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American Alternative: Reflect On The AMC Pacer, The Car That Tried It’s Best

American Alternative: Reflect On The AMC Pacer, The Car That Tried It’s Best

My stepfather is the kind of man that makes most people nervous. He looks like he’s ready for violence at any point in time. His voice goes from quiet and deadly to death metal at full volume in a matter of seconds. He’s built like a brick shithouse. And he likes pugs. Yeah…big mean man, dude loves those snorting little dogs that look like their first few steps in the world involved running straight-faced into the nearest brick wall. “They’re so ugly, they’re cute.” That’s what he said as I was attached by two happy, snarfling pups. And I get it. The pug is many things, but it isn’t handsome, that’s for sure. A Rottweiler is handsome. A German Shephard is handsome. A Pug? It’s ugly…but somehow it’s cute, with it’s flopping tongue and raspy breathing noises.

That’s about the same way to view the AMC Pacer. Even if you think that it’s a train wreck, you have to give AMC the credit that it is due: they were at least trying their asses off to find the mark. AMC magic man Richard Teague was seriously screwed over by American Motors’ budget. He had talents like you wouldn’t believe and was working with sawdust and a prayer. He had hopes and dreams and AMC did their damndest to help make them real, but it could’ve been better. It could’ve been more economical if AMC had looked at the gearing and added forward gears. It could’ve be more sporty if the glass ass rear shape had been molded down into something radical…I’ve seen a roof chop on one of these with a whale tail like an old Porsche, and it looks like AMC’s version of a Porsche 928. They could’ve made it into a ute with a slight bit of length added, and that would’ve looked…well…great, actually.

Instead, it is what it is: not a barge, not an import, not a desirable, but a collector nonetheless.

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3 thoughts on “American Alternative: Reflect On The AMC Pacer, The Car That Tried It’s Best

  1. Matt Cramer

    And on top of all that, they weren’t able to get the rotary engine they’d designed the car around, and had to change it to their straight six at the last minute. I’m not sure the original plan to run the Pacer on a rotary would have been better or just even weirder.

    Supposedly Porsche admitted to copying the Pacer with its 928 rear windows.

  2. Dave Killian

    I had a 77 Black Wagon with 4 speed trans w/dog dish covers. Best camping vehicle ever, tons of room.

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