Climbing Cars

Can a jeep climb vertically up a cliff, say a sheer surface? A video showed one climbing up a cliff in Utah, though there are some viewers who believed it to be fake.

To perform this trick, you need considerable stunt knowledge. As it was performed in rainy conditions, reportedly this makes the job harder. It needs to be a 4×4 in order to maintain the required grip.

It’s so much easier at a smaller scale, hence the number of remote-control toys performing this type of stunt. When you scale things up you increase the numbers, but the gravity part of the equation doesn’t change.

Aerodynamics

Mini Cooper

Intuition says that rugged looking vehicles are best for a cross country adventure but aerodynamics are still vital to whichever car you choose to negotiate a mountain road. Weight, size and power all play a part. When it comes to climbing mountains, a sedan is too close to the ground for rocky areas, despite their smallness. Ironically, a compact, like the Mini Cooper, is useful as it is the right size to handle country roads and also an extensive trunk space for any mountain gear. Maybe it’s not going to dig you out of quick sand, but for the average logging road it should perform well.

How about SUVs or crossovers? Yes, they can get you up there but as with any mountain traverse it helps if you have some experience. Remember that driving on rocks and fields is much harder than driving on a road. And many SUV’s are intended to look like a mountain vehicle but suited only for the city.

Here are further cars suitable for a mountain drive – Mahindra Scorpio and Vitara Brezza.

The Mahindra has a brilliant red shade and is built for negotiating the toughest of rocky roads in all but the worst weather.

Suzuki’s Vitara Brezza has a similar scarlet colour and has enough suspension to deal with the bumps in the road as you edge towards the mountain’s peak.

Uphill Racing

Just outside Nice is the beautiful town of La Turbie, site of the first uphill race in the world, also known as speed hill climbing. The sport fell slowly out of favor in France but eventually it was revived in the 1980s. There have also been races in Austria (Gaisberg) and the UK (Harewood) and various locations in the US. There have been races as far afield as Australia, South Africa and New Zealand.

Suzuki’s Vitara Brezza

Some races use racing cars while others use a kit car to race. There are smaller races out there which use everyday cars with some of them undergoing modification. The modification may be a roll cage or a rollover protection system which will protect the driver should the vehicle overturn. Sometimes cars are protected with the ability to prevent a rollover, such as anti-lock brakes and traction control, the kind of safety system you might need when negotiating a hill, but this goes against the spirit of hilltop driving.

The smaller races are in speed-trial format with competitors having two attempts to tackle the hill.

If you wish to explore the early days of hilltop driving, including pictures of the racers themselves you can do worse than browse specialist racing magazines like, Uphill Racers. Even the UK’s Stirling Moss, linked more to Formula One racing, has taken part in the hilltop driving culture. So, hilltop drivers are in good company.

General Motors Throughout The World

Detroit Renaissance Center

It should come as little shock that the biggest factory in Detroit, based in the Renaissance Center, belongs to General Motors but this isn’t their only plant. How much does it account for in the grand scheme of their manufacturing and just how did GM become such a major player?

Plant Locations:

There are hundreds of factories around the world employing tens of thousands of people. The size of the GM payroll and how widespread it is, could be a reason they’re a major player. Let’s take a closer look at some of these locations.

In the US:

There are more than 100 facilities in cities across the US, including Arlington and Bay City. Of specific note is the Cadillac. These include assembly plants as well as part stamping plants, propulsion component and battery plants. Most, however, are distribution centers. Still, they’re vital parts of the local economies as it gives smaller communities a tie into a global product.

In the internet age it’s hard to grasp how difficult it was for a smaller city to bring in big business with international sales. It took something that required a lot of parts and that sold all over the world in high volume. This could be one reason GM is considered a major player.

Equinox

The GM Defence Concord Facility makes vehicles especially for the army. They have a factory in North Carolina which was previously used to make Chevrolets. GM has a long tie with defense contracts which could be another reason they’re a major business.

Mexico

There are several factories in Mexico, including the Equinox and the Trax. Vehicles such as the Saab and the Oldsmobile used to be made in Mexico. They also make pickups and various other trucks.

Canada

1907 McLaughlin

The link between GM and Canada has a long vintage; all the way back to 1907 when McLaughlin and Buick were contracted to make Buick cars. After successfully making Buicks for several years McLaughlin sold Buick stock in order to obtain a foothold into GM stock. McLaughlin joined GM Detroit, forging a strong link.

