Welcome to My ’73 page. Here is where I share with you the car that got me excited about car restoration and collecting again. As a former auto mechanic, I know my way around cars and had worked in the family business on a few restoration projects. It was very rewarding and was the most fun I had working on cars. However, I had not been active in the car hobby since the early 1980s. That’s where my older brother Richie comes in. He never left the car business and world of restoration. He was always working on some car project and was always trying to encourage me to get some old car to work on and get back in the game. Admittedly, I did miss having an old car to work on and the idea of mixing it up with my brother again sounded like fun.
In the spring of 2002 he acquired a 1973 Hornet 2-door Sedan from its original owner in New Jersey. The car was in perfect condition with only 25,000 original miles! This car had been garage kept since it was purchased. When my brother showed it to me this is what he said: “I challenge anyone to find any rust on this baby!”
What a great find! This survivor was a rare original. However, there were a few things my brother felt the car needed to bring it up-to-date.
- The original paint had lost its luster so he repainted it. Including the original pinstripe.
- Converted the mechanical points to electronic ignition.
- It never had a factory radio so he installed an audio system under the dash and two speakers on the rear package shelf.
- He stored away the original wheels and tires and replaced them with newer period correct mag wheels and tires.
- Installed rear air-shocks.
- Replaced some torn fabric on bottom front driver’s side seat with original fabric.
Doing all the work himself, this Hornet was now sporting a new coat of its original color on a flawless body that has to be seen to be believed. Inside and out everything on this car screams original. It’s that nice. The modifications he made really transformed the car. When I drove the car I was blown away. It drives and feels like a new car that just rolled off a 1973 AMC showroom floor!
He finally convinced me! I purchased the car from him that October and my love affair with cars was rekindled. I’ve since added my own personal touches to the car (see “My updates” below) but I’ve kept it as original as possible. It’s a fun car. It gets a lot of attention everywhere I go. With “I haven’t seen one of those in a long time” being the most common remark I hear. It feels so good to have a car that’s so different from the usual “me too” cars you see on the road and at car shows.
I have really come to appreciate this little car and I have a newfound interest and respect for the American Motors Corporation history and the automobile legacy it has left us. My 1973 Hornet is a perfect example of the kind of car that AMC wanted to make to compete with the ever-growing threat from imports. It is the quintessential American economy car of the 1970’s.
|Feb. 2003:||Installed period correct Hornet racing stripe on rocker panels|
|August 2004:||Silver Award junior stock class at CAMO Regional.|
|August 2006:||Silver award in junior stock class at Dayton Ohio Nationals.|
|Nov. 2008:||Replaced tailgate fascia. The new NOS one has the anodized design intact.|
|April 2011:||My Hornet appears in this month’s Collectible Automobile Magazine as part of an article featuring the Hornet.|