Classic Car Archive Specs, Facts, & History
The AMC Hornet was a compact automobile manufactured by AMC from 1970 through 1977.
The Hornet replaced the compact Rambler American marking the end of the Rambler marque in the American and Canadian markets. Hornets were also marketed in foreign markets, as well as assembled under license agreements with AMC that included Vehículos Automotores Mexicanos, Australian Motor Industries, and by Toyota S.A. Ltd. in South Africa.
The Hornet name plate goes back to the mid-1950s. The name originated from the merger of Hudson Motor Company and Nash-Kelvinator Corporation in 1954. Hudson introduced the first Hudson Hornet in 1951. The automaker formed a stock car racing team centered on the car, and the “Fabulous Hudson Hornet” soon became famous for its wins and stock-car title sweeps between 1951 and 1954. American Motors, the resulting corporation formed by the merger of Nash Motors and Hudson, continued to produce Nash-based Hornets, which were sold under the Hudson marque from 1955 to 1957. The automaker retained rights to the name while it was dormant from 1958 to 1969. The rights to the “Hornet” nameplate then passed to Chrysler with that company’s acquisition of AMC in 1987.
Development of the new model took AMC three years, a million man-hours, and $40 million. The Hornet was an all-new design sharing no major body components, but utilizing some of the Rambler American’s chassis and drive train.
With its manufacturers suggested retail price of US$1,994 for the base model, the Hornet was an economical small family car. However, it took design cues from the popular Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro, and the company’s own Javelin with a long hood, short rear deck and sporty looks. The Hornet was initially available in a choice of two thrifty straight-six engines or a 304 cu in V8.
AMC used the Hornet as the basis for its AMC Gremlin, which consisted of the front half of the two-door Hornet’s body and a truncated rear section with a window hatchback.
|Engine||0 to 60 MPH||Quarter Mile||Source|
|199ci||11.7 sec||18.8 @72 mph||Reported|
|232ci||10.4 sec||18.0 @ 77mph||Reported|
|304ci||8.9 sec||16.6 @ 82mph||Reported|
|199 I-6||199ci||1x1bbl||128hp||182 lb-ft|
|232 I-6||232ci||1x1bbl||145hp||215 lb-ft|
|232 I-6||232ci||1x2bbl||155hp||222 lb-ft|
|304 V8||304ci||1x2bbl||210hp||300 lb-ft|
Ask Hornet expert Richard Ehrenberg