The GM’s main center is called the Canadian Regional Centre and works with many countries around the world. Although you may hear of some factories closing, such as one in 2017 it still makes cars such as the Chevrolet and the Pontiac.

Brazil

’78 Opala

General Motors do Brasil began in 1925. It did final assembly from various parts imported from the US and was based in the city of San Paolo. The first car produced was an Opala, a type of Chevrolet.

One million Opalas were made in Brazil, and it was even used by the Brazilian police as well as the taxi service. The name comes from Opal, a German subsection of GM. The first version was a 4-door sedan and was available in “Especial” (Special) and “Luxo” (Deluxe).

Europe

In Europe the General Motors brand has been less than successful with names such as Opel and Vauxhall not actually capturing the public imagination. People seem to prefer the German cars-those being BMW, Merc and VW. The business was eventually sold to the PSA Group who own such names as Citroen and Peugeot.

This was GM cutting their losses—no real way to hide it – and what a loss. According to official figures the venture eventually lost $39 billion. Only a major player can lose $39 billion and survive.

China

In China things appear so much better with promising sales on Buicks, Chevrolets and Baojun and Wuling. Don’t recognize those last two? Don’t feel bad they’re clearly not available in your market. There are several other vehicles brands Westerners won’t recognize.

Baojun Advertisement

Wuling originally made very small vans until it joined with GM in 2002 where it began to manufacture small trucks as well.

Baojun was created a few years after Wuling (in 2010) with the goal to create what was known as “farmer’s cars.” It’s first vehicle looked like a cross between a Chevrolet and a Daewoo and the latest vehicle is a MPV – multi-purpose vehicle with seven seats. They have to their name, a number of crossovers, compacts, and electric vehicles. There are so many Baojuns out there that they could have their own article.

Wuling

If you own a new car in North America, South America or China then the chances are that it’s a General Motors vehicle. The magnitude of the company cannot be easily stated.

Editors Note: Here at the Kicker we’re working with the descendants of legendary Harley Earl to get a story about the early days of GM. His official story can be seen in the documentary, “Fins,” the making of which has tied up our dig into this era of GM (they had the exclusive scoop). But there is more to the story than the film reveals so we’ll be coming to you soon with more on the era of GM’s hay day.

Choosing the Right Large SUV

Some people look for a compact SUV but what about those who are looking for something more substantial? The larger SUV provides an alternative to the 4×4 or MPV. They can be used for camping and helpful for navigating both tricky terrain and difficult weather conditions. They also provide more than sufficient cargo space.

Some Large SUV’s to Consider

The large SUV Tarraco by SEAT for instance has seven seats, the second row of which can be flattened to the floor. Other features include alloy wheels, digital cockpit and a bucket seat. This is a seat which encloses and supports a body more than a regular car seat.

The Kodiaq is also a seven-seater which has several refined models all with luxurious seating. The acceleration in particular is exhilarating.

The Ever Evolving Expedition

Ford Explorer 2021

The Ford Expedition has easy to understand controls for tech with a huge cabin seating 5-8. The horsepower is between 375 and 400 hp and has either two or three rows of seats. The 2018 update included both the fuel system and the cabin (to increase space and add new safety features). The 2020 model added a new breed of trim as well as the driver assist (the proper name being the CoPilot 360).

The next model in 2021 relies on two rows rather than three. It has an extended wheelbase as you might expect from a large SUV. The latch collectors in the second and the third row allow you to connect child seats. It has a six-speaker stereo allowing for improved sound quality.

The Chevrolet Suburban…

Reintroduced for 2021 with a turbodiesel engine, the Suburban gives you collision detection and will brake by itself in an emergency. Whether gas or diesel the engine is enormous, but sadly no electric model yet. There are certain difficulties to driving this model, you have to squeeze down narrow roads. It is good on rough terrain thanks to great suspension.

There were no changes to the Suburban in 2020 but 2019 saw the introduction of a 420 hp engine and automatic transmission with 10 different speeds. It’s a variation of the Chevrolet Tahao essentially, and despite the reinvented interior, it drives more or less the same. The Tahoe may be a better bet as it’s about a foot less in size.

The plastic in the Suburban, referred to as “soft-touch,” is the kind of quality you possibly could expect from an SUV, practical without being luxurious. It also comes with a 10.2 touch screen with extreme clarity of graphics with great definition.

