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Weekly Motor Fix: float like a butterfly, sting like an … AMC

21 March 2016


The AMC Hornet is by no stretch a common platform in New Zealand, let alone when it comes to modifying — actually, we could say the same for all of AMC’s products. Perhaps that’s because AMC-badged vehicles never quite grabbed Kiwis’ imaginations in the same way that offerings from GM, Ford, or Chrysler did. 

Whatever the reason is, at least it means that any AMC products tend to stick out on the road, and at shows. We came across this Hornet at Americarna, and it sure looks like it’s packin’ some heat. 

Looking inside, one of the first things that we noticed was that it’s right-hand drive. AMC actually had an Australian market, with right-hand drive vehicles manufactured in Port Melbourne, Victoria. These vehicles were known as Rambler Hornets — not AMCs — and were built between 1970 and 1975, as four-door sedans only.

However, while it looks like a legit Aussie-assembled Rambler Hornet, it’s unlikely that there’s anything from that factory remaining under the bonnet. If the ‘347 Stroker Powered’ badge on the boot lid is anything to go by, it’s almost certainly not going to be the straight-six power plant that Aussie-built Hornets left the factory with. 

Looking at that shotgun scoop poking through the bonnet, it’s quite clearly got V8 power, and when we hear 347, we think stroker ‘Ford’. We’re thinking there’s a pretty good chance that the engine under the tunnel-ram and twin Holley four-barrels is a Blue Oval special.

And if that, or the Hurst Quarter Stick shifter in the cabin, wasn’t sufficient to say it’s got a bit of go, check the chunky rear rubber wrapped around the classic Centreline Convo Pro rims — they look like the biggest that will fit under the rear guards without tubbing. 

A Ford nine-inch looks to take pride of place beneath it all, clearly hinting at a little more performance potential than AMC may originally have intended.

Make no mistake, this looks to be a seriously fun car to give a bit of jandal every now and again!