It’s difficult to overstate the collective visual impact of all the bizarre design choices American Motors Corp. decided to incorporate on a single vehicle. By refining fashion faux pas to a fine art, AMC managed to create a very innovative, serviceable and to many, desirable automobile that was as expected on a showroom floor as the Grateful Dead in their appearance on Saturday Night Live. Yet in the miraculous world of 1978 America, both of these things simultaneously occurred.
If Yankees hadn’t won the World Series (again) that year, it would have been mass hysteria with the total breakdown of society, and we’d all be living in mud huts today. But even with the counterbalancing force provided by the Bronx Bombers, nothing has been the same since Jerry Garcia’s beard clogged the lenses of the NBC studio cameras, and the Pacer became a familiar sight in driveways across America.
Some 40 years later – damn has it been that long? – our little buddy has become a bit of a minor classic.
Despite the fact that AMC knew how controversial the vehicle would be to many Americans, they pushed ahead with creating a car that was different…VERY different than anything that came before it.
Road & Track called the Pacer “fresh, bold, and functional-looking.” Which to me is a bit of a back-handed complement, like saying “that’s a lovely man-purse you are carrying”, or “I didn’t know librarians could do that.”
Every iteration that the AMC prototype team came up with was met by American Motors’ VP of Design, Dick Teague (it was back in the day when the nickname for Richard didn’t get you instantly laughed at or accused of being toxically masculine) telling them to go back to the shop and make it chubbier. So chubbier it became. Not that there’s anything wrong with chubby. Tons of people…er…I mean a lot of people enjoyed the squatty, stable, efficient, unique econo-luxe coupe.
As if the coupe (really, a hatchback) wasn’t weird enough, there was what could be called a stretch-coupe as well. This was sort of a wagon of the shooting-brake variety, being an elongated 3-door. Following the design language of a bowl haircut, the Pacer also could be called on to perform double-duty as a solar cooker in the low altitudes of Arizona.
Having a very large proportion of glass (approximately 37%), insolation in hot environments could allow owners to cook a decent sized chicken with seasonal vegetables faster than a crock pot. Had the compact vehicle been fitted with optional Dutch Ovens, it’s unexplored food truck capability may have served as many patrons as a refurbished Airstream trailer, and with much lower energy cost. One can only wonder as to why my business advice is rarely taken.
This particular 1978 AMC Pacer Wagon has a measly 27,333 miles and features green metallic paint with woodgrain panels and light colored (actual) wood trim. Tan interior looks to be in good shape and the pseudo-burl dashboard is a smile-inducing throwback to the 1970’s.
The car has factory installed AC, and has a V8 engine mated to an auto transmission. Seller states that it is in like new condition and has always been garaged. This rear-wheel-drive compact wagon has a clean title and is ready to be driven.
You can contact the seller HERE on craigslist for more information. Do not expect the seller to include a Dutch Oven, or recipes for lentil soup.
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