The AMC Pacer: A Blast From The Past

The AMC Pacer


pacerThe AMC Pacer: Every once in a while you find yourself driving down the road, and all of a sudden you see a vehicle roll by that makes your head turn, and you ask yourself “What was that?” If you were around in the middle of the 1970s, you probably had the this experience the first time you encountered an AMC Pacer.

American Motors was always subject to an identity crisis, because it was difficult to impossible for them to go head to head with the Big Three niche by niche. They had to pick their spots and offer something that the others were not, and the Pacer was introduced to this end in 1975. It is said that the concept of the Pacer started with considering the space needed for the driver and passengers, and then proceeding to build around them as efficiently as possible.

The company anticipated a public outcry for smaller, more fuel efficient vehicles as lessons were learned from the oil crisis that took place a couple of year’s prior to the Pacer’s release. They were right on target, as sales of the 1975 Pacer reached a total of 145,528 units. The initial standard engine in the AMC Pacer was the 232 cubic inch six-cylinder, and a 256 ci I-6 option was available as well, though the original plan was to use a Wankel rotary engine.

From a stylistic perspective, the Pacer was unique, virtually all glass from the body up. It was a futuristic look, but as original as it was, that out-of-the-box appearance was largely to blame for the vehicle’s demise. Richard Teague’s daring design enjoyed its “15 minutes of fame,” but the novelty wore off quickly, and the Pacer was discontinued after the 1980 model year.

That was thirty years ago, and though the Pacer did not carry a high price tag and was produced in pretty large numbers, its value among collectors is on the rise. There’s a good bit of interest in 1970s oddities that defined this fleeting era of disco and leisure suits, and a well-preserved The AMC Pacer is a sight to behold. They have been known to fetch as much as $6,000 in perfect condition, and that’s not bad considering the fact that the 1975 Pacer carried a base price tag of $3,299 when it was brand new.

Contributed by Fossil Cars Staff Writer

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2 Responses to The AMC Pacer: A Blast From The Past

  1. Anna Beth says:

    I Love Pacers! In 2005, my Dad and I began to restore a 1976 Pacer X for my very first car. I was 14 when he found it in the woods where it had been sitting for 18 years. During the rebuild, he discovered that a modern Jeep 4.0L H.O. engine would practically bolt right in! The project snowballed from there and took two years to finish. We then entered it in the Hot Rod Magazine Power Tour in ’07, and began the trip with only 25 miles on the car, and drove it 2700 miles during the tour! The magazine staff liked it so much, they chose my Pacer to be the featured car in the November 2007 Power Tour issue. We have since then done two more Power Tours, won ‘Most Interesting Car’ at the ‘Cruisin The Coast’ event, and won first place in two World of Wheels car shows. It won ‘Best AMC’ at the Mopar Nationals in Dallas, and was chosen as one of the Top Ten out of 647,00 cars by the editor-in-chief of It was also picked by the NYT editors as a top 30 finalist in the 2010 New York Times Collectible Cars Contest.
    If you would like to see my Pacer, visit my web site and also check it out here:
    Thanks! Anna Beth

  2. Pingback: Why the Pacer was Perfect for Wayne’s World - Fossil Cars Blog

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