1971 AMC Hornet SC/360 – clumsy but fast

Originally only produced in low numbers (between August 1970 and February 1971 there were just 784 produced), the 1971 AMC Hornet SC 360 was never a popular seller, not like the offerings from the manufacturers.

But the strength of the Hornet was understated power; something that the insurance companies of the time didn’t really pick up on. In fact, AMC’s marketing literature states “Introducing a sensible alternative to the money-squeezing, insurance-strangling muscle cars of America”.

1971 AMC Hornet SC 360 brochure

1971 AMC Hornet SC/360 Design

Fairly standard looking, and near enough the same as the standard Hornet, but there were a few touches unique to the SC 360; a stamped aluminum grille, flying Hornet badges on the chrome gas cap and a fiberglass hood scoop (which was standard but was also offered as part of the Ram-Air package).

1971 AMC Hornet SC 360 design

A ‘racing’ stripe in contrasting color was part of the design, it was available in black, white or red.

1971 AMC Hornet SC 360 Interior

The Hornet SC/360 had two choices of trim for the interior; vinyl or serape checked fabric. The steering wheel was labelled as ‘Rim-Blow’ as there was no air conditioning option available from the factory. On the glovebox was a small SC 360 decal, to intents, the SC/360 was near identical to the standard Hornet. The SC 360 also had the 8,000 RPM tacho fitted.

1971 AMC Hornet SC 360 interior

1971 AMC Hornet SC 360 Specs

Two choices for power, although both based on the same V8, the name SC/360 comes from the 360 cid (5.9 liter) motor. The first was the 2 barrel carb version creating 245 BHP and 365 lb/ft of torque, the second being the four-barrel which produced 285 BHP and 390 lb/ft. 3 transmission were available; 3-speed manual and auto and a 4-speed manual, all three were available as floor shift or column.

1971 AMC Hornet SC 360 specs

Manual drum brakes were fitted as standard, although there were options for powered drums and even disks.

1971 AMC Hornet SC/360 Performance

Performance was as you’d expect from this sort of car, doing a ¼ mile in about 14 seconds with a top speed of just over 110 MPH.

1971 AMC Hornet SC 360 performance

1971 AMC Hornet SC 360 Collectability and price

As the other muscle car prices rocketed, people starting switching over to the smaller independent brands like AMC. This of course pushed the prices up, so those in the know, started to collect the Hornet SC/360, which remained relatively unknown.

1971 AMC Hornet SC 360 exterior

The chassis is prone to rust, so be aware before purchasing, but on the whole, expect to pay between $8,000 and $20,000 for one. Add a further 5% for the 285 BHP V8 and another 15% for the four-speed transmission.

1971 AMC Hornet SC/360 images