1978 AMC Pacer Wagon – Sold?
July 6, 2021 Update – We just confirmed the listing for this “Classifind” expired, so with no replacement found we’re assuming this ride “Sold?” While this one got away, please reach out either by email or call us directly if you’d like to be informed when we come across something similar.
I have a confession to make. As much as I don’t like the fishbowl shape of AMC’s Pacer hatchback, the more upright rear hatch of the wagon version has better proportions. Produced only from 1977 through 1979, Pacer wagons do not come up for sale that often, so we were excited to find this 1978 example originally listed in June 2021 on Craigslist in Fairport, New York (Rochester) offered at $6,000 currently. Comparing that price against the Hagerty Insurance Online Valuation Tool confirms the private seller has their Pacer priced between this guide’s #3 “Good” estimate of $4,800 and its #2 “Excellent” appraisal of $9,600. Similarly, the Collector Car Market Review Online Tool confirms the seller’s ask falls just below this guide’s #3 “Good” estimate of $6,125.
American Motors launched its revolutionary at the time Pacer in 1975 and produced its “first wide small car” through the model year 1979. AMC’s chief stylist Richard A. Teague began work on the Pacer concept in 1971 with the idea of producing a roomy small car powered by a Wankel Rotary engine. Teague developed what became the first mass-produced “cab-forward design in a mass-produced American-built car. The Pacer’s width equaled full-sized domestic vehicles at that time and its large expanses of glass quickly earned it the nickname “The Flying Fishbowl.”
In addition to its innovative styling, Pacers featured many unique features that included a four-inch longer passenger door, isolated front, and rear suspensions, and rare-at-the-time rack and pinion steering. Unfortunately, when GM pulled the plug on rotary engine development (AMC planned to buy rotary engines from GM for the Pacer), AMC was stuck using its venerable 232 cu in straight-six that initially was too long to fit in the Pacer’s design. This combined with a heavy-for-its-size chassis to provide a small car with only modest fuel economy. Consequently, sales quickly started declining after the novel design wore off consumers. For 1977, AMC responded by offering the Pacer Wagon, which offered less glass and more cargo space than the hatchback. Consumers remained unimpressed and by 1979 AMC was forced to cancel the entire brand due to poor sales.
Here’s a commercial currently posted on the Bionic Disco YouTube channel featuring the 1978 AMC Pacer Wagon:
Based on the limited pictures provided, this Pacer appears to be a survivor-quality example in a nice color combination. While we don’t mind faux wood paneling on bigger station wagons, it never looked right on Pacers so we’re glad this example doesn’t feature it.
Here’s the seller’s description:
“Nice driving car. 232 six w/ automatic has AMC Rallye wheels shows 89,500 miles I have 2 AMC pacer wagons and thinning down. new interior headliner, currently on the road it was in a movie called “we the animals“
Do you have an AMC Pacer Wagon story to share? If so, comment below and let us know!