Unearthed: 1978 AMC Pacer

Classic Cars / Comments

Wayne and Garth aren't the only ones who thought the AMC Pacer was cool.

Yes, it's a Pacer and either you like it or you don't. With its jellybean-like body that used a massive amount of glass, the Pacer was AMC's answer to the seemingly unlimited supply of yacht-sized gas guzzlers the other American automakers were constantly churning out at the time. But still, the Pacer was unique and as the years have passed, it's sort of developed a charm of its own. When "Wayne's World" came out in 1992, a whole new generation was introduced to Wayne Campbell and Garth Algar's 1976 Pacer, also known as The Mirth Mobile.

Built from 1975 until 1980, the Pacer was designed to be basic, no thrills transportation. Power came from a standard 3.8-liter inline-six. In 1976, a more powerful 4.2-liter inline-six was offered which was able to improve performance but at the cost of greater fuel consumption. Later on a 5.0-liter V8 was introduced, which kind of defeated the purpose of the Pacer's supposed efficiency. The owner of this featured 1978 model claimed that from an early age he saw the potential in the car. As part of a father-son project, they decided to restore and outfit a Pacer due to it being cheap, safe, and fun.

Many thought they were a bit crazy, but the completed car really shows the potential the Pacer has. They began by rebuilding its AMC original V8, which now produces 400hp and 460lb-ft of torque. They added an Edelbrock Performer intake manifold with a 750 Demon carb, 3 angle valve job and port matching on the stock heads. Also added were custom headers going into a Mandrel Bent three-inch Flowmaster dual exhaust. The exterior was also fully restored, painted black, lowered three-inches, and given blacked-out chrome and tinted windows.

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They then added new seats and carpet, a custom dash, a console from a Lincoln Continental, and a new audio system with an iPod head unit. The end result looks great and it just goes to show that even something like an AMC Pacer has lots of hidden character. Photos courtesy of Coolpacer

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