AMC's 1970's typography

17 mar 2020

original page, 2004


When I first created this page in 2004 quasi-intelligent services (in this case, pattern matching) were fairly novel, and I was then very surprised at how well it worked.

In 2020, I'm surprised that the site referenced, WhatTheFont, still exists. Now that sounds like slight, but there are many reasons why they could be long-gone, including runaway success. That's more commentary on the internet itself, not the talents at WhatTheFont which are clearly plentiful.

Alas, in 2004, 2005 the fonts it offered up were mostly free. That seems to no longer be the case. No surprise there.

AMC type faces, or "close enough"

In 2004 I purchased this 1970 Hornet and was researching different ideas on what to do with it. At that time I was looking to to make graphics that matched/were compatible with the original AMC typography.

At an AMClist member's suggestion, I uploaded a cleaned-up (but quite terrible) photo of the "Gremlin" sticker (below) from the back of my 1975 Gremlin X to WhatTheFont, expecting nothing useful. Was I wrong!

Photograph of the original AMC "Gremlin" graphic sticker:

(In 2004 said photo required a film camera and flatbed scanner, which I had, or one of the early digital cameras, which I can tell you from experience were quite terrible. 30 seconds per photo, one hour battery life, floppy discs, etc.)

It turned up matching two faces: Rocket and Magneto. WhatTheFont allows you to type in sample text, which it renders in the font you've chosen.

So when I typed in "Rambler", in both fonts, it almost perfectly recreated the Rambler "R" AMC used in the 1960's -- from the same face used in what would at first appear to be the totally different face used in "Gremlin".

Below is "Gremlin" rendered in Magneto Bold Extended. I'm no typographer, but it sure looks to me like these faces are related. While the G is very different (AMC chose a more grade-school looking G) note that the little "r" that follows it is almost identical -- the little hump on the upstroke, and the raised start of that stroke is linked to the bar in the "G" in the same way.

For comparison, the original AMC "Gremlin" graphic sticker:

Below is "Rambler" rendered in Rocket. That "R" sure looks like 1963! The rest of the script AMC used on cars looks more like Magneto; probably it's neither, either borrowed from the same source(s), or have some other common root.

Here's "Rambler" done in Magneto; an "R" similar to this was used by AMC also, for example 61? 62? gas cap and other places. This one is a little top-heavy to be used standalone.

Just for amusement, above is "Gremlin" done in the older Rambler typeface.

Anyone have a copy of that original AMC typeface? Or Brochures etc with text in that face?

There is also Airflyte, a font re-created from Nash printed sources. It's a bit heavy for my tastes but it looks pretty accurate.