Let’s look at a not so successful model…

…the Nissan Armada eats fuel and is basically a pig to drive, though it still has a passable entertainment system. The seats have this uncomfortable look – not that any car manufacturer purposely makes squirmy seats, but there’s something about the curves of it. Maybe a seat cover will improve it, but even so…

Nissan Armada 2020

It’s hard to find an example of a Volvo in this genre. The 2020 Volvo S90 was more a midsize SUV, but it did include a host of features such as spacious cabin, cruise control and heated front seats. It also has a moonroof – which in case you didn’t know is tinted glass which opens via tilting (if it opens at all) instead of sliding open like a sunroof.

A large SUV has plus points whether you live in the town or the city, it’s a family car which seems to dominate the road. All you need is to find the right engine and the right interior, and you’ve got it made.

The Lamborghini Supercar

The Lamborghini is an established supercar designer and as such it can afford to take a few risks. How else could you explain the strange shapes like the Y shape and the hexagon shape-but what does it all mean?

What makes the design of the Lamborghini such a strong aesthetic?

It must be about obtaining lines which are as clear as possible and surfaces with sheen, or as their own website describes it “pure surfaces” working from sketches, turning into models to scale until finally reaching the finished car.

Huracan

The design of the Huracan is based on hexagon shaped clouds near the North Pole. If you didn’t know there were hexagon shaped clouds near the North Pole, you aren’t the only one. Lambo designers crammed in so many parts with the six-sided designs, the grilles, the air condition vents, even the rear-view camera. The whole thing is slightly reminiscent of a flattened hexagon.

The launch control has been marketed with the name of Thrust Mode, which is a bit Freudian, and could be a clue to who they’re marketing to. Regardless, it reaches 60mph in 3 seconds.

The Huracan has a slim line of lights under its bonnet. The Gallardo’s lights are square whilst the Aventador has the shape of Ys on its side.

Aventador

The Sian had a limited run, but it had the distinction of being the first hybrid. A couple of commenters believed the twelve-cylinder engines were a little bit too much as if it was “showing off” but at least these cylinders had been reinvented in order to deride extra power. Could you be paying for the titanium valves too? It makes the Sian reach 0-60 in 2.8 seconds.

The Huracan will be with us for a long time as it won’t be replaced until 2024 and there won’t be a Hybrid Urus until 2022.

The Millenio combines the elements of the fastest sports car with the electric car concept. As with many Lamborghinis it all comes with increasing the aerodynamics.

Less Successful Attempts:

Some cars however aren’t as successful. Take the Asterion. It was planned as a hybrid with a V10 and its bodywork had a lot curves. The upholstery was Ivory colored and it boasted more storage space than its competitors.

Asterion

It seems a shame that an iconic car didn’t enter production. Customers liked hybrid cars, true, but not if it didn’t improve the performance (meaning the speed) of the cars. According to an announcement by the Lamborghini’s CEO the speed wasn’t improved, which sounds strange to announce something before a piece of vital research has been carried out, but that’s the motor business for you.

Other Crazy Innovations:

It is not only cars which sell to the public that show uniqueness in the Lamborghini’s range.

The racing cars are designed to split in two parts in the event of a crash. The reason for this is that it prevents a fire risk. You might be shocked to see a bashed up half-car but this is the best way of operating. After the crash it is not welded together again it is picked up by a tow-truck and scrapped, which is probably just as well.

It is all these concepts and developments which make it a supercar. How long can it compete against the other premium sports vehicles? We can only wait and see.

Dealing Responsibly with A Car and Trailer

How well can you handle a car with a trailer? Here are a few things that operators should keep in mind.

First:

Check to make sure that your vehicle is rated for the size of trailer you intend to tow.

What people don’t do that maybe they should do is test (or retest) their reversing ability before they go on the main roads or, in the case of a RV, vacation.

Check the Coupling:

Some models come with hitches, or mounts, as well as safety chains in a few models. Make sure they are not too loose or too tight – in the latter case the tension may cause the trailer to break. When chains are too long, they drag and spark, which can ignite roadside brush fires.

Safety chains need to be as secure as possible with any damaged chains being removed. It is important to stop them dragging along the ground. If in doubt with the chains, please refer to the manual.

Check the Trailer Brakes:

Many trailers on the road have severe defects, the most common is the brakes failing so it is important to watch out for this.

Proper Equipment:

As well as having approved towing bars you will also need to fit towing mirrors. Failure to do so may lead to three penalty points. Does your trailer have a stabiliser? This will make it easier to handle. You also need to look at the chassis, the lighting (which also means the electricity is working okay if it is an RV) and the wheels.

