45,376 Original Miles: 1978 AMC Pacer D/L

Having only been driven an average of 1,134 miles a year over the last four decades, this 1978 AMC D/L Wagon is one original and low-mile car. This mellow yellow fellow is listed on eBay with 60 bids and a current price of $4,986 and there is no reserve. It’s located in Harrisonburg, Virginia and according to the seller it’s drop-dead reliable so you should be able to fly in and drive it home.

A few of the photos are cut off but it sure looks like a solid car. They say that it’s “extremely solid, floor pans and undercarriage are in excellent shape, SMALL amount of surface rust only. The worst rust on this car is shown in pictures at the rear quarter panels (typical.)”

The D/L was was a slightly fancier model but the Limited model with leather seating wouldn’t be available until 1979. AMC had their best year with the Pacer in 1976, after that it was a steady downward sales trend. Other than that rust on the bottoms of the rear quarter panels this car looks like it’s in nice condition. What’s behind that rear hatch? A fairly generous cargo space is back there.

The seller says that this Pacer is in “excellent unrestored condition”. It sure looks like it’s in nice condition but it’s a rare 40-year old original car that’s in excellent condition. The wagon version of the Pacer loses a bit of the fishbowl look of the sedan but it is probably better for a road trip with more storage space in back. Since you’ll be driving this one home that’s a nice feature.

This should be AMC’s 258 cubic-inch inline-six with 100 hp. The seller says that it “Runs and drives excellent!” They also say that this car “is a survivor that I would drive across the county tomorrow.” A couple of issues listed are that the AC doesn’t currently work and the fuel gauge is stuck. The engine looks pretty grimy compared to the rest of the car but that’ll just give the new owner something to do during the winter.  Have any of you owned a Pacer wagon? What do you think of the 1978-1980 grille compared to the previous grille?

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  1. Mike B

    Back to school special with room for the band, “Woody & The Beige Tones”, inside. They’re all over it!

  2. Dovi65

    I love it! It would be a fun commuter car. Tho $5k is a bit more than I’m willing to give for a Pacer of any variety

  3. Mark

    I like that both battery cables are red!!

    • jdjonesdr

      Double the starting power!

      • Jimmy

        I’ve seen people use both red & both black battery cables, not a good idea.

    • Scotty Gilbertson Scotty Gilbertson Staff

      Maybe one of them is the missing red heater hose!..

  4. Classic St eel

    Waynes World !

    It’s s classic cult car of the past!

  5. Rabbit

    Neither is criss-crossing them like that. Fool put the battery in backwards. The hood bulge was to accommodate the ‘newly available for ’78’ 304 V8. Neat cars. Do I want one? Um….no.

  6. Max

    I have small collection of classic vehicles. I recently bought 81 AMC Concord Coupe Limited package blue exterior with blue cloth interior. ALL original 50K miles Iron Duke 2.5 engine auto, factory AC , factory AMFM, factory rear defrost . Just a beautiful classic AMC from past! I paid $6,500 and No it’s Not for sale

  7. M

    I have small collection of classic vehicles. I recently bought 81 AMC Concord Coupe Limited package blue exterior with blue cloth interior. ALL original 50K miles Iron Duke 2.5 engine auto, factory AC , factory AMFM, factory rear defrost . Just a beautiful classic AMC from past! I paid $6,500 and No it’s Not for sale

  8. Frank

    We had a 76 Pacer wagon in the late 80’s. The ride was great with the wide wheelbase. The only thing that I was disappointed with was the mpg. It ran 15 to 17.

    • Joe Samuel

      The wagon debuted in 1977.

  9. Joe

    I owned a 1977 (first year for the wagon) with a 232 six cylinder. Was one of the best cars I’ve ever owned. Wouldn’t mine having this one. I prefer the earlier grill, however.

  10. James whitehead

    I had a ’78 wagon D/L like this one, blue with blue and white indian blanket style interior. Mine had the 232 with 4 speed stick, no air. This was an AMC service reps car, I bought it with 4,000 miles on it. I had a set of Keystone Classics on it which made it really sharp in my opinion. It had a lot of room in the back for camping gear and fully loaded still got about 30 mpg on the highway. Went to Florida in August (it was just a tad warm). Loved the looks of the wagon and the hump in the hood king of offset all that roundness.

  11. Derek

    Really cute car. They are so funky they are adorable. Deserve their cult status.

  12. davew833

    Will the Wayne’s World jokes never die?

    I never cared for the wagons much, they were too “normal” looking compared to the original hatchback. And the ’78 -up grille was ugly compared to the original. I always wondered if it was REALLY needed for clearance with the 304 engine, or if AMC was just trying to tame down the styling. My first car was a silver ’76 Pacer with Cragar S/S lookalike chrome mags.

  13. Rabbit

    Believe it or not, the hump was for the distributor more so than the air cleaner. During my dealership days (82-84) we had a couple 304 cars come through. They really did have great ride & handling. Just the looks were so polarizing. Fun factoid: See how the door panels come up higher than the window line? That was to prevent air buffeting with the windows open, so it didn’t sound like there was a helicopter in your back seat.

    • Jett

      I always thought the limo-cut doors were meant to ease entry and exit, like the longer passenger door…

  14. karl

    I think I had a nightmare once about driving one of these home!

  15. Jett

    My Mom bought a burgundy ‘77 woody wagon brand new, but unfortunately, it turned out to be a lemon. Leaky windows, bad electronics. She still liked it, and she says to this day “she felt so safe in it”, but after a year of these problems, Dad convinced her to trade it in for a new ‘78 Concord (which we still have 40 years later).

  16. Lonemalt

    Mine had the factory cb / tape player in it. Breaker 1-9. I only like the wagons; fishbowl pacers were a bit much. Sun just beats the interior plastics to death with all that glass, luckily hard plastics easy to dye. AC is a must.

  17. ramblergarage

    The door panels came up higher than the windows because there wasnt enough room inside the door to put the window down flush with the top of the door. If you roll the glass all the way down it still sticks up level with the bump in the door panel. Great handeling cars. I like the original grill set up better.

  18. chrlsful

    wagon’s da best, wish I hadda money

  19. That AMC Guy

    Unlike just about every other AMC six-cylinder car, working under the hood is very much a sporting proposition on these. (As I’m sure most everyone here knows the Pacer was designed around a GM Wankel engine that was never produced. The inline six is really shoehorned in there.)

    Performance and gas mileage are about the same as you’d get in a six-cylinder Matador of the same vintage. The only real engineering advance these cars brought to the table was being the first U.S. car available with power rack-and-pinion steering. The subframe-mounted front suspension was also a departure from standard AMC practice.

    AMC spent a huge amount of money (by their standards) developing the Pacer. Its failure in the marketplace was a major factor in sinking the company.

  20. leiniedude Member

    Ended: Jun 29, 2018 , 1:00PM
    Winning bid:US $4,986.00
    [ 53 bids ]

  21. Leon

    Love the colour. Nice original example. What’s not to love about this. Modern European cars have been slamming these loud 2-tone colours in our faces for almost 10 years now: Citroen, Renault, Mini, Fiat, Audi, etc. What goes around comes around.

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