1979 AMC Pacer: Oddball Wagon


Equipped with even more glass than the original Pacer (which is saying a lot), and looking so very period, this 1979 Pacer Limited Wagon is located in Carlsbad, California and is for sale here on eBay for a buy-it-now of $2,500 or best offer. As an oddball and AMC lover, I have a soft spot for Pacers, and this one must have been loved to survive this long. The owner says they’ve purchased a new car and no longer need the Pacer after 120,000 miles. Apart from aftermarket covers on the front seats and dashboard, this looks like a pretty solid survivor car. The 258 cubic inch inline 6 is known for living a long time. And where else are you going to find a back seat that looks like a couch and factory shag carpeting in the same vehicle? I wish I were in a position to fly to California and drive it back – what better way to experience America than in an American Motors icon driving across the country!


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  1. David Frank David Member

    I’ve been told that a number of Pacers were shipped to Europe, and a few folks show up at cars shows with them. I showed a fellow from the Mercedes factory ours (a sedan) and he laughed and said they were called some impossiblly long name in German which translates to “Sleeping Beauty’s Coffin”.

    And, is there any other car you know of that the driver and passenger doors are differnt sizes?

  2. Ed P

    These cars looked weird when they were new. Time has not changed that.

    • Tirefriar

      Yes, they still look as twisted as when they were new but in a cool way. The playing field of $2500 older cars in decent condition is somewhat limited so this may not be all that bad. No mention of A/C working or not, not that its a deal breaker. Rather, I’d be concerned about passing the rigorous California smog test so as to be able continue registering this car locally.

  3. Scot Carr
  4. Howard A Member

    1st, I’ve got to say, “Barn Finds” is fast becoming one of my favorite sites. I’m always amazed at the cars that show up here, and this Pacer is no exception. Perhaps being from Wisconsin, I’m always partial to AMC cars, and the Pacer was a good car. Originally, the car was supposed to have the Wankel rotary, but it wasn’t ready in time, so they went with the 6. This car has the restyled front end,( introduced the previous year) which was done to accept the 304 V-8, but few were sold that way. Future collectible? You bet!
    re: Scot Carr’s link. Leave it to the French. They knew how to sell cars.

    • Ed P

      The Wankel engine was being developed by GM. There were problems with fuel efficiency and the Arab oil embargo was still in our minds at the time. GM canceled the project and it never went to production.

  5. JW

    Never rode in one but had seen a few in my days on the highway, strange looking cars but I must say this one is in exceptionally nice shape for it’s age and I wouldn’t mind having it. People would give you second looks that’s for sure especially the millennium crowd. I can’t help but think of Bohemian Rhapsody at this very moment and it’s very early in the morning.

  6. Barry T

    I had a co-worker back then that had one just like this, I recall that he liked it a lot. I have always been fond of the look and practicality of the Pacer.

  7. DENIS

    I like this oddball and it appears to be a good buy…wish it was closer to Minneeesooota. If it was from here it would have rust holes big enough to throw a cat out of…..
    You cannot kill those motors..7 main bearing crank made ’em bulletproof.

  8. don

    great old cars these are, not to sure about the $2500 price tag, a/c working? cracked dash, interior looks like in rough shape, real leather? not sure if that was an option for pacers.

  9. RickyM

    You’re right – certainly unusual styling that is for sure ! That said, I think you could grow to love it…….

  10. Alpharoaming.com

    Party on, Wayne! (Neighbor had a red one…and a Checker Marathon wagon! My grandfather called it the ” fish bowl”)

  11. gunningbar

    Throw the wolfhounds in the back and away we go! Great find. Probably rust free and good for another 40+ years. Thats about 60 dollars a year..$5/month…Not bad.

  12. johnforsman

    looks like a Porsche 928 Shooting Brake in drag to me.

    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

      On one of the Pacer enthusiast sites, they claim the designer of the 928 said that they were inspired by the rear of the Pacer. I have my doubts, but it was interesting reading!

  13. Dennis M

    These were actually very nice cars to drive. Gas milage was not great due to the weight and they hit the market right at the ’79 energy crisis. Add to that some actually minor problems with the electronic ignition that caused intermittent roadside stall and no-start and it killed a really nice car.

  14. Jasper

    John Denver or George Burns glasses? Has it rained inside this one?

    Remember seeing a really sharp taupe version of this car passing thru Cincinnati years ago. Well past the Pacer’s shelf life. Had the aluminum slots, was a V8 and had very subtle dual exhaust. Hope it survives.

  15. Frank

    This brings back memories. I had one in the late 80’s. 1976 model, same color as the one in the ad. With the wide wheelbase, it rode like a dream, but I was disappointed with the mileage. Only got around 18 mpg.

  16. mike

    Is it a fishtank, or a bubble? What other names have they been called?

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