Home » What It Might Look Like If Tesla ‘Gremlinized’ The Model 3 To Make A Tesla Model 2

What It Might Look Like If Tesla ‘Gremlinized’ The Model 3 To Make A Tesla Model 2

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Does an AMC Gremlin make you want to vomit? This truncated compact often appears with its Pacer brother on those Worst Cars Of All Time lists, the sort of tiresome click-bait posts typically written by people that aren’t qualified to talk about cars. No, the Gremlin was not a spectacular car, but an outstanding example of cost-effective development that was really no worse than its competitors at the time. It certainly doesn’t cause me to have an urge to toss my lunch, but in a rather ironic twist it seems that ‘vomit’ is indeed part of this little car’s lineage.

American Motor’s compact cars were usually competitive against the Big Three, but in the late sixties they wanted to hit the Volkswagen Beetle subcompact market.

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If you know anything about AMC, you’ll be well aware that America’s last independent automaker was always short on cash, and to make develop this new little import fighter they had the kind of development dollars that GM or Ford might spend on a taillight refresh. Ah, but American Motors had an ace in the hole with design leader Richard ‘Dick’ Teague, a man who could do more with next-to-nothing than the Big Guys could do with the GNP of Tunisia.

Apparently, Teague was flying back home to Wisconsin on a Northwest Orient flight and thinking about this seemingly impossible challenge when an idea hit him. For whatever reason, Dick didn’t have any paper handy, so he grabbed the next best thing he could- the air sickness bag from the seatback in front of him and scribbled out his rough concept:

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American Motors via Silodrome and Psyne

Earlier, Teague had taken the Javelin pony car and chopped out a foot from the wheelbase to turn it into the AMX ‘sports car’, so it made sense in his mind to do a slicing with a cleaver on the 1970 Hornet compact (a car that would stay ultimately stay in production in different forms, like the later Concord and all-wheel-drive equipped Eagle, for nearly two decades). The design team took a Hornet coupe and removed ten inches from the wheelbase and ten inches out of the overall length to make a car an inch shorter than the Beetle. Still, the entire front section of the Hornet and the whole drivetrain was retained, so the tooling and time investment was remarkably minimal for such a different car. AMC knew that it was a rather odd-looking creation, but so was the Beetle. That was part of the appeal. “Nobody would have paid attention if it had looked like one of the Big Three” said Teague. In fact, the company doubled down on this weirdness by making a goofy ‘Gremlin’ character on the badge and even releasing the car on April Fool’s Day.

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Gremlin 2
American Motors, Wikipedia/CZ Marlin

Surprisingly, the Gremlin did sell relatively well, with 670,000 examples leaving AMC dealerships during its 1970-1978 run. Remember, the primary domestic competition for this car was the Ford Pinto and the Chevrolet Vega, so there’s no way on earth that you can call it completely subpar. Other manufacturers actually tried this cut-off-the-back trick later on, like this Peugeot 104ZL. The French car maker took their popular four door hatchback and reduced the length by a foot to make it into a super mini:

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Oddly enough, other manufacturers seemed to be inspired by this idea to do the opposite. Volkswagen famously added a trunk to their iconic Golf hatchback to create the very successful Jetta sedan; a smart move considering that in the early eighties hatchbacks started to fall out of favor with the buying public.

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Such chopping-of-the-sausage car design really doesn’t make sense in today’s more sophisticated automotive world. That isn’t going to stop us from trying it out, of course.

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Just for shits and grins, let’s look at Tesla. Tesla didn’t really chop the sausage as much as it pushed, pulled, and decontented the Model S sausage until it got to the price point they need to be at with their progressively cheaper cars. Unlike AMC, Tesla does not appear to lack for money, but it has to be said that their development capabilities of new models appear to not be their strong suit. That Model S is over a decade old, and the upcoming Cybertruck and Roadster have been upcoming for seemingly forever. None of this means that a Gremlin chop on their least expensive car- the Model 3- is the answer to a low cost vehicle, but it’s probably as good as any, and certainly worth a laugh.

