Left in Storage: 1978 AMC Pacer

The seller describes this 1978 AMC Pacer as a time machine that he left in storage after purchasing it with 36,000 miles. It is a genuine California blue plate car that he used for a few years, bringing total mileage up to 43,123. The Pacer has not been registered since 2004 and the seller has lost the title paperwork since then. It’s a manual transmission car with a gorgeous interior, and is listed here on eBay with bidding at $2,550 and no reserve.

The Pacer looks nice and tidy down the sides, with all of the “fishbowl” glass in good shape. The period-correct roof rack and trim rings over steel wheels are welcome details on a car like this, and the gigantic bumpers appear to have done a fine job of protecting the body. The seller doesn’t mention any rust and there’s nothing obvious in the photos that would indicate it’s been left to the elements.

The interior is truly spectacular, and far better than I’d expect for a car that’s been left standing for years. It makes you wonder how good it looked when the seller first acquired it, as the bucket seats show almost zero signs of use and the carpets appear to be completely blemish-free. The auxiliary gauges behind the shifter are a nice touch, and of course, we love seeing a manual transmission in a car like this.

The backseat also appears unused, and the seller notes that the drooping headliner is the cabin’s biggest sin. The seller mentions that despite the excellent interior, you cannot get in and drive the Pacer away – though, he has installed new tires and a fresh battery. This Pacer seems like a great project with good guts, and potentially a very short list of needs to simply get it running and driving again.

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Comments

  1. Skorzeny

    This is a great price for a nice car. Looks very honest… I LOVE the manual.

    9
  2. Barry Traylor

    I know there are some that do not care for the style of the Pacer but I always liked the way they looked.

    6
  3. edh

    I like the seats

    1
  4. AnalogMan

    These are quirky but fun cars, from a time when AMC had the balls (or maybe the desperation) to pull a Hail Mary last-ditch attempt to come up with something different. AMC originally designed the car for a Wankel engine that was going to be built by GM. But, at the last minute GM decided they weren’t going to make the engine for AMC after all, and they were left with no choice but to shoehorn their venerable straight-6 into an engine compartment designed for something much smaller. It’s impossible to get the last spark plug out on this engine (it’s deep under the dash), even if you severely bust up your knuckles trying (ask me how I know).

    I once had a similar car, a 1975 Pacer X with a 3 speed on the floor, back in the early 80’s when I was a student. It wasn’t ‘fast’ by any stretch of the imagination, but was more fun to drive than you’d think! I would seriously bid on this car – except for the red flag in the listing, of ‘lost the title’. Despite the seller’s offer to ‘help’, no title = very little chance of ever getting the car legally registered in most states. It’s too bad.

    3
    • Ralph

      To be clear, GM was going to make the Wankel for itself, AMC was going to buy it from GM, but GM was intending to use it in the new 1975 H-Special Monza/Sunbird/Starfire/Skyhawk cars.

      The original concept for the Pacer was supposed to be FWD too from what I recall.

      2
    • Gordon Gekko

      I would think there should be some method in place to recover a lost title. If you have a VIN that should be traceable or at worst there might be some way of issuing a title for what is obviously a legitimate vehicle

      2
    • Forrest

      In Alabama, anything before 1984 only needs a Bill of Sale.

      1
  5. Comet

    Many years ago I bought a $200 Pacer for a winter beater, I ended up loving that car and driving it for years. Kinda weird to park it perpendicular to the garage doors.

    1
    • davew833

      As a former Pacer owner (mine was my winter, spring, summer AND fall beater) I can’t quite fathom how someone would buy it for a winter car– mine was terrible in snow!

  6. Fran

    Nice, but why is it parked in the garage sideways???

  7. Elmer Fudd

    Okay, if you’re really serious about selling a car you get your behind down to DMV and get a clear title first, then you publish more than 3 pictures, etc. I’ve been down the road of no current title before, and it can be fairly straightforward, or a PITA. Bottom line it’s just not fair to the new buyer in my opinion. Looks like a good car on the surface but too many unknowns.

    11
  8. CJM

    Rally wheels- check
    Stick shift- check
    Sport seat interior- check
    Gauge package- check
    Great colors in and out- check
    Roof rack- check

    Whoever specced out this baby had great taste. If this was close by I’d be tempted. No title? Who cares here in Maine? All you need is a signed bill of sale.

    1
  9. Bruce

    This would be awesome pulling a Scamp or Casita! What a great weekend combo.

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