American Motors Corporation (AMC) produced some of the most popular subcompact cars in the U.S. market. From the Gremlin to the Spirit, there are a fair few great subcompact rides among AMC's lineup of cars. The AMC Spirit is the older sibling to the Gremlin. The Spirit succeeded the Gremlin after it hit the market in 1979. Its short 4-year run on the market certainly saw the subcompact car become quite popular.

Though it was produced a long while ago, good examples of the AMC Spirit are available on the market today, and they can also be found in quite impressive conditions. Whether you're a fan of classic AMC cars or simply wants to know more about the AMC Spirit, we've made a lot of information available for your reading pleasure through this article.

Therefore, let's take a detailed look at the AMC Spirit.

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The AMC Spirit Was Called The New Gremlin

AMC Spirit rear
Via: Wikimedia

Any AMC Gremlin fan will recognize the styling and shape of the Spirit, and that's because the Gremlin is the older sibling of the Spirit. Notably, the Spirit is simply a redesigned Gremlin with obviously larger rear windows, while it also maintained the same instrument panel as the Gremlin. Furthermore, the AMC Spirit lift back model also rides on the same wheelbase as the Gremlin sedan. Yet, the hatchback had a much shallower Kammback tail.

AMC went about introducing its AMC Spirit in 1978 and production continued until 1983. There were two hatchback variations on the market during these years, a sedan and a lift back.

The Spirit was a lot more comfortable and convenient than the Gremlin, which was thanks to its equipment updates. For instance, the Spirit is kitted out with custom bucket seats wrapped in corduroy fabric, and there was also the option to add the sports vinyl upholstery. Other features include a floor gearshift knob and a fluorescent-display digital clock for the utmost comfort and convenience. Visually, the Spirit was more attractive too. Features such as a new trim inside and out, new color-keyed wheel covers, and wood accents on the dashboard and steering wheel meant that the Spirit was much more appealing to the eye than the Gremlin, which had very little sophistication about it.

AMC was sure to make the Spirit economical. The car offers a fuel tank capacity of 21 gallons and probable fuel mileage of 25 MPG, which means the drivers can enjoy up to 500 miles before needing a refill.

The AMC Spirit's Specifications

AMC Spirit blue front
Via: Flickr

In terms of specifications, the Spirit models vary with each year. The first ever model, produced in 1978 as a 1979 model, features a standard 2.0-liter engine. There were options to upgrade the engine to either a 3.8-liter, 4.2-liter, or 5.0-liter. The 5.0-liter was only available on the lift back model.

Depending on the trim of the Spirit, all engines could be mated to two types of transmission for the 1979 model year. Also, the car could either have a standard 4-speed manual transmission or an optional 3-speed TorqueFlite automatic transmission with floor shift.

In 1980, the 3.8-liter engine left the lineup, as was the 5.0-liter V8. This was so that the AMC Spirit could meet the 20 MPG fuel capacity. One year later in 1981, the 4.2-liter engine, which was the only one remaining, saw a 90 pound weight reduction, which was in order to make the ride more economical.

The 1982 model saw mostly mechanical changes. The AMC Spirit became the first pony car with a 5-speed manual gearbox, which was then a new offering. Its new engine was a 2.5-liter, which was soon taken off the scene for the final year in 1983. The 2.5-liter left, as did the entire sedan model. 1983 saw 4.2-liter lift backs, in either DL or new GT trim, which both were fast and more powerful than any other standard base model of the Spirit.

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The AMC Spirit: Racing Exploits And Performance

AMC Spirit red
Via: Wikimedia

AMC went about producing racing versions of the AMC Spirit. This proved to be a great venture and the car was named as the AMC Spirit AMX. B.F. Goodrich joined the team to supply the tires, and this became a really rewarding venture for their time and effort. The Spirit AMX's took to racing in 1979 at the 24 Hours Nürburgring, and it came first and second place.

It's understandable that the AMC Spirit racing editions did so well. This racing model feature an AMC 5.0-liter V8 engine and four-speed transmission. It coughs out 125 horsepower, which is the model's overall highest performance figure to date.

Overall, the AMC Spirit was exactly what the manufacturers had to introduce at the time in order to align with the market. The AMC Gremlin was a reasonable car, but it didn't offer much sophistication or exhilaration from either its look or its performance. The AMC Spirit is an all-around great hatchback, no matter which variation it is.

Here's How Much A Classic AMC Spirit Is Worth Today
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