Vintage Automobile Club of Ocean County Historical & Classic Cars

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Based on a 1971 sketch by Dick Teague, the AMC Pacer was initially designed to be front wheel drive with a Wankel rotary engine under development by General Motors. When the fuel crisis and technical problems killed off that engine, AMC had to use an existing straight six and a rear drive layout. To cut redesign costs, the car was widened 6 inches to make room for the driveshaft. Thus the Pacer was introduced on March 1, 1975 as the “first wide small car” and the first with a cab forward design. Approximately 279,000 were built in its six model years including 60,500 Pacer wagons, introduced in 1977. Often criticized for its “fish bowl” appearance (37% of its surface area was glass), the Pacer was ahead of its time with a round shape in an era of basically slab sided cars. The passenger door was 4 inches wider than the driver’s door to encourage passengers to enter on the curb side of the car. There were two available in-line six engines: a standard 90 HP, 232 cubic inch unit and an optional 110 HP, 258 cubic inch engine both with 8:1 compression. A 3-speed column mounted manual transmission was standard, but column and floor mounted automatics and floor mounted manual were also available. The Pacer “X” was the sporty option package (manual floor shift, vinyl buckets, sway bar etc.) and the “D/L” package that included such luxury items such as special moldings and basketry fabric reclining seats. Notable Pacer owners included Conway Twitty and Bridget Bardot.

1975 Pacer Specifications:
Wheelbase: 100 inches   Overall Length: 171.5 inches    Front/Rear Tread: 61.2 inches/60.2 inches
Width: 77 inches        Tire size: 6.95 x 14            Factory List Price: $3299 
Weight: 2995 pounds