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Tesla

So here’s the proposal: the Tesla Model 2. Like the Gremlin, the Model 2 would essentially be just a Model 3 with the wheelbase and length cut down drastically; everything from the windshield forward would be unchanged, as would be the front seats and chassis [Ed Note: Given the battery is essentially in the floorpan, this seems like it would cut range, but an even cheaper 200-mile Tesla Model 2 could be dope. Also, I’m applying logic to a very illlogical conversation – MH.

Compositor 2The bob-tailed rear would indeed be strange, but hopefully sort of in a ‘shooting brake’ way; a kind of distorted Ferrari GTC4 Lusso. I’m thinking that the rear could open in a ‘clamshell’ way with a flip up rear window and fold down tailgate similar to the much-loved fifth generation Honda Civic hatch.

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Screenshot (718)

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Rear seat comfort would be non-existent, but at least it would be a place for kids or very short rides for adults. In fact, the bottom cushion would be so much shorter than the backrest that you couldn’t fold the seatback down all the way without it hitting the front seatbacks. The solution would be taken partially from the French, so you KNOW it’s gonna be weird. The Renault 16 was one of the first hatchback sedans ever sold, and instead of a fold down seatback, the backrest actually folded up and strapped to the ceiling grab handles to increase cargo space:

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Renault

The Model 2 would have a split rear seatback, but it would be split horizontally down the center.

The bottom section would fold down in the traditional way, while the top section would fold up into the headliner. This might block rear vision slightly but considering that they’re releasing cars today with no back windows at all that might not be an issue, especially with all-cameras-and-self-driving Elon Musk.

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As a lower model, this Tesla compact would be decontented even more than the 3 with fewer features; additionally, there would be fewer power options since with the smaller size and weight this thing could easily outperform the more expensive car. Of course, they could certainly make a ‘hot hatch’ variation to take advantage of this off situation.

Overall, a Tesla Gremlin is an answer to question that would be asked by someone that needs to have their head examined. Still, that doesn’t take away the brilliance of Dick Teague’s idea from half a century ago. Indeed, whether good or bad, the Gremlin is still remembered by people that couldn’t tell you what the Big Three’s concurrent competitors were. The strange, quirky appeal of AMC’s abbreviated compact is present in the Model 2 concept; it’s too bad that the only potential buyers would be people looking at EV replacements for the BMW ‘Clown Shoe’ coupes in their garages.

Relatedbar

A Daydreaming Designer Imagines An AMC Sports Car Based On The Look Of The Pacer – The Autopian

Our Daydreaming Designer Reimagines The AMC Pacer To Make It More Appealing To Normies – The Autopian

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Parts-Bin Puzzle, What-If Edition: Our Daydreaming Designer Imagines AMC Export Cars For France – The Autopian

A Trained Designer Imagines What American Motors Corporation Would Have Been Like If It Had Survived – The Autopian

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10001010
10001010
1 year ago

I really really want this. You guys keep asking what it would take for us to buy an EV. I’d buy a Bishop’s Model 2 Performance today if they made one.

Jeff Wood
Jeff Wood
1 year ago

Nice! Wonder what the gremlinization of the model Y would look like? Little more interior space headroom wise. Three seater with central steering and passengers on left and right just aft of driver, throw in yoke steering wheel to use up NOS inventory.

Peter d
Peter d
1 year ago

Great work! It looks awesome. Having grown up with the Gremlin (& Pacer) they were always interesting cars. My neighbor across the street had at least one of both over the years – they seemed to be fairly rugged and a great commuter car.

Trust Doesn't Rust
Trust Doesn't Rust
1 year ago

That rear end in profile is giving me third-gen Scirocco vibes and I’m very ok with that.

Hugh Crawford
Hugh Crawford
1 year ago

I want one.
Can’t remember wanting any other bishop designs.

Steve Walton
Steve Walton
1 year ago

The nearly vertical back plane would be very bad for the aerodynamics demanded by an electric car, but I like the design.

