AMC Pacer

AMC Pacer (1975-1979)

The AMC Pacer is a three-door compact car of the American Motors Corporation ( AMC) and was built from February 1975 to December 1979. The estate version Station Wagon yet been introduced in the spring of 1977.

Because of his eccentric appearance and due to the large glass areas (37% of vehicle surface ) is one of the Pacer with the most bizarre cars and was also known as "rolling aquarium ", " football on wheels" as well as " big frog " means. The Pacer has now reached cult status and is a sought-after collector's item.


On November 10, 1970, General Motors acquired the license for the construction of rotary engines, which were to be delivered among other things, AMC for the development of a new compact car with cab-forward design. In early 1971, began the chief designer of AMC, Richard Teague, with the first designs for a spacious small car. Experimented with different configuration options for the engine and the seating arrangement, such as a mid-engine, a bench seat facing backwards or an asymmetric motor assembly. Moreover, it was considered to implement the increasing use place in Europe front-wheel drive concept for the American market.

The decision was made in favor of a front -rotor Wankel engine with rear-wheel drive, to the more cost effective to use the default transmission of AMC models and the rear axles of the AMC Matador can. The capacity of the luggage compartment was considerably restricted and limited by the transmission tunnel, the rear row of seats to two places by this decision.

In January 1972, a clay model of the Pacer was assessed by internal experts and well received. A year later, the fiberglass prototype in addition to the 73 models of the AMC Hornet and Gremlin was presented in Dallas. The emission laws recently passed and the oil crisis made ​​sure that GM dropped the use of the silent-running, but thirsty rotary engine.

Although AMC had not purchased a license for the Wankel engine in February 1973, after a conventional engine concept has been realized. Space for the use of the in-house in-line six -cylinder engine was created through modifications in the engine room, which drove the rear axle. Mid-1970s, the U.S. Senate has presented a new draft law, which provided for the tightening of safety regulations for car models from 1980 onwards. The designers of the Pacer knew it the safest for his time U.S. compact car with a windscreen made ​​of laminated glass, a very stiff body with a stable B-pillar and doors with side impact protection. For a more comfortable access to the rear bench, the passenger door was 10 cm longer than the driver's door. Thanks to generous glass areas the clarity of the Pacer was above average. The plan was also a massive rollover bars, which, however, due largely forgiving laws in this form was found to be no longer necessary.


But even without a Wankel engine, the car was interesting. It then had a 4.2- liter six- cylinder, which was also used in the Jeep. From 1978 onwards, a V8 engine was available. The vehicle corresponded in length to a VW Golf IV, its width exceeds to date, the S- Class from Mercedes -Benz. Accordingly, the Pacer with the slogan "The first wide small car " ( " the first wide small car " ) was advertised. Due to the particularly wide track ( 1,550 mm front, 1,529 mm rear) and the low center of gravity of the Pacer was relatively stable driving. Only the strong top-heaviness could lead to a breakout of the rear during hard braking.

Contrary to other American practices included the equipment list several pages. It gearbox, automatic transmission, radio in simple facilities as well as eight-track tape and compact cassette drives were offered. Also the choice of exterior colors and interior was extensive.


  • 3.8 liter R6 90-91 hp ( 66-67 kW)
  • 4.2 liter R6, 97-122 hp ( 71-90 kW)
  • 5.0 liter V8 126-132 hp ( 93-97 kW)


As of March 1, 1975, you could buy a Pacer, and in the year of introduction were sold twice as many Pacer with 145 528 units more like Gerry Meyers had forecast in January 1975. In 1976 the Pacer despite strong stagnating sales figures with a quantity of 117 244 is still more than 40 % of the total AMC production. The Pacer was available from $ 3299 and comes standard with the 3.8 L (232 in ³ ) engine, three-speed column shifter and drum brakes all round (without brake booster ). In this equipment, the Pacer was hardly ordered. On average, the buyers from about 5,000 dollars for a Pacer, mostly upgraded in conjunction with X or D / L- package and various extras. The more powerful 4.2 -liter ( 258- in ³ ) engine and power steering, disc brakes, power brakes, air conditioning and automatic transmission were the most requested additional equipment.

