31K Original Miles! 1979 AMC Pacer DL Wagon

By most measures, the non-symmetrical AMC Pacer was considered a goofy looking car. Imaginative? Absolutely! And AMC gets credit for allowing it to see the light of day. Controversial? Yeah, that too. But today we have found a Pacer DL station wagon and that’s a slightly different story. This beautifully kept 1979 example is located in Charles Town, West Virginia and is available here on eBay for a current bid of $5,100, reserve not yet met.

Introduced in February of 1975, AMC’s full line sales brochure is Pacerless. A separate brochure was published at reveal to detail the Pacer’s attributes as well as its positive comparatives to its perceived competition. The attention-getting exterior was designed by Dick Teague, of Jeep Cherokee fame, and approximately 280K Pacers were built between 1975 and 1979 at AMC’s Kenosha, Wisconsin assembly plant. The station wagon version, like our subject car, was in production between 1977 and 1979 and added an additional 5 inches to the coupe’s overall length. The effect of the extended length of the wagon has a tendency to knock out some of the “orbness” of the coupe version.

Our 31K mile example’s listing has a confusing opening as the seller states they have owned the car for five-plus years but purchased it in 2000. It is stated as an always garaged vehicle and it looks it. The finish has held up quite well and there is no sign of crash damage, weather degradation or any of the other mayhem that can, and usually has, affected a 41-year-old vehicle. As is so often the case, this Pacer is afflicted with ugly, protruding five MPH Federal bumpers but that’s how cars rolled in those days; at least they are straight with a very reflective chrome finish. And in true station wagon form, there is a luggage rack attached to the roof that’s probably never seen a suitcase but it completes the picture.

Pacer power is courtesy of AMC’s tried and true, optional 4.2 liter, in-line six-cylinder engine, developing 100 net HP. The smaller 3.8 liter (232 CI) in-line six was standard. The seller has little to say about operations other than, “The vehicle is driveable”. There’s a ringing endorsement! And a red flag at the same time, just driveable? By 1978, AMC’s 304 CI V8 did find its way under the Pacer’s hood and that had to be a kick in the pants enhancement! An optional three-speed automatic transmission handles gear changes.

The tan vinyl upholstery shows about how you would expect that of a 31K mile car to show, one that has seen little use and has been properly stored. The seats, which actually look pretty comfortable and allow for a size comparison with a GM intermediate of the era, are showing no wear. Same with the dash pad and carpet though the carpet could have some not surprising fading going on, typical with age. Cheesy looking ’70s fake wood is in accented places on the dash and instrument panel, and yes, the original radio is where it should be. This is an A/C equipped car, no word if it is operable.

The Pacer will probably never escape its Garth Algar legacy from “Wayne’s World”; it continues to be the butt of many automotive jokes and truly the Rodney Dangerfield (“I don’t get no respect”) of cars. In this case, that’s unfortunate, because this Pacer is in such magnificent condition and the extended station wagon styling soothes some of the visual shock projected by the coupe. Speaking of the coupe, that would be a no-go for me, but this wagon? Not bad and worthy of consideration. Let’s hear from any current or prior Pacer owners, was what it like to own and drive one of AMC’s most memorable cars?

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Comments

  1. 370zpp

    Much like the Aztek, as time goes on these still look goofy, but to a lesser degree.

    Like 4
  2. Superdessucke

    I would endeavor to make a replica of the famous Hot Wheels’ “Packin’ Pacer,” and that would be a Hellcat 6.0 Hemi behind the front seats, and some kind of electric power plant up front, for a 1,000 horsepower hybrid.

    Like 1
  3. Al Stirbens

    Calendar year production was 1975 through 1979. Model year production was 1975 through 1980.

    Like 1
    • Fred

      The wagon was ’77 to ’79.

  4. Claudio

    Neverliked anything from amc even the 3 eagles that i owned , i had these when they were $500 vehicles, the eagles were great for winter driving and parking on snow covered montreal streets but it was what i could afford to buy for work and have enough money leftover to feed the kids …as i prevously wrote , i never liked the amc stuff , the 2 seater amx was nice but i was always a topless lover and the amc choice was NOT and this thing is like the pontiac aztec ,FUGLY

    • Bob Aubertin

      You see the AMC Pacer was referred to a Fish-Bowl design with a CD Factor of 0.43.

      Pontiac Aztec was a TOTAL design disaster just like a Nissan Cube.

  5. John Q Public

    Had one, it treated me well.

    Like 2
  6. Walter franzken

    shipping, where is this car located?

    Like 2
  7. Alfred Holden

    I have not been in one in many years but at the time they were seen as a daring advance over the claustrophobic boats of the day. The dashboard was pushed way ahead, kind of making a room of the front part of the car, the window sills were low; you got in one and wanted to see the world, and you could. The fairly isolated, quiet ride also seemed a step up for a smallish car. I look at those bumpers, they seem fine to me and when I check all the marks on my costly Maxima, which does not have them, I kind of wish they were an option.

    Like 2
  8. Don

    Had a 77 DL Sedan with the 258 2v Rally Wheels A/C, it was a nice ride. Comfortable peppy for its time and dependable. Would like to still have it today

  9. Dan D

    Kind of a shame there’s not one picture in the auction of the asymmetrical doors….

    Like 1
  10. Ralph

    “and yes, the original radio is where it should be”

    Looks at radio block of plate in the dash…..

    And where would that radio be then?

    Jeez……

    • DON

      Thats pretty odd to not have a radio in a higher line model like this one was . By 1979 I think nearly every car had at least an AM radio as standard equipment

  11. Connie A.

    I owned a1976 seamist green Pacer coupe from April ’76 to summer 1984 and withstood all manner of abuse for my choice of First new car..I was a 26 yr old female!!! I loved that car and drove it proudly…but hardly anyone would ride with me!!!!.🤣🤣🤣

    Like 2
  12. Ron

    Couple of weeks ago Barn Finds said they had members looking for specific cars, Pacer wagon was one of them, so member, here you go…

  13. Dragonman6

    My late husband had a DL coupe as a winter car to keep his RX7 off the salty Michigan roads. Burgundy with the Indian Cloth seats. It was his favorite winter car, and as he was 6’5”, loved it for its space as well.

  14. chrlsful

    to reply: Charlestown is up on the ‘index finger” (make ur L hand like a gun ‘thumb’ is Wheeling, index points to Wash, DC. Is out there 1 of the more wealthy communities in WVA).
    For me? the wagon is the only 1 to have, this the right engine, the “no hood bump” the right model. Who cares, at 12,8$ and 36 bids…IDK…

  15. Claudio

    I can think of many cars that i would prefer to spend 12.8 k on

    • Bob Aubertin

      Like a Rice Burner!!!

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