screws, only put them on the inboard beads

awesome car

cwh SuperDork
Nov. 29, 2009 8:19 p.m.

What does it weigh? How much will the 401 add to that? If I remember right, all AMC V-8 engines weighed the same- correct?

P71 SuperDork
Nov. 29, 2009 8:29 p.m.

It weighs 2600 Lbs according to the door sticker. I haven't quite gotten it to the scales yet to the real weight. I'll do that next time I fill it up. The 401 should add about 200Lbs over the iron I-6. If I go aluminum heads it might actually be a wash. All AMC V8's (290, 304, 343, 360, 390, 401) were the same engine with different bores/strokes (like a Pontiac) so yes, they all weigh the same and fit in the same area. That's why there were 401 Gremlins in 70

I'd love to keep the paint, but it's already had the sides resprayed (from the pinstripe down) so it's 2 different colors. It's also really flat and thin. It has to be resprayed, especially since I'm fiberglassing so much of it for weight. I am thinking of skipping the SC/401 stripe. Maybe I should make it say SC/304

As for the wheels, the P71 uses the same bolt pattern. I'm going to see if the 16x7 steelies fit with the caps/rings. Not as cool as the AMC poverty caps but maybe I could get those to fit as well. Eventually when it's painted and pretty the 17" Cragar S/S's would be cool, but yeah, it's so staying steelies for now.

MA2LA New Reader
Nov. 29, 2009 9:02 p.m.

its nice to see another AMC fan out there. there are a few tricks i have learned over the years. One thing to help axle wrap and such is to find a hornet or gremlin with the factory traction bar setup. also something i havent tried yet is in the front where the lower spring mounts to the uper a arm. a old time racer said to relocat the spring mount out a 1/2 in.. i dont remember the exact details anymore of why it worked better but they swear it did. I know for the 360s with dog leg heads you can get away with a much more radical cam than most can run on a street driven motor.

curtis73 HalfDork
Nov. 29, 2009 10:33 p.m.

I bought a 73 Hornet Sportabout Wagon in 2000 with exactly 7400 miles on the clock. It was school bus yellow with brown plaid vinyl and orange carpet. It was a friggin time capsule.

Kudos to you... have fun with it.

Salanis SuperDork
Nov. 29, 2009 11:09 p.m.


Dang I wish that company had stuck around. My dad had an AMX when he was my age and had a blast with it.

P71 SuperDork
Nov. 29, 2009 11:55 p.m.

Curtis, that Hornet is sweet! The Sportabout was the first ever compact wagon and I think it has classic lines. They look great with nice wheels and speed decals in the windows.

suprf1y Reader
Nov. 30, 2009 8:00 a.m.
P71 wrote: Curtis, that Hornet is sweet! The Sportabout was the first ever compact wagon .

I don't know about that.

AngryCorvair SuperDork
Nov. 30, 2009 3:21 p.m.
suprf1y wrote:
P71 wrote: Curtis, that Hornet is sweet! The Sportabout was the first ever compact wagon .

I don't know about that.

my '61 corvair wagon and i would like to disagree....

minimac Dork
Nov. 30, 2009 3:26 p.m.
AngryCorvair wrote:
P71 wrote: The Sportabout was the first ever compact wagon .

my '61 corvair wagon and i would like to disagree....

My Falcon wagon would agree....disagree....you know what I mean. I'm sure there were many others.

Woody SuperDork
Nov. 30, 2009 3:30 p.m.

This deserves a cross-posting:


ckosacranoid HalfDork
Nov. 30, 2009 5:59 p.m.

instead of a 401...how about fuel injection, megasquirt, and tubo the 6 thats in it......not many turbo hornets out there......buy the way very nice score and would you be wanting info for a lead on parts and info for an amc car club called NAMDRA?

P71 SuperDork
Nov. 30, 2009 11:40 p.m.

Ah! You guys are right. It was the hatchback that was the first for a US compact. Beat the Mustang II and Nova hatch by a year. Sportabout is still cool as all get out

As for the Turbo-6 idea, I've thought about it. A fuel injected Jeep 4.0HO merged with an AMC 258 will make a 285 I-6 stroker and add on a Holset and MS and ooooh baby! My grandad actually bought the 1981 AMX Turbo Pace Car from Dick Teague, I rode in it in the early 90's around Daytona at speed and remember that turbo six WELL!

Except I have a 232 and a 401. And the 401 is really easy to put in. And I wouldn't need a turbo, MS, a laptop, etc, etc. So 401 it is. Maybe I'll keep the 232 around to turbo and make a tube chassis for a rear-engine early F1-type track beast. AMC did have Barney Navarro enter a turbo 6 car at Indy...

Oh, and already in NAMDRA. Grandad was a founding member, dad won the AMC Nat's in 87, gramps in '92. I need to win one now

Travis_K Dork
Dec. 1, 2009 1:45 a.m.

My parents had a V8 4 speed Hornet that was purchased new. It was sold shortly after do to the terrible handling from the extra weight of the V8 (not to mention poor build quality, but thats easier to address). Id think one of those would be more fun with a 4.0 L6 as well, but i guess if you have the engine why not. If its too scary, you can always put it in something else, and put a 6 in the hornet.

Dec. 1, 2009 8:00 p.m.

I've always wanted to do a 401 Hornet Wagon.

My brother had a 72 Gremlin X - 304 3 speed. It was a blast

ckosacranoid HalfDork
Dec. 3, 2009 6:25 p.m.

so will you be mentioned in an upcoming issue of your new toy? i was at nat in 08 and it was fun minues all the rain...have the pic to prove it since i was the guy doing all of them....I have spoke to jock sevral times and he is cool running namdra though.

Keith SuperDork
Dec. 3, 2009 6:49 p.m.
Vigo wrote: Props for keeping the colors. 70s colors are the only thing that attract me to 70s cars.

Or, 70's cars are a good excuse for 70s colors!

Is anyone else giggling every time they see the acronym NAMDRA? Sorry, it's been a long week. I'll get my coat.

stuart in mn SuperDork
Dec. 3, 2009 6:53 p.m.
Keith wrote: Is anyone else giggling every time they see the acronym NAMDRA? Sorry, it's been a long week. I'll get my coat.

It did make me think of the National Association of Marlon Brando Look Alikes.

jpaturzo New Reader
Dec. 3, 2009 7:06 p.m.
Keith wrote: Or, 70's cars are a good excuse for 70s colors!

Needs more beige! Or that lovely Porsche brown.

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