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Upon further thought, I must confess I was kinda hard on KISS in yesterday’s “Rock and Roll Over” post.

It’s unfair to say they left lots of money on the table in terms of merchandising back in the ’70s. For one thing, people just didn’t have the same vision then, in terms of rock’s selling power.

And for another, KISS’ core fans were all 17 back then. They hadn’t been out in the full-time workforce, and hadn’t built up enough discretionary income to be able to afford things like KISS wall murals and KISS ocean cruises — er, “kruises.”

That’s a shame, because today I thought of the all-time greatest KISS tie-in that should have been but never was:

The KISS Gremlin.

Think of it — a partnership between New York’s finest costume-rock band and Kenosha’s finest automaker.

An AMC Gremlin (we’ll say a ’77, not that it matters) with a black paint job, complementary silver stripes, and the four faces of KISS on the hood.

Or even better: Four separate KISS Gremlins, each one black and bearing the name and facial motif of one of the band members. You thought it was hard deciding whether to buy the Ace Frehley solo album or the Paul Stanley solo album? Wait ’til you see their cars.

AMC, of course, produced a real-world Levi’s Gremlin model with blue denim interior. Seems to me that would be the perfect interior for the KISS Gremlin, in keeping with the average KISS fan’s sartorial style. (OK. Either denim, or black vinyl.)

America being what it is, I acknowledge the possibility that some madman in Ohio or Kansas or someplace could have actually made his own home-painted KISS Gremlin.

I am not aware of such a thing, though, and have not Googled it. I’m almost afraid to find out.


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