• Dec 27, 2006
While it is perhaps not terribly far-fetched to think that there are folks who like the Pacer, this just seems like an unhealthy attachement. In the process of keeping his own very fine looking '76 alive, Curt Uhrin felt guilty about just stripping bits off those cars that gave their lives so that his may live on. Guilty enough, in fact, to create a website devoted to keeping their memories alive. Curt took pictures of the junkyard cars as they lay in state and wrote wistful descriptions that make us want to go cuddle their rounded little fenders and restore them to their AMC funk-shack glory daze.
While the Pacer wasn't a bad car, per se, it was really uniquely styled. This was probably the car's most off-putting feature, as the running gear was pretty solid stuff.. Enough time has passed to make this once hideous car look almost cool. Kind of like E.T. -- so homely it's cute. One thing is for sure, AMC lovers definitely have underdog complexes, and what better underdog to love than one that's not only quirky (all AMCs are quirky), but pug-faced, to boot?

[Source: Hemmings]


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  • 12 Comments
      • 8 Years Ago
      AMC did the most with the least, AMX, Eagle with 4WD, Cheorkee, Wrangler.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Looks like too many people have visited. I hope he can move it to a blog site or other ISP that doesn't restrict bandwidth like GeoCities, as I'd love to see it.
      • 8 Years Ago
      #4, it was the PASSENGER SIDE DOOR that was longer/wider, not the driver's side door. This was so that people could get into the back seat more easily, curbside.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Shoehorned the six into the engine bay, is right. Cylinders 5 and 6 were essentially under the instrument panel and way back, beyond under the edge of the windshield. It took a contortionist to change spark plug #6 at the rear of the engine, believe me, I had a 1975 Pacer.

      Mine was a D/L with almost all the bells & whistles for the day, you know - 8 track, cruise control, optional 258-six (ooooh, 110 horsepower instead of 100).

      Couldn't get out of it's own way, got 18 mpg at 55 mph and 17 mpg at 70 to 80 mpg so being young and dumb, and driving between the Air Force Base in middle-of-nowhere to my folks' house on the opposite side of the state (with forests, deer & skunks between) guess what speed I drove it?

      Just about every other week, whether it needed to or not, it broke and pretty well consistently cost me $70 to fix whatever broke. Power steering hose. Computer. Ignition module. You name it. Pretty piss-poor for a 2 year old car.

      It was my last AMC product. They deserved to go bust, just as GM, Ford, DCX and VW do now.

      Build CRAP and your customer base will disappear.

      As for Japanese cars of the era, yeah, they rusted out but so did everything else up north, just maybe slightly slower. By the mid 1980's the Japanese cars began to improve, in that department, as all cars did.
      • 8 Years Ago
      The styling wasn't that bad. The ultra low beltline was daring for its time, as was the swept-back front end, glassy greenhouse, and rounded corners. Other automakers didn't catch up to these design features for a good decade.

      Not that I'm arguing the Pacer was a "successful" design per se. Rather, it is a tragic example of visionary ideas compromised in fatal ways, such as the overly large windshield, windows that didn't fully roll down, and a body that was far too wide. Perhaps most importantly, the Pacer was too heavy . . . more so than even the downsized late-70s Chevy Malibu. CAFE fuel economy standards sealed the fate of this platform, which otherwise should have been the basis for a new generation of AMC cars.
      • 8 Years Ago
      we mirrored the information on the Geocities page at the Hemmings blog: http://blog.hemmings.com/index.php/2006/12/26/pacer-graveyard/
      • 8 Years Ago
      The station wagon wasn't bad looking. AMC realized that it couldn't compete with the Big 3 by offering "me-too" cars so they tried to be different. Supposely this car was to use a GM Wankel engine, but when GM cancelled the engine, AMC had to shoehorn one of their 6s into the engine compartment.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I agree with Steven T. in that the Pacer was a good design that was, unfortunately, compromised. If this car had ever gotten the rotary engine it was pretty much designed for...it would be considered as more of a ground breaking design. But as an economy car, well, AMC was REALLY stretching the limits with that idea.


      Imagine, of all the world's car manufacturers, AMC offered a car where the driver's side door was longer than the passenger's side door. (The only other "modern car" to ever offer this was the Ford Windstar.) And only AMC would offer "economy" cars...with V8 engines, while Ford and GM tried, somewhat unsucessfully to squeeze a few more miles per gallon out of largish 4 cylinder engines.
      • 8 Years Ago
      My wife absolutely loved her yellow 1977 Pacer station wagon. It cost about the same as a Honda Civic new, consumed twice the gasoline, but was 1000-times safer on the road.

      She had very few mechanical issues with it and drove it for 10 very satisfying years until it succumbed to rust. Hondas of the day were biodegradable and were usually in the scrap yard within five years. That made the Pacer a superior value on a life cycle cost basis!
      CarLover2
      • 5 Years Ago
      I owned a marina blue 1975 Pacer coupe for six years, from 1977 to 1983, and loved that car! It had the optional side vent windows, remote sport mirror, power steering, automatic, and the larger indestructible 258 cu. in. six cylinder engine with only 25,000 miles on it.(No Air - but I lived in Minnesota) The car had a big car ride. When I traded it in the Ford sales manager went out and test drove it. When he came back he said "Your car handles better then the new Mustangs I'm selling!" (Thank you rack and pinion steering) Yes the car did breakdown several times in those six years, but it always happened less then 200 feet from a service station.(thermostat and brakes) During one of our worst winter days in the early eighties, I had to go outside and start my Pacer. The air temp. was 35 below zero. On the first crank it started......enough said.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I had a 76, bought used and badly neglected. It was an odd one, having the rally package, and of all things, a four speed manual with the 258" inline 6.

      Yeah, it looked nutty. But it was, up to that time and well beyond, the best road car I ever had. It had a heater that could roast a turkey, air conditioning that could freeze sides of beef, very comfortable seats, plenty of visibility, and a ton of headroom even for a big ol' grizzly like me. It was, as I called it, the perfect bear car.

      It also had another interesting attribute not often noted: it handled well. I fitted a set of good Nitto radials to it, and replaced the factory shocks because they were so far gone when I bought it. My favorite game with this car was to be right behind some hot-shot kiddie in his Wabbit, or some CPA with his brand new (and no doubt leased) Audi as they zoomed through a freeway transition ramp. Must have humiliated the hell out of some of them, seeing not just another car keeping up with their precision German driving machines, but... a Pacer!

      The only car I have owned since that was a better road car was my 95 Intrepid, and even that could not beat the Pacer for comfort and climate control.

      I'd love to get my hands on one in good shape, just for the fun of it.
        • 6 Years Ago
        My mom bought a brand new loaded 75 pacer, with the DL package, it had a/c, am/fm 8track, air, rally wheels, the works.
        We teased her to no end about the car's looks, but I have to admit that the car was pretty nice to drive. It had a ton of room, lots of legroom, headroom, and because of the width it also had plenty of shoulder room. And the long wheelbase made for plenty of legroom in the rear seat as well.
        Because the car was nearly as wide as it was long it would turn corners like a sports car, with almost no lean whatsoever, and was impervious to headwinds. The seats were fairly comfortable.
        The 258 amc six was virtually indestructible, and was such a good design that chrysler continued to use it in jeeps until 07, when it was finally dropped.