April 3, 2005: Here’s a car that is NOT
mine, but I wish it was. This car was for sale in Idaho last year for a mere
$800. I had to pass on this one when my 360 car became available at the same
time. But an online-buddy of mine grabbed this car and shipped it home to
Florida where he’s beginning to get her road-ready and showable again.
The car is straight with some surface rust, but no holes,
and needs seat covers and general TLC all over. It’s fairly loaded for a
6-cylinder Hornet, having the X sport package, tilt, air, automatic, engine
block heater, rear defroster, vinyl top, bucket seats, twin grip, power discs,
rear defogger (which I note in the options list is shown only available on
sedans in 1973…so what the ^%$???), visibility group, light group, 70-amp
battery, towing package, scuff molding, vinyl top, energy-absorbing rear bumper
and much more. I take it back- it ain’t fairly loaded- it’s freakin’
loaded! All that’s missing is a V8… but then, that 6 and the long
options list help make this car a bit odd and rare.
Now, added to that, this car’s color is making this beauty a
rare item. Not too many buyers were brave enough for MAXI-BLUE…which, in
person, is a baby blue with a hint of purple in it. I absolutely love it and
wish my 360 car was this color.
Then, to make this car even MORE of an oddity, there’s the
VIN. It gets real weird from this point, folks.
Officially, 1973 AMCs all got a 13-digit VIN. The last 6
digits of the VIN are the car’s serial number, assigned in the sequence that
the purchase orders were created in, and for the Kenosha plant, they began with
number 100001. So if the car’s VIN ended 100003, it was the third 1973 car
ordered from Kenosha for the 1973 model year. Now, serial number sequences are
not specific to a particular model. They include every AMC for that
year…meaning 100002 can be an Ambassador, 100003 can be a Gremlin, 100004 can
be a Javelin, and so on. As the orders came in, the next number was assigned.
OK…that’s how it’s SUPPOSED to work. Well, looking at this
car’s VIN (noted on the window sticker and on the door sticker and dash tag,
it’s serial number begins with a ‘0’…which is supposed to not be possible. Now,
my best guess is that the car is a ‘pre-production’ car. These are cars built
before the start of normal production, built very slowly to let the workers get
used to the new-for-1973 changes….training tools, if you will. Once normal
production begins, the normal sequence of serial number would go into use. But
is it possible that this Hornet is one of over 3000 ‘pre-production’ cars???
Its serial number would suggest this if my theory is remotely accurate.
I’d be glad to hear any theories you might have that better
explain this car’s VIN. I’m fairly certain my own theory makes the most sense,
so be ready to debate your suggestion- and evidence would be GREAT to get!