What’s better than blue jeans and apple pie?

How about blue jeans and AMC?

Let’s explain: When folks think of brands that define American fashion, Levi’s blue jeans are typically near the top of that list.

And when you recall some of the most beloved American car marques in history, you’ll often hear names like Jeep, Packard, and Studebaker—all nameplates that were once under the American Motors umbrella.

So when AMC had the jeanius…err…genius idea to partner up with Levi Straus & Co. on a series of special editions during the 1970s, the result was a double whammy of Americana.

1973 amc gremlin x Levis edition fender decal

While there were several AMC Levi’s Edition cars, one in particular caught our eye at last year’s Goodguys Summit Racing Nationals: the Gremlin X.

So much like we’ve done with the Ford Sprint series and the Chevy Spirit of America cars, let’s take a moment to explore the car and the features of the uber-rare Levi’s package.

What is a Gremlin X?

First, the Gremlin—it was AMC’s entry into the compact car market that was rapidly evolving due to the emerging gas crisis and rival imports from Japan.

Though it shared some mechanicals and sheetmetal with the AMC Hornet coupe, the Gremlin got a unique Kammback rear hatch that was both visually striking and a practical cargo solution. Introduced in 1970, the Gremlin was produced up to 1978, and remained popular even after AMC added the Pacer to its small car lineup in 1975.

The “X” trim package kicked the Gremlin’s styling up a notch by adding unique wheels, a sticker/stripe kit, bucket seats, and a blackout grille.

1973 amc gremlin x Levis edition, wheel
These special slotted wheels were a gorgeous component of the Gremlin X appearance package. (Image/OnAllCylinders)

AMC Introduces Levi’s Special Editions

The Gremlin’s story takes a fashionable turn in 1973, when American Motors began collaborating with the famous Levi Strauss & Co. clothing and jeans manufacturer on a series of Levi’s-badged special edition cars.

Originally available on the Gremlin and Hornet, AMC later offered the Levi’s package on other vehicles in its portfolio, including the Pacer and Jeep CJ.

1973 amc gremlin x Levis edition, back seats

This wasn’t the first fashion-forward partnership that AMC had been involved with either, as it had previously worked with famed design houses Pierre Cardin, Gucci, and Oleg Cassini on respective Javelin, Hornet, and Matador models.

1973 amc gremlin x Levis edition, interior

While the package included a pair of Levi’s fender decals, the real magic was inside where—you guessed it—the interior was awash in blue denim-style material. If that wasn’t enough, the familiar jean fabric was set off by contrasting stitches, blue piping, and large accent buttons.

It’s worth pointing out that fire safety regulations prohibited the use of actual cotton-derived denim, so the Levi’s editions actually used a nylon fabric that merely mimicked the look and feel of the natural jean material.

For the Levi’s Jeep interiors only, AMC let you pick between tan or the traditional blue denim-style material. (Image/OnAllCylinders – Tom Lynch)

The carpets and the dash were color keyed blue to match the seats, and the door cards wore steel button rivets to complete the denim motif.

And the whole look was topped off with a pair of genuine Levi’s tabs on the front seats.

1973 amc gremlin x Levis edition, back seats
Those slick engine-turned dash inserts were part of that aforementioned “X” package available on the Gremlin. (Image/OnAllCylinders)

As mentioned earlier, we spotted this particular 1973 AMC Gremlin X Levi’s Edition at last year’s Goodguys Summit Racing Nationals in Columbus, Ohio.

While we couldn’t find the owners, the were plenty of details on the car displayed on a nearby placard. Turns out the Gremlin has a fascinating backstory—it was a owned by a family in Ohio and was reluctantly sold in the 1980s, only to resurface over 20 years later in California!

The family was able to buy the car back and return it to the Buckeye State. They plan to keep the Gremlin forever and attend as many shows as possible.

1973 amc gremlin x Levis edition, rear quarter
The stripes up the C-pillar are also part of the Gremlin X trim. (Image/OnAllCylinders)

This particular Gremlin carries AMC’s trusty 258 inline six, which undoubtedly supplies enough pep to scoot the compact hatchback around town—though a 304 AMC V8 was available as an option for a few years too.

Power is likely going through a three-speed TorqueFlite automatic from the Chrysler parts bin.

Though this specific Gremlin carries the sporty “X” options kit along with its Levi’s jeans, it wasn’t mandatory, and you can find examples online of non-X Gremlin models with the Levi’s option as well.

1973 amc gremlin x Levis edition, driver side

The AMC Gremlin already has a special place in automotive history, and when you tie-in one of the most iconic clothing brands on the planet, the two make for one seriously memorable package. While AMC built more than 600,000 Gremlins over its entire production run, only a sliver of those got to wear Levi’s jeans—which means any surviving Levi’s special editions are now prized by collectors.

Have you ever owned one of these ultra-rare AMC Levi’s models? We’d love to hear about it in the comments section below.

amc gremlin trunk badge emblem
Author: Paul Sakalas

Paul is the editor of OnAllCylinders. When he's not writing, you'll probably find him fixing oil leaks in a Jeep CJ-5 or roof leaks in an old Corvette ragtop. Thanks to a penchant for vintage Honda motorcycles, he spends the rest of his time fiddling with carburetors and cleaning chain lube off his left pant leg.