American Motors’ Pacer Hemmings Motor News

18 Май 2015 | Author: | Комментарии к записи American Motors’ Pacer Hemmings Motor News отключены
American Classic Motors Road

A Piece of Tomorrow

Feature from Hemmings Classic Car

it was first introduced, the automotive loved it. Then, within a time, they hated it. collectors are beating the bushes for pristine original or good examples.

No doubt about it, Pacer has had a remarkable ride past three decades.

To how such an unusual car came to be let’s face it, few cars of the era are weirder than a Pacer), you to understand what the automobile went through in the 1970s. The list of independent American Crosley, Studebaker, etc.-had over time until, by only American Motors AMC had prospered by offering products were different from the Big Three automakers sold.

in the 1960s, AMC president Roy Abernethy AMC’s course for a while, cars designed to compete against the Big Three. The result was and by 1967, AMC was close to bankruptcy. a leadership change, the company but out of the ordeal grew a strong to a product policy AMC called its of Difference.

Basically, this that AMC should build that were different the Big Three-otherwise, why should anybody an AMC versus, say, an Oldsmobile? A big of Rambler’s success was that it was the compact car. The Hornet was a great seller because it was only compact station and the Ambassador was the only car with air conditioning. In each of these being different was the key to success.

So when the time came to another new car, AMC’s and product planners had plenty of in their Philosophy of Difference.

In of planning was product group president Gerald Meyers. His was to develop a car that was truly so obviously right for the times buyers would flock to AMC Said Meyers, Everything we do must distinguish itself as importantly different than can be expected from the competition.

there would be very reason for somebody to consider Motors products. ‘Me is wrong for American Motors.

AMC had out America’s first compact the Rambler; America’s first station wagon, the 1956 Cross Country; and America’s subcompact, the Gremlin. For 1975, decided to bring out America’s er. wide small car, the So you might wonder-why?

Meyers and his planners considered the environment people lived and drove in. We saw the urban sprawls that from Los Angeles to San Diego no break. And congestion, pollution, energy shortages.

From we began to piece together the key for the Pacer. It wasn’t going to be another car but a whole new method of for the next decade.

The assignment to this new transportation device was to the Advanced Styling studio Chuck Mashigan. Envisioned was a car exterior dimensions small to be able to zip in and out of traffic easily, yet as much interior room as an car. In other words, the size of a Chevy Malibu the exterior size of a Vega.

Of course, it had to have beautiful too. It was a tall order.

crew was up to the job. A 100-inch as the original Rambler-was settled on. showed it would provide comfortable interior space for a To achieve the very compact dimensions called for, the would have to discard ideas of design proportions, the length of the hood compared to the of the main body.

The large area would be mated to a short, severely sloped end.

But the key to the Pacer’s interior was its width. Car manufacturers traditionally vehicle width to the minimum for the intended market. Although is a car’s longest dimension, width adds considerably to material expense because it the entire length of the car. In words, one inch of width fifteen feet of length a big increase in costs.

But width is one of the most important ways to cars a real improvement in room as well as a feeling of greater spaciousness. Designers that one extra half-inch of can make a car seem very roomier. Keeping that in understand that the Pacer’s width of 77 inches was 3 inches than a Ford Granada, 5.3 more than a Plymouth and nearly a foot wider Chevrolet’s Vega!

AMC actually a Chevy Nova inside a replica of a Pacer body to dramatize the Pacer’s extreme

Yet the Pacer’s overall length was a 171.5 inches-more than two shorter than a Ford that included huge safety bumpers. Conventional was discarded as designers also asymmetrical doors-the passenger-side was four inches longer the driver’s-side door, for easier to the rear seat. Both curved into the roof for greater ease of entry.

The hatchback door opened up to a large luggage area, could be expanded by folding the seat down. Equipped a standard 90hp, engine, the Pacer was a trifle but a larger 95hp, (also with a one-barrel was offered. Mid-year brought a 120hp version of the which provided more go.

The unusually large 22-gallon gas assured an over 500-mile range in that fuel-short The Pacer was also the first AMC car to rack-and-pinion steering. This, with Pacer’s wide made for a car with exceptionally handling, and an isolated front helped provide a smooth, ride.

Visibility was astonishing. The boasted one of the largest window in the business, 5,615 square and a very low belt line. In the belt line was so low that the windows could not roll fully-a raised door was fitted so passengers didn’t to rest their arms on the of the door glass.

Development were high, $60 million, or times what AMC had spent the Gremlin. The new Pacer was introduced to the in February and March 1975. Motors bragged, When you buy any car, all you end up with is today’s

When you get a Pacer, you get a piece of

Pacer came in three sporty X and luxury D/L. models, beginning at $3,299, really plain, with hubcaps, bench seats, and interior trim, but the upgraded were really nice. The X added $339, while the D/L was $289 extra.

A three-speed transmission was standard, with or automatic optional.

But it was the styling everyone talked about! was completely different from else on the road, with proportions that at first difficult for the brain to absorb. It was it was audacious, it looked like the car of the The automotive press loved it.

Car and magazine called it . our first urban transporter. Motor declared, Suddenly it’s and called Pacer . the freshest, creative, most people-oriented to be born in the U.S. in 15 years. A issue described Pacer as . one of the comfortable four-passenger cars Small Cars magazine of the press preview, Unlike unveilings, there were no or applause from the gallery.

didn’t have to be. Silent was an obvious reaction. the knowledgeable writers knew without told that they privileged to be there to see something new in design.

The public loved it and Pacer became AMC’s selling new car ever. The auto was heading into a major in 1975, caused by a gas crisis and but Pacer managed to turn around for AMC.

The biggest complaint made by the was the lack of a manual four-speed option, but AMC introduced one in April However, for all the good feelings the new car, by mid-1976, Pacer began to falter.

There problems. The Pacer was viewed as a car but its gas mileage, roughly 16 to 20 mpg, as great as many people Its width made it harder to than other small and its acceleration was never a strong Pacer equipped with the straight-six was clocked at 0 to 60 mph in 14.7

Road Test magazine so far as to describe Pacer as . a sort of Loren body with a lady’s character and performance.

All of was the result of a fundamental problem the Pacer’s design-the car was too darn All that width added In addition, at the time the Pacer was designed, new federal safety were being debated. Not how stringent the new rules might be, AMC to engineer in extra body making it very sturdy but heavy-about 3,200 to 3,400 for an average-equipped car.

Too, the had been planned around a more powerful GM-built rotary engine. When the canceled that program, AMC had to to stuff its existing heavy into Pacer’s smallish bay. They fit, but it was not what the Pacer was designed

A great-looking station wagon debuted for 1977, and that to prop up sales for a while. A restyling for 1978 plus the of an optional

V-8 should re-ignited sales, but they By now, the press had turned the Pacer and were badmouthing its of power and performance.

For a while, was a chance that a new Pacer appear. AMC showed an idea car Concept II that looked a smaller, lighter Pacer. president of design Dick also talked about a new version of the existing Pacer and mentioned a taxi version, but it was all for

Sales continued to fall for by which point it was obvious Pacer’s fate would be.

The AMC came to the end of the road in December after a small run of 1980 had been produced. In all, 350,000 Pacers were in its short six-model-year run. At one they had been a piece of the but that future was over.

article originally appeared in the 2005 issue of Hemmings Car.

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