The AMC Hornet supplanted the long-serving Rambler at the start of the 1970s.
The Sportabout was the wagon version, which offered a dose of extra practicality.
This example, however, also adds a measure of Italian design-house chic with its Gucci decor package, a rare option. It's up for auction until Wednesday, January 17.
Plucky little American Motors Corporation never had the R&D money of the big three domestic automakers, so it was forced to be innovative. One avenue it explored was fashion-themed cars, such as the Pierre Cardin Javelin and the Levi's Gremlin. For its thrifty compact Hornet, there was a tie-up with one of the most noble Italian design houses, the pride of Florence: Gucci.
This 1973 Hornet Sportabout wagon is a result of that mashup, and it's up for auction on Bring a Trailer—which, like Car and Driver, is part of Hearst Autos. The Hornet was AMC's mainstay, and but just because it was a workaday model didn't mean it had to be boring. This one wasn't, with its V-8 engine (originally a 304-cubic-inch, since replaced with a 360), white body-side stripes, and slotted mag wheels.
The good stuff, however, is on the inside, which features Gucci's tri-color perforated vinyl seats and double-G headliner. Back in 1973, this option package would have tacked on nearly $150 to a car that stickered at $2500. Gucci had made its name selling scarves and bags to the likes of Grace Kelly and other swells, and while it's doubtful the Princess of Monaco ever cruised the corniches above the Côte d'Azur in a Sportabout, the unlikeliness of the mashup is part of the charm here.
The green paint shows well, though there are a few cosmetic issues, the most serious being holes in the plastic filler panel between the rear bumper and body. This would take a bit of fiddly work to repair but is certainly doable, and it sounds like there might be a spare out there that'll fit. The current owner has replaced the battery, alternator, voltage regulator, rear main seal, oil-pan gasket, timing cover gasket, and dipstick tube.
This car was previously sold on Bring a Trailer for $22,000, which is far beyond what a standard Hornet might bring. We'll see whether buyers this time are as willing to open their wallets (Gucci or otherwise). Despite the Gucci tie-up, this unusual Sportabout is a totally unpretentious way to stand out at your local cars and coffee event.
This no-reserve auction ends on January 17.
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