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The Unfortunate History of the AMC Pacer

by Paul Strauss

It’s 95Octane’s motto that we feature “cars that don’t suck,” but we occasionally need to feature a vehicle that’s notable for other reasons. One such vehicle is the AMC Pacer. Described by its critics as “a pregnant elephant” from the outside, and “a fishbowl on wheels” from the inside, there’s little question that its short, wide design was well, uhm, unusual.

Regardless of what you think of the Pacer, it’s a significant car in the history of American automaking, and this documentary from Joe Ligo and AutoMoments is well worth 24 minutes of your time. In the video, Ligo delves into the origins of the Pacer, the many setbacks it faced, and the ultimate demise of the funny looking, but iconic 1970s car.

Interestingly, the Pacer was well received and seen as futuristic by journalists and buyers when it first came out in 1975. However, early demand outstripping production capacity affected the build quality of the car, and eventually inflation and poor fuel economy killed the little car, as it ended production with the 1980 model year.

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