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Truly terrible cars - AMC Pacer (1975-1980)

Posted by David Newton at

On paper, the Pacer was brilliant: A compact car with the width that Americans liked, advanced aerodynamics, a strong body shell, and giant windows for fantastic visibility.

Yes, glass is heavy, but that was okay -- the Pacer was going to compensate with a light-weight Wankel rotary engine supplied by General Motors. Everything was going swimmingly until GM suddenly cancelled the Wankel engine project right smack in the middle of the Pacer's development. The Pacer was stuck with AMC's own cast-iron straight-six and V8 engines, which ballooned the weight and killed the fuel economy. The Pacer was launched just as Americans were developing a taste for small, light-weight imports, making the Pacer seem even less desirable. Were it not for the movie Wayne's World, the Pacer might be completely without merit.

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