Check the Load:

Make sure the trailer is not overloaded or the weight makes the trailer unstable. The camber – where it leans to one side – is also important. Most of the weight needs to be at the front when loading.

If it is something like a boat trailer you should check that the tie-downs are all strapped down, and they are all undamaged. It is important that everything is fully secure, and no dirt or similar items can enter the trailer or escape.

Check the Tags and Paperwork:

Before you set out with a trailer or RV it is vital to have the right license. You should stay within the speed limit as you are more vulnerable to accidents.

Trailers should give way to other vehicles-especially smaller vehicles such as cycles and motorcycles. Most people don’t know that a trailer will affect the aerodynamics of a car, including the acceleration and braking. Speaking of brakes, a trailer which weighs over 750 Kg must have working brakes, though brakes are a plus point on any trailer.

Dealing with Trailer Sway:

If you do have to slow down, say you have to deal with strong winds, try to do it gently without applying the brake, which probably means taking your foot off the gas. Also speed up again slowly.

The trailer swaying is a problem in certain types of weather and the driver should attempt to correct it. It is vital you don’t start swerving as it causes accidents with other road users.

Wet roads can also cause a problem because the trailer will have less traction than the car on its own. Again, it’s important to be aware of your environment and be prepared to slow down. Know your limits and the limits of your vehicle and trailer.

Cars and Water – A Good Mix?

It would go without saying that automobiles do not go well with water – or do they?

Design

Most car design is inspired by planes, but are they any that are inspired by boats? Rolls Royce’s Nautical Wraith is one, but it may be a one-off. All we know about availability is – not for the UK. Possibly US? It has a dashboard made of Tudor Oak. For those who don’t know, Tudor Oak is a dark green version of oak with a noticeable number of knots.

Before the Wraith came the Nautical Phantom which had an anchor design.

Rolls Royce is being a bit cagey on the price of the Wraith too. It has a blue shade (known as Arabian blue) with a white roof. Definite a nod to a millionaire’s yachts.

Rolls Royce is one of the few bespoke car manufacturers to actually try their hand at boats – Ferrari, McLaren and Lamborghini have also produced examples too.

Yacht Rock

A now forgotten type of car was known as Yacht Rock. It was used in the 1970s and early 1980s and was named after certain jazzy songs on the West Coast, known as the West Coast Sound.

Acts Associated with Yacht Rock:

Yacht rock is a broad music style and aesthetic commonly associated with soft rock, one of the most commercially successful genres from the mid-1970s to early 1980s. 

Wikipedia

Examples of such cars are Lincoln Continental and Chevrolet Caprice. It’s not immediately clear the connection with nautical matters apart from the yachts in the background of their marketing.

The cars drew inspiration from the music, which drew inspiration from the yachts. There’s a certain feel to smooth music that suggests a nautical environment, which somehow made some people think of fast cars. The cars were mainly American, although there were some Japanese and British pretenders which also wanted to embody this type of music.

The Jeep Wrangler??

The Jeep Wrangler is inspired by a light sailboat which is apparently the reason for its strong white color. The interior resembles a sailboat too with naval white leather (naval officers generally wear white) as well as a deck floor mat. It also comes with a white awning.

Moving from cars slightly linked to water to those immersed in the substance…

Many cars that get caught in floods do not have the correct insurance, though if you usually park in a place and it suddenly becomes flooded then it should be covered by insurance.

When they are sold they tend to be in a substandard state—all dried out, but does that mean they’re good as they were before?

To repair a flooded vehicle requires an experienced mechanic. To do it yourself will cause too many problems. Even when they are fixed there will be chances of electric defects and so on.

You need to look at the suspension joints, which can be rusted, and get the car cleaned to remove mold. The lights and the brakes may also need replacing.

But all this is useless if it is flooded with sea water. Despite what you remember from James Bond films it’s completely undrivable and should be scrapped.

If the fuse box was submerged it should be replaced as should the control modules. The control modules are the various electrical engineering of the vehicle. If you don’t replace them it will fail after a while, even if it works okay now.

They are probably best being scrapped in any case as the interior will stink!

The Soft Top vs The Hard Top Car

This is about the two basic choices of buying a convertible or cabriolet: soft top or hard top. There are more choices to be made with these types of cars, but this is the focus of this post.

Soft Top

A soft top is an informal way of referring to a convertible with a thick fabric roof which can be taken down or removed altogether.

The bad side of the soft top are the maintenance issues. If you maintain it properly it will last about 6 years or so, but hundreds of owners forget regular maintenance.