Toecutter
Toecutter
11 months ago
Reply to  Steve Walton

If you don’t get the rear angle right, a straight cutoff is generally better than a notchback or hatchback that has a steep enough angle to generate turbulence. This way, you can get a Kamm tail design. Of course, Bishop’s shape would need some tweaking to make a good Kamm tail. This sort of shape wouldn’t be able to be as slippery as a Model 3 without extensive redesign work, but it may be possible. See the 2005 Mercedes Bionic concept, which had a 0.19 Cd value, compared to the 0.23 of the Tesla Model 3. Although, even with the right tweaks, it still probably wouldn’t achieve the Bionic’s 0.19 without re-designing the front, for a Gremlin-inspired Kammtail hatchback that retains the same front that the Model 3 has, I think a Cd value around 0.25 is possible. Which would make it equivalernt to a 1st generation Honda Insight.

Genewich
Genewich
1 year ago

Maybe we can get Volvo to bring the C30 back as an EV too.

Sklooner
Sklooner
1 year ago

Tesla 3 meets Mazda 3

Black Peter
Black Peter
1 year ago

While this is great and all… can you render the nose so it doesn’t look like trash? I hate that stupid face
Actually, shouldn’t Tesla be ready for a redesign, or are they just going full Beetle and stick with this one forever?
While this is great and all… can you render the nose so it doesn’t look like trash?
Actually, shouldn’t Tesla be ready for a redesign, or are they just going full Beetle and stick with this one forever?

Last edited 1 year ago by Black Peter
Philip Dunlop
Philip Dunlop
1 year ago
Reply to  Black Peter

Once more with feeling.

DONALD FOLEY
DONALD FOLEY
1 year ago
Reply to  Philip Dunlop

Second verse, same as the first.

SCJeff
SCJeff
1 year ago
Reply to  Black Peter

New model 3 design rumored to be revealed any time now. If the spy shots are accurate you won’t be overwhelmed.

ADDvanced
ADDvanced
1 year ago

I’ve wanted them to make a hatch or wagon for a long time, it boggles my mind they don’t see the overlap of people who like hot hatches and find the performance of a model 3 really enticing.

Dave Garland
Dave Garland
1 year ago

While it’s true that shortening the floor pan reduces space for batteries, that might be partially offset by the reduction in weight.

Jonathan Hendry
Jonathan Hendry
1 year ago
Reply to  Dave Garland

Make it wider and use the space for batteries.

Tim Beamer
Tim Beamer
1 year ago

Lose the frunk, no other ICE hatchback has it, and drop more batteries in the front to keep the range nearly the same.

Stig's Cousin
Stig's Cousin
1 year ago
Reply to  Tim Beamer

That sounds like a reasonable idea (frunks are overrated), but I wonder how badly that would impact handling? A frunk battery would be quite a bit higher than a typical EV battery and it would add a lot of weight to the front of the car.

Jalop Gold
Jalop Gold
11 months ago
Reply to  Stig's Cousin

I love my frunk!

Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
1 year ago

That’s the Lexus 250h.

Martin Witkosky
Martin Witkosky
1 year ago

Cal it the Model 2(+2), acknowledge the back seat would be at best fit only for children or small dogs, and you might have a winner.

Jack Trade
Jack Trade
1 year ago

For some reason, it kinda reminds me of that brief ’10s Lexus version of the Prius, I think it was the CT200, just with the correct amount of doors this time.

Philip Dunlop
Philip Dunlop
1 year ago

As if Elon Musk’s ego would allow two models to share any tooling. Tssk! He’d probably feel the need to commission a new terafactory out of an artificial floating island. With sharks. And lasers.

Plus, it would ruin the puerile “S3XCybertruckY” naming scheme he concocted all by himself.

JDE
JDE
1 year ago

if oly Matt could stop using his 90’s teen “dope” descriptor. Makes him look exactly like the correct definition of the word word.

