Wheels Classic Cars: The American Motors Pacer The Chronicle Herald

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Wheels Classic Cars: The Motors Pacer

When was cheap and plentiful in North few motorists worried about economy. This attitude change with the arrival of the so-called ‘oil crises’ of The Organization of Petroleum Exporting threat to petroleum supplies a mad scramble for cars with gasoline engines, or even

But memories are short and by 1975 were already returning to large cars. It took a oil scare in 1979 to convince that there could be a real shortage. It was during the between these energy that American Motors launched its Pacer in February and it seemed to exemplify the ambivalence of the

The Pacer looked all new and small, but really either. The only external dimension of its unit body was its 4,346 mm (171.5 over-all length. The most measurement was the 1,956 mm (77 in.) a girth that matched big Matador.

The styling was certainly different, and in an offbeat sort of way. It had an of glass with deep windows, although the low beltline them from lowering out of AMC stylist Richard Teague to hide this with bolsters on the inner sides of the The extensive glass and a rounded curving down almost to the bumper gave it a ‘glass look.

It also made air a necessity.

The style was most of what was new in the although it had rack and pinion the second on an American car after the Pinto. The rest of the mechanicals rather uninspired compared what they might been.

The Pacer was originally for a compact Wankel rotary under its sloping hood. development problems prevented AMC resorted to its corporate overhead-valve, six, an engine so long it far enough into the passenger to make the front seat for more than two people.

was by AMC’s basic unequal and coil springs in front, and springs and solid axle at the Because the Pacer’s width was that of a full-size car it used the Matador’s rear axle. drum brakes were with front discs

What AMC offered, then, was a wide, heavy four-passenger When Road Track an early technical analysis of the in February 1975 it remarked . the car is very heavy — under 3,000 lb (1,361 kg) in form. They suggested . any mass-produced four-passenger car should less than 3,000 a lot less with its standard

In view of that early assessment, imagine the surprise their road test a of months later revealed it was kg (3,425 lb) with the 4.2 litre cu in.) engine (3.8 (232 cu. in.) was standard), and transmission. They wondered if it was the biggest small car.

This mass made the slow, with a mediocre to 96 km/h (60 mph) in 15.8 and top speed of 142 km/h (88 mph). It was thirsty; RT reported 16 mpg fuel (19 Canadian, or 14.9 L/100

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There were other The 2,540 mm (100 in.) put the rear seat between the wells, making it quite RT calculated the luggage space at 5.2 cubic feet, although it was with the rear seat-back down.

In an interesting contrast on a small, sporty, four-passenger car be, RT tested the new front-wheel drive Scirocco in the same issue. the Scirocco gave away a few here and there in passenger to the Pacer, its packaging efficiency was far

And the 875 kg (1,930 lb) Scirocco was faster and far economical. It represented the future the Pacer was clearly a holdover the past.

The Pacer was made 1975 to 1980 with built. Although not space it did have some interesting There was the striking styling and use of glass.

And there was a roll-bar into the wide B-pillar.

wipers were concealed, and style doors curved the roof. The unusual right was 89 mm (3.5 in.) longer the driver’s door to provide entry to the rear seat. And the concept gave drivers the they were driving a large American car.

A wagon model was added for and later Pacers could be had a 5.0 litre V-8 for higher performance but poorer fuel economy. not a paragon of automotive efficiency, the was just unusual enough to be a collectible.

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