The now defunct American Motors Corporation, an automaker that brought you such memorable car brands as the Nash, the Rambler, the Pacer, the Hornet, and the Javelin, introduced the Gremlin in 1970.
It was a compact, economy car with an elongated snout and an almost vertical, hatchback tail. AMC intended for the car to compete with the Chevy Vega and the Ford Pinto, as well as with the VW Beetle and Toyota Corolla.
I was not in the market for a new car at the time. I was tooling around town in the 1961 bronze-colored Corvair Monza, which I affectionately named “The Golden Garbage Can,” that my parents gave me when they bought a new car.
One night I was watching TV and a commercial for the Gremlin came on. I was mesmerized. I was also stoned out of my gourd at the time, which may have contributed to my over-the-top response to the ad.
“I have to have one of those,” I said to my equally stoned housemate.
“One of what?” he asked.
“A Gremlin,” I enthusiastically answered.
He had no clue what I was talking about, so he passed me the bong and said, “Far out, man.”
The next day I persuaded him to go with me to our local AMC dealership so I could test drive a Gremlin. Fortunately, I was no longer stoned and realized, in the clear, crisp light of day, away from the grass-induced, rose-colored haze of the night before, that the Gremlin was no less a piece of shit car than was my nine-year-old Corvair.
AMC continued to sell Gremlins through the 1978 model year. A year later, French car company Renault acquired a major stake in AMC, and the entire company was ultimately acquired by Chrysler in 1987.
The lesson I learned from this experience was to never consider buying anything I saw advertised in a creative TV commercial while stoned.
Written for today’s one-word prompt, “gremlins.”