Early 1977 presented AMC developed for $ 12 million estate version of the Pacers. For Teague " one of the simplest projects," on which he had ever worked with. The wagon was up to the B-pillar with the normal Hatchback ( Hatchback ) identical, but received a conventionally -designed rear end, with a 10 cm long overhang. Thus, the trunk of the station wagon model is enlarged by 50% to 1,350 liters at only 33 kg heavier than the standard Pacer. However, the introduction of the Wagon did not lead to a further increase in sales. However, more copies were sold by the estate version as the hatchback model, followed showed the accuracy of the model expansion from its introduction.

The production of the Pacer ended in December 1979. Early 1980, 1746 copies of the Pacer were sold last year, of which 1341 station wagons and 405 hatchbacks. With only 405 vehicles sold, the hatchback version of the Pacer, Model 1980, the rarest Pacer model at all.

Special models

Between 1976 and 1979 the Mexican Vehiculos Automotores Mexicanos (VAM ) built the Pacer with a ³ to 4621 cm ( 282 in ³) drilled six-cylinder, which was provided with 174 HP exclusively for the hatchback model.

The AMC dealer Randall of Mesa / Arizona - specialist for AMC muscle cars - took on a Pacer small series with the 6571 cc (401 in ³) V8 engine. The original AMC engine with 401 cubic inches and 215 hp was tuned by Mike Randall, among others, Edelbrock intake manifold, # 310 camshafts and a 600- cfm Holley four -barrel carburetor. As performance Randall "300 " as horsepower and consumption 9.5 mpg ( 24.7 liters per 100 km) stated.

The Pacer is one of the exceptional cars. The route to Germany have only a few copies found in France and in Switzerland, he is, however, much more frequently to see. In the meantime, have all produced vehicles acquired the classic car status.

Film and Television

  • In the French film a beef of 1976, the son moves ( Coluche ) of the restaurant critic Charles Duchemin (Louis de Funès ) a Pacer X.
  • In David Byrne film True Stories (1986 ) John Goodman runs a green Pacer.
  • A blue Pacer is seen in Sylvester Stallone movie Cobra (1986).
  • In the road movie Crossroad Blues - pact with the devil Pacer stands on a pile of junk in the junkyard.
  • In an episode of the TV series The Golden Girls Sophia Petrillo announced her daughter Dorothy: " You're the biggest misstep who has ever entered a street, since the AMC Pacer! "
  • In the movie Wayne's World 1992 drive Wayne Campbell (Mike Myers ) and Garth Algar ( Dana Carvey ) equipped with a liquorice stick dispenser, light blue, with flames painted Pacer, which they called the Mirth Mobile. In Wayne 's World 2 of 1993, the rock group Aerosmith drives up in a super- streched Pacer with double rear axle, additional doors and the inscription Mirthlimo 1.
  • As a result, Dark Horizon ( 1994), the science- fiction television series Alien Nation is a Tenctonier owner of a yellow Pacer Station Wagon, which also turns out to be as a crime scene.
  • In Goofy - The Movie 1995 Goofy driving a Pacer.
  • In Men in Black II is in the opening credits of the film, Mysteries in History to see a black Pacer.
  • In the feature film Starsky & Hutch 2004 shot of a red Pacer on the two main characters.
  • In Icelandic independent film A Little Trip to Heaven from the 2005 lead actor Forest Whitaker drives a somewhat dilapidated Pacer.
  • The Austrian artist Erwin Wurm makes in his seven-minute video Tell ( 2007/ 08) a Pacer go up a vertical wall.
  • In Adventureland 2009 Emily " Em " (Kristen Stewart) is driving a Pacer.
  • In the movie Friendship! (2010) go Veit and Tom as a hitchhiker in a Pacer Station Wagon with.
  • In the movie, Starstruck - The star, who loved me from the 2010 sinking a pink Pacer for a random walk in the mud.
  • In the music video for the 2010 released single Happiness of the U.S. singer Alexis Jordan a Pacer is one of the main scenes.
  • In the Pixar animated film Cars 2 from 2011, several Pacer are seen as villains.