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Foose vs. the AMC Pacer: How Would He Take Care Of AMC’s Glass Egg?

Foose vs. the AMC Pacer: How Would He Take Care Of AMC’s Glass Egg?

Picking on the AMC Pacer is almost passé simply because it’s too easy. American Motors really wanted the Pacer to be something special, their rotary-powered hatchback that felt like a big car but wasn’t. It didn’t work out well, and that’s being fair. The rotary mill didn’t happen, the styling was somewhere between controversial and gut-wrenching. And from a professional perspective, it’s difficult to say, because any Dick Teague design had merit of some kind. For the Pacer, Teague was going for maximum interior room and plenty of open space. He got that part right, but the car had enough glass on it to become an oven in the right sunlight. If you bought one of these and you lived in Phoenix, you either paid for air conditioning or you sweat out a quarter of your body’s water weight a day.

The Pacer tends to be a punching bag because of it’s “Glass Ass” looks and it’s pure 1970s aesthetic, but can it be saved? I think so. One of AMC’s concept vehicles towards the end of the 1970s, the Am Van, was surprisingly close to the Pacer in overall look: wide and compact. Somebody at Hagerty seemed to think so, because they asked Chip Foose to take on the Pacer and see if he could make something out of one. His first move is to get rid of some glass. You’ll have to watch the video for the rest of the handiwork!

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7 thoughts on “Foose vs. the AMC Pacer: How Would He Take Care Of AMC’s Glass Egg?

  1. jerry z

    I hope someone finances the build of the Foose designed Pacer. He sure took a lot of ugly out of the car.

  2. Danno

    Foise is an amazing dude. Only thing that I would have liked to have seen in the drawing would be to chop the top to improve the proportion of the top portion of the car to the bottom.

  3. Sheely Petersem

    Foose is a dunderheaded fool. Anyone who says the early AMX is ugly needs to be kicked in the fruits.

  4. Bob J

    Well, I worked at an AMC dealer when the Pacer was introduced, and I can tell you they sold like ice on a hot day. We couldn’t even keep them in stock for more than a few days — seriously. BTW, the more expensive the list (window sticker was) the quicker they sold. Part of what spoiled the Pacer, was GM’s reneging of the Wankel engine. AMC had counted on GM honoring their commitment (AMC as teaming with GM) for those engines and sharing development costs. AMC was screwed, and if you’ll look at the engine compartment of a Pacer, you’ll note just how short it is. (the AMC V8 fits much better than the inline six, which actually has to intrude in the cowl area). The federally mandated crash bumpers were ugly, and huge, so the design was limited. They didn’t get particularly good gas mileage ~13-15MPH around town, maybe 20-22 MPG highway. They were roomy and very comfortable and believe it or not, they handled well. They typically weighed ~3,500-3,800 lbs. AMC just did’t have the financial resources to survive. Jeeps kept AMC alive.

    They can be pretty cool with a 401 AMC in them ;^).

    Just my .02

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