Matt Hardigree
Matt Hardigree
1 year ago
Reply to  JDE

How do you do, fellow kids?

10001010
10001010
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt Hardigree

Perfectly rad response 😉

Trust Doesn't Rust
Trust Doesn't Rust
1 year ago
Reply to  JDE

Note to self: Stop using “dope”. Check with youths to see if “Not!” and “Talk to the hand” are also no longer suitable.

Second note to self: Remember to take cholesterol pill and make a chiropractor appointment.

Nic Periton
Nic Periton
1 year ago

I was talking with a youths today and used “right on, man” and “that looks the bees knees” . Said youth immediately started using both phrases whilst using their phone! I do so hope I have started something.

Jon Wilson
Jon Wilson
1 year ago

Reminds me of the white 1995 Honda Civic Si I drove in college. I would love to see them do this but I don’t think 2 door affordable cars are much of a thing anymore.

Rust Buckets
Rust Buckets
11 months ago
Reply to  Jon Wilson

Mostly because the average car buyer is 52 years old, the kids have moved out, and ever since Barb’s knee surgery a low car is just not in the cards anymore.

Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
1 year ago

Your Tesla Gremlin looks great and actually solves two problems. First, it gives Tesla the lower price point entry car it lacks and, second, it eliminates production issues because all you have to do is get it wet to make more. Careful though, they can be evil little shits, but then that’s true of all Teslas depending on the mode they’re in.

10001010
10001010
1 year ago
Reply to  Canopysaurus

I never got how that worked. I mean, a glass of spilled water and Gizmo popped out a half dozen evil little shits. Later the science teacher uses an eye dropper to carefully administer a single drop of water on Gizmo to produce a single evil little shit.
Yet in the 3rd act all the Gremlins are shuffling around in a foot of snow and it doesn’t effect them at all. I can accept that only liquid water has this effect, maybe, but surely some of that snow had to have been slushy and liquid, right? Where’s the consistency?
And don’t get me started on the whole “eating after midnight” thing, is that only in the local timezone? What if the gremlin were aboard the ISS circling the planet 16 times a day, would its eating schedule be enforced by the space station’s position relative to the terminator below or just kept in sync with mission control in Houston?

NONE OF THIS MAKES SENSE!!!!

This got out of hand, sorry 😉

Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
1 year ago
Reply to  10001010

Hahaha! This is great!

Freelivin2713
Freelivin2713
11 months ago
Reply to  10001010

The great thing is that it doesn’t have to make sense like anything in movies/shows/etc since it’s just a movie

MrLM002
MrLM002
1 year ago

Now that’s cool!

Personally though I’d just pull out the center console and go with a 3 seat interior with the rear seat in the middle so the rear passenger’s legs go where the center console went, getting rid of the rear seat legroom issue, just add some low profile arm rests so that the front occupants are not resting their arms of the rear passenger’s legs and tada!

It also allows you to narrow the sides behind the front doors more to make the car more teardrop shaped improving aero and in doing so improving the range.

Josh Jones
Josh Jones
1 year ago

I like that a lot more than the 3…. I’m also a fan of the clownshoe, though, so you pretty much got me pegged.

Stryker_T
Stryker_T
1 year ago

that rear seat thing is weird and I don’t want to lose my back window.

but otherwise I really like the body of the concept you’ve come up with here, it’s still the same old Tesla design language, but works surprisingly well, better than the 3, IMO.

Last edited 1 year ago by Stryker_T
Ranwhenparked
Ranwhenparked
1 year ago

This is a great idea, but I’d question whether Tesla would actually be able to sell it for enough less than the Model 3 for it to be worthwhile- probably advertise a 29,990 base model, take a bunch of reservations, cancel it without building any and offer the option of either canceling your reservation or upgrading to the next tier of Model 2 for only $15,000 more

Porschebago
Porschebago
1 year ago

That’s actually a very striking looking concept, and probably not far from what will actually be produced.

10001010
10001010
1 year ago
Reply to  Porschebago

One can hope….

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