AMC's Pacer. He should have been so frugal

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The AMC Pacer, that was a highly innovative car by American standards. "A car long and one and a half cars wide". It became a car that people walked away with. And the runaways were the deciding factor. In the March issue of AMK you can read about these Americans who combined deadness with toughness and an uninhibited degree of finishing.

The AMC Pacer

After the oil crisis of '73, there was a demand for fuel-efficient (r) cars. Because American cars had a relatively high fuel consumption, AMC developed a small American car: the Pacer.

The Pacer was designed by Richard Teague. In 1971 he made a sketch of the design of the Pacer, where he claimed he came up after watching an American football game. And possibly a few Budweisers had caught it.

The Pacer was introduced in March. It was 436 centimeters long and 196 (!) Centimeters wide. The Pacer was therefore a car the length of a small car, but with the width of a full size American car. Originally, the Pacer would be powered by a wankel engine, but at the last minute it was decided (partly due to the consumption of a wankel engine) to mount a conventional six-cylinder engine.

The Pacer was a special car. A third of the bodywork was made of glass, and the right door was 10 centimeters wider than the left, to make getting into the rear easier. This was less convenient in the United Kingdom. To keep it British for a moment: the Pacer was also wider than a Roll-Royce Silver Shadow, so the driver had difficulty getting out in parking garages.

Although the intention was to design a fuel-efficient car with the Pacer, that did not work. Due to the heavy engines and the glass that largely made up the body, a Pacer weighed around 1500 kilos, and that weight cost fuel ...

1976, also the last model year of the full sized Americans, was successful for the Pacer: no less than 117.244 were sold. From 1977 the station wagon version was made that is the story in AMK 03, that station wagon became more popular than the normal version. From 1978 onwards, the Pacer was completely separate from the fuel-saving concept and available with a V8. In the same year he also got a new, Mercdes-Benz-like front.

The oil crisis of 1979 meant the end for the Pacer. In 1980, the last year in which the AMC Pacer was sold, only 1746 found a home. And those were cars from the remainder of the year before that too.



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    • Say that the best proof today is to take over PSA with its nonsense strategy with the DS brand and the Opel / Vauxhall plan.
      I have a lot of background information about the past of the American car industry. You have my e-mail

  1. GM would deliver the shaky but its development was called off in 74. AMC received compensation from GM but was without a suitable engine. The entire front train was redesigned to put AMC's ancient L6 under the hood of the Pacer. This made the interior space too tight and it was decided to widen the car. The boring thing was that at AMC daughter Jeep the original Buick-developed “Fireball V6” was unused on the shelves. It was sold to GM again for a pittance ...

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