It’s important to get rid of any specks of dirt and repair any rips in the fabric. It’s awkward to find the right material to clean them, as you can’t use any product that contains citric acid, bleach or petroleum. The acid in these products aren’t reactant to water. An auto shampoo is better though you do need to rinse the shampoo off, otherwise the colour will fade.

If you leave the top in the weather for a long time it may develop mold or spores, the first can be removed using a hood cleaner, the second using a mix of white vinegar and warm water applying it using a clean microfiber cloth. It’s best to use protective gloves when handling vinegar.

You should also use the microfiber cloth and cool water for the plastic window, a normal glass cleaner will make it speckled.

Although it seems a simpler treatment, a car wash will ruin the fabric. In a similar way a power wash is also a no no, the basic message here is there are no shortcuts!

The Real Gotcha of Soft Tops

You shouldn’t leave the top down overnight, as it can become stuck down. If you park outside you might want to leave it up in case of rain, but then it’s going to get more sun fade and wear from the weather and more incidental damage. If the roof does become stuck it is important not to force it – see expert help.

Soft tops are hard to secure – and it means insurance premiums are higher unless you keep it in a garage or similar. It’s best to shop around to discover the insurers who offer specialist rates for convertible. So bottom line, be sure to always garage your convertible.

Hard Tops

Merc Hard Top (self storing)

There are certain advantages to buying a hard top – it’s harder to break into and offers better protection against the elements. However, they are more expensive, and many drivers seem to think they don’t have the look of an iconic convertible.

There is also a color difference between the top and the body of the car. This isn’t noticeable for some consumers while others it drives crazy. Some describe the roof color as “too perfect.” The sun will also fade the roof at a different rate than the rest of the car, but it sort of does that even on standard cars, so just expect a paint job to expire after a few years.

There are two main types of hard top, those that come off in one piece to store in a garage and those that fold into a compartment in the trunk space for safe keeping. The first is more like having a regular roof, the second is more convenient and lets you take the car out when there is a chance of rain (because you have the roof with you if it starts to rain).

Which is Better?

What you may not know is that a soft tops flip much easier than a hard top due to the lower center of gravity because of the flexibility of the roof which reduces the structural integrity of the car. The soft top is more likely to be bent out of shape after an accident even if it does have other elements of structural stability, designed to prevent injury in a crash. (The safety structure, or lack of it, in a soft top is not easily spotted if you lack the knowledge of aerodynamics.)

As so often happens “better” is in the eye of the beholder. In summary, a hard top is over all better, but people just prefer the soft top in terms of status. It could be worth taking both for a test drive to see what you prefer.

How Does Marriage Affect Car Driving?

One good thing about marriage is that it’s improves your ability to finance a car. Well maybe that’s not a good reason to get married, but a happy biproduct none the less. The co-borrower has to be a spouse, in order to take joint responsibility for the car they own. But is owning one car together good for your marriage? Does it create togetherness or strife?

More and more, a wife is responsible for her own car, but it all depends on how much she earns. Gone are the days of a “little woman” who can wait to go to the supermarket until the bread winner comes home from work. Women have their own incomes and buy their own cars, which is a reality that car makers are well aware of. They market to women, but single and married.

The x-factor is that married women often arrive at major purchase decisions as part of a team, so car makers must market at the couple in many cases. Though you are allowed to buy a car for your spouse, and you needn’t involve your spouse at all.

Cars that Market to Married Couples:

Married men may look to something like the Alfa Romeo which is marketed both for a couple and a young family. It has a choice of twin turbo or 2 liter, but both have a large amount of trunk space and legroom. So is the Porsche Panamera, though it may be thought of as a pre-family car.

Passat Arteon

The married woman may look towards a VW Passat Arteon in a strong yellow. A popular family car is the SUV such as Jaguar’s new F-Pace. It is seen as aggressive but apparently wife friendly, according to reports on the vehicle.

F-Pace by Jag

This all seems like strange old-fashioned marketing, but it’s out there. And possibly men still buy more cars for their wives than wives buy cars for their husbands. (It’s not clear where this leaves gay couples, maybe there’s a bit of cross over but there’s not currently stats on what cars market specifically gay couples.)

Car makers do market specifically to newly married couples differently than longer married couples. The latter opting towards a family car.

Different Driving Habits and Reputations:

On the topic of being old-fashioned, they are still stereotyping of woman being bad drivers and this unfortunately does seem to hold water as far as married women are concerned. Aviva, a car insurance company found that 53% of women feel nervous and even stressed when driving in front of their husband which in turn affects their driving.

