AMC Hornet 1970-1977

The compact or “Junior” (AMC term) sized rear wheel drive Hornet was manufactured from 1970 until the end of 1977 in one generation and was a new marque for AMC, but the Hornet name has a previous history. The Hudson Motor Company manufactured the “Fabulous Hudson Hornet” which sent a major buzz through stock car circuits in the early 1950’s. The Hornet moniker became AMC property with the merger of Nash and Hudson under the umbrella of The American Motors Corporation. The name is now owned by Chrysler after its acquisition of AMC in 1987.

AMC Hornet (5)

Before the all new Hornet is introduced to the public in 1970 AMC invested forty million dollars and spent a million man hours refining its design over a three year period. The compact platform was an important one for the company, as is the Hornet, which carries a sticker price of $1,994.00 for the base in 1970. Not only did the car performed well on the books with 92,000 plus units produced the first year, its production time outlasted all the rest of the compacts of the era, including Valiant, Nova and the Maverick, although not in volume. On all counts the Hornet scores better than any of its competitors for style, comfort, driver visibility in all directions, safety, power, economy, storage space and handling according to the major magazines of the day.

AMC Hornet

 The Hornet is introduced as a family car initially and offers two practical straight six engines as the basic choice, but there is also a 304 cu in (5 L) V8 engine on the table to power the sporty looking vehicle in 1970. The model is available as a notchback with either two or four doors and two trim levels; the base or the SST in the beginning. The Hornet is the first vehicle made here to have the doors reinforced with guardrail beams for added side impact protection.

AMC Hornet (1)

The Sportabout four door wagon is made available in ’71 and outsold all other Hornet models combined in its first year. For 1971 a unique folding sunroof made of fabric could have been on certain models. This year a SC/360 package could be ordered for the two door sedan. The engine is a 360 cu in (5.9 L) V8 producing 245 hp (182 kW) and developing 365 ft-lb (495 Nm) of torque with a two barrel carburetor. As a further option for the Hornet SC/360 the “go pack” would add a ram-air induction four barrel bumping the horse power rating up to 285 (212.52 kW). The SC360 package includes uptown wheels, Goodyear Polyglas D70x14 tires, hood scoop, pin striping, and handling upgrades.

AMC Hornet (4)

The basic transmission offer for every Hornet is a three speed on the column, but an automatic and a four speed standard with a Hurst designed shift kit are both options for the SC360. There is another performance option offered in ’73; the “Twin-Grip” limited slip differential which could have either 3.54:1 or 3.90:1 gearing. The Hornet SC360 could do 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 6.7 seconds and a standing quarter mile in 14.9 seconds achieving 95 mph (153 km/h) in the process. Motor Trend Magazine said at the time “The Hornet is a gas to drive…it handles like a dream”. The original plan was to produce 10,000 units of the SC360, but rising insurance rates and EPA mandates were equally to blame, there are only 784 vehicles factory assembled.

AMC Hornet (3)

For the 1973 model year a new Hornet could be optioned with a Levi denim interior that had many takers and AMC was the first manufacturer in the USA to offer a luxury, but fashionable, designer trim package-the one they offer in ’73 was created by Aldo Gucci for the luxurious version of the Hornet Station Wagon. In ’73 the now popular hatchback is offered on the Hornet one year before the other American manufacturers and another first in a long line of them for AMC.

AMC Hornet (2)

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Camaro 1969 plus SCCA Racing and the COPO Version

For the 1969 model year, any Camaro chosen for the SCCA Trans Am racing series sports four-piston calipers on the front and rear disc brakes as standard equipment. This was the same system used in the Corvette and was necessary for improved stopping ability to help make the car a winner on the demanding circuits.Due to the high cost of vehicles equipped with this $500 RPO JL8 option, there were only 206 of these units produced.

The logo RS striping was used in 1969 only if the option did not contradict a combined option feature. For example, if you purchased the RS/Z28 package, the Z28 special performance features would dominate, and the car would come with decorative rear fender louvers, wheel molding trim strips all around, black step sills, bright accents on the taillights, and if your model was a Sport coupe, this would include trim strips on the roof moldings. The combined packages would sport the RS logo on the grille, rear fenders, and the steering wheel with combinations of the SS, Z28 as possibilities and was designated an RS/SS or as RS/Z28. There were 37,773 Sport coupes made in 1969.

Camaro 1969

© Dikiiy | Chevrolet 1969 Camaro

The basic Z28 option came with the 302-cubic-inch small-block  with 11:1 compression, forged pistons, solid lifters, forged steel crankshaft, and forged connecting rods. There would also be a Holley carburetor mounted on the duel plane intake. However, dealers could give the engine a boost with two four-barrel carburetors on the crossram intake manifold if the customer opted for it. This engine bolted to a Muncie four-speed standard transmission and, new for ’69, featured the Hurst shift kit. The rearend was a 12-bolt style and contained 3.73 gearing. There were design problems that delayed the production of the new-generation 1970 models until November ’69, so there were many 1969 models sold as 1970 versions although the VIN is a 1969 number.


© Sigurbjornragnarsson | 1969 Chevrolet Camaro

The Central Office Production Order (COPO) Camaro with the numbers 9560 and 9561 were available for the 1969 model year. The edict issued to the Chevy Division was that no engines of greater than 400-cubic-inch displacement would be installed on any Chevy model. Don Yenko, a race driver turned dealer, found a way to avoid this by using the fleet order forms which, in the normal course of events, were meant for taxi cabs, trucks, rental units etc.

Camaro pace car 1969

© Steirus | 1969 Chevrolet Camaro, Official Pace Car

He used this system to order and then install, as a dealer option the 427-cubic-inch power plants. The COPO 9561 used a solid lifter big-block L72 engine with an underrated 425 hp (317 kW). Some other dealers also became wise to this idea; as a result, there were somewhere between 900 and 1,000 of the L72 engine sold retail in the 1969 model year.

Some of the COPOs were the “9560” engine too, and this was the all-aluminum block ZL-1, which was specifically designed for drag racing, and we can thank Dick Harnell, a drag driver, for formulating the idea. He ordered his ZL-1 in Illinois at the Fred Gibb dealership in La Harpe for use in the NHRA Super Stock series. Building just one ZL-1 engine involved some 16 man hours of labor, which they did under almost surgically clean conditions at the Chevrolet plant in Tonawanda, New York. There were only 69 of this engine ordered in the 1969 model year with a hefty price tag of $4,000 for the engine alone, almost double the price of the base coupe 302 engine, but it did develop a rated horsepower of 433 although when in the basic installed condition the ZL-1 delivered an actual 376 net hp and then, if it received some tuning modifications and a low back pressure exhaust system installed, the engine could produce more than 500 actual horsepower.

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Could This 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS396 Be a Pilot Car that Escaped the General Motors Crusher in 1969?

It is a saga sure to make a muscle car enthusiast utterly green with envy. What car guy or gal doesn’t dream of acquiring a barn find for a song, which then turns out to be a truly unique collectible, without even knowing beforehand what it was? That’s the engaging story behind the early-model 1970 Chevelle seen here, a tale worthy of an Indiana Jones movie (except without the poison arrows and tumbling boulder).

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