A recent post on BrainRants’ site regarding him preferring old Mustangs to the new ones, brought a comment about missing Commenter-Supreme, John Erickson. Rants’ all-too-true reply was that our lost Illinois-boy would probably expound on the relative merits of AMC Gremlins. For those who don’t remember, Gremlins were the car that didn’t have quite the sleek styling and performance capabilities of the Ford Pinto.
All of this takes us to Bob, another of my auto plant co-workers. Bob was a nice young man, but a bit of an odd duck. (Who am I to point a finger?) Handsome, mid-20s, single, earning a good wage – and living at home with a pair of Jehovah’s Witnesses parents.
Once asked what he was doing/getting for his Mother for Mothers’ Day, he replied, “We honor the Bible, not our Mothers.” And yet, doesn’t the Bible insist that we all, “Honor thy Father and Mother?”
Not content with the workout he got at work, Bob often frequented a gym. He had six-pack abs, instead of the keg I lug around. He met a well-toned female, who he eventually married – a total surprise, because she wasn’t a Jehovah’s Witness, and his parents did not approve.
Long before that happened though, Bob bought a Gremlin. In 1985, he bought a 1979 model, the last year they were produced – from a little old lady – yeah, right??! He purchased a car that someone else was anxious to get rid of, and paid $2000 for something that should have sold for half that – because he wanted that Gremlin. That was significant money in 1985.
He told several of us that he was “going to soup it up”?? It’s a Gremlin! That’s like putting soup in a sieve. Actually, what he did was ‘doll it up.’ He put a bigger, better carburetor on the anemic little sewing-machine, six-cylinder motor, all the rest was cosmetic.
Always a good idea, he had it repainted – in Electric Blue, and then had it pin-striped. He put on wide rear rims and tires, and fancy wheel discs. It didn’t need it but, before he painted it, he traded in a hood with an air scoop. He added a burst-eardrum kick-ass stereo system, and, long before they were common, a decent security system. All in all, he added another $5000 ($40,000 in today’s dollars) to one of the most sissy cars ever built.
His girlfriend became a fiancé, and finally a wife. Fun was fun, but she finally told him he’s have to get rid of his boy’s-toy, and get a married car, probably soon a family car, how about one of those new mini-vans that were becoming popular?
Sadly, he listed it for sale – and was outraged that the best of a few offers was only $1500. “Don’t they see all the improvements I’ve made to it?” They’re not improvements! They’re just highly personal customizations to a lunch-box on wheels that was a piece of crap the day it came from the factory. Take the money and run. I don’t know if owning a Gremlin made you stupid, or if only stupid people bought Gremlins.
Every car maker has had a cosmic failure or two. Ford survived the Edsel, and later the fire-bomb-on-wheels, the Pinto. GM had the Chevy Nova, which they couldn’t sell to Chicanos, because the name Nova, in Spanish, means, ‘It won’t go’.
Poor little AMC already had one foot in the grave, and the other on a banana peel. It wasn’t long after they stopped making this Cracker Jack toy, that they were gobbled up by a bigger fish.