Only 41% of men said their driving suffered with their wives in the car, though it could be that men may be more used to driving in front of their spouse.

More information may be gained (possibly misinformation?) from a poll in 2018 from Budget Insurance. Women were concerned more about aggressive driving from their spouse, which 27% decided was bad enough to be known as “road rage” and men felt they had the opposite predicament: their wives were too cautious.

The poll also stated that 20% of those surveyed felt their partner was dangerous behind the wheel, though more – 25% – had refused a trip with their partner due to fears over their safety. Many did state they could talk to their partner about their misdeeds.

There was other interesting things to learn from this poll: women worried about anger as well as speed, but with men it was total lack of ability, “doing silly things like hesitating at junctions”… Around 75% of men said they were the better driver, less than half of women (43%) said they were the better driver which means a sizable minority of couples consists of two people who think they are both the better driver and their partner can’t drive. Sounds like potential for fireworks.

So, what can we learn? It seems the secret to successful marriage is each partner having their own vehicle, and married couples know this because they buy more cars It best if they should stay away from each other’s vehicle as much as humanly possible. That’s if they wish to stay in marital bliss.

The Glory Days of AMC Cars

Pacer not a Pinto

Without a doubt, the golden era for AMC was the 1970’s, and we mean golden in more ways than one.

A report by the CAP-HPI around five years ago suggested that AMC seventies models with a copper bronze hue or even custard yellow were on the way up. Despite the car industry changing in the intervening years many cars of this vintage remain popular.

Side Note: CAP produces a black book analyses the used car market, similar to Kelley Blue Book only based on large scale market.

Setting Themselves Apart:

AMC, American Motor Corporation, looked to be different than other automakers and came up with an SUV style vehicle, the Eagle. It looked like a cross between an all-terrain vehicle and a passenger car, with a long hood but about the same size as a VW Beetle. They were manufactured by AMC & Chrysler between 1979 and 1987.

It had the alternate name of the Eagle Wagon which makes sense if you see one. According to an article written for Newsweek in 1979 it was the only four-wheel drive passenger vehicle made at the time. It could also be thought of as the first crossover.

Was this a gamble? Possibly, after all there was no established market for such a car. There doesn’t appear to be a genuine effort at market research on AMC’s part, only a prediction that “consumers would embrace a vehicle with the comfort of an automobile (sic) but with capabilities of an all-terrain vehicle.”

The design came from Ray Lunn who was the chief designer for the AMC Jeep. It was given the convoluted code name of “Project 8001 plus Four.” Having a uni-body was vital to the design; a unitized body means a vehicle frame or chassis is purpose made for the car in question. Unibody was not a common thing in ATV’s of the time, since people who like to take their cars off-road also like to pound out dents from going off road—not a strength of the unibody design.

Other AMC Oddities:

In perhaps the weirdest product crossover some Hornets and Gremlins could be ordered with denim interiors in the 1970s created by jean manufacturer Levi. It can’t be the best substance to keep clean though.

The AMC Hornet shouldn’t be confused with the Green Hornet or the Hudson Hornet. As with most of the cars referred to here, it was only produced in the ‘70s. A compact which came as either a sedan, or a station wagon. The Hornet had the same platform as the Gremlin, the Eagle and the Spirit, among others.

Gremlin

The Gremlin has a reputation as an ugly and therefore bad car. In fact, gremlins are mythical creatures that destroy machines so it’s a terrible name for a car line. The truth is the Gremlin was ahead of its time; a sub-compact manufactured in both the US and Mexico by AMC. It was produced a long time before the 1985 film of the same name.

What’s a Matador?

Today we might honestly ask that, but ironically an AMC 1970’s advertising campaign asked, “What’s a Matador?” The twist is that at the time AMC Matador was the car to have, superseding the AMC Rebel. A two-door hardtop, it had the export name “Rambler Matador.” They also became the car used by the LA Police Department for a while.

(Trivia section: What car did the AMC Matador replace? The answer is below.)

One way that the costs were kept down in AMC cars was having parts such as the distributor, starter and carburettor shared with companies like Ford. Not many people realise that AMC manufactured engines for other company’s cars when practical.

In the end, AMC was purchased in 1987 by Chrysler who continued some of the car lines for a few years and then phased them out.

Answer to the question above: The AMC Matador replaced the Plymouth Satellite as the car used by the LA PD.