Matt Woodstrup‘s ’72 X with Sunroof!
Fortunately, despite the task ahead, Matt had actually been planning for this project years before the Gremlin ever came into his life. “I had been saving Gremlin parts for a project like this for years”, he explains. “Some of my parts I had came from my first Gremlin in 1979. Over the years I had had six Gremlins that I owned and cut up for parts, most of them being V8 cars”.
Although essentially a restoration back to factory standards, Matt couldn’t help but intervene in a couple of areas, for the sake of personal preference. “Our car has had several changes, but it is all AMC. Over fifteen Gremlins have contributed parts to our car”.
Originally a 304 cu.in car with 3-speed transmission, optional sunroof, front disc brakes and a posi 3:15 rear, Matt made some changes for the sake of driveability, and performance. A 401 now sits in the engine bay, with Holley 750, AMC R4B intake manifold, larger exhaust manifold to dual pipes, T10 4-speed, side pop-out windows, remote mirrors right and left, Custom Levi interior, center console, factory V8 tach in dash from a Hornet, and AM/FM/CB radio all make the Gremlin a better driving experience, as does the 2:87 limited slip rear-end.
In addition, rather than return the Gremlin back to its factory Big Bad Blue hue, Matt opted instead for the companies bold Big Bad Green. And while he was at it, he also switched the engine color. “I wanted to have a red engine”, he explains. “The only AMC cars in 1972 with red engine blocks were California emission cars. This meant I needed firewall ID stickers to say CA emissions. Our car wasn’t an original CA car but I liked the look of the red V8 with the green paint instead of the AMC blue that was used on the rest of the AMC engines”.
The restoration was a long and quite intensive one, as you’d expect, given what Matt started this adventure with. “The car took twelve years to complete with family and friends. The majority of the work was done at home in our garage on weekends. It’s still a work in progress”. But now, Matt and his family have a great looking and very rare Gremlin V8 X they can enjoy. Its not a numbers matching car, which has allowed Matt some creative input, personalising it to his own tastes. And therefor, he isn’t precious about it either. He drives it regularly, and enjoys it for what it is. But perhaps even more importantly, Matt’s efforts have saved another rare muscle car from almost certain extinction, for future generations to enjoy.