Low-Cost Head Turner: 1975 AMC Pacer

Admittedly, AMCs are not my thing, but I do think they made higher quality vehicles than they got the reputation for. Though very uniquely styled and cool looking, the Pacer was not exactly AMC’s crowning achievement. Designed to look futuristic, many consumers thought it just looked odd. Nonetheless, Pacers sold and were once a common sight on American streets. That time is gone, and I always take a good look whenever I see a nicely kept Pacer. Though the Pacer’s styling has aged as well as it can, I think that at $4,750 this car is a steal! Find it here on Craigslist in Minnesota with only 49,082 miles on the odometer. Thanks go to reader Rocco B. for sending us the link to this clean ride!

AMC really tried their best to keep interiors hip and relevant at the time. Though I’m sure they sold many cars to their intended demographic, many people were thrown off by their unconventional choices of interior colors or seat patterns. For someone who likes ’70s cars in today’s world, seats like these are what dreams are made of! The seller claims this car only has 49,000 miles on it, and based on the condition of everything inside the car, that isn’t hard to believe! The only visible damage is on the driver’s side seat back, presumably from someone sliding in and out of this car somewhat regularly.

AMC did not borrow any more parts from other companies than anyone else did, and actually made good engines out of all original AMC parts. This car is equipped with the AMC 232 cubic inch inline-six, a simple engine that requires little maintenance to cover lots and lots of miles. AMC six-cylinder engines (including the 258/4.2, the predecessor to the beloved Jeep 4.0 liter) can sustain a lot of abuse, and keep on chugging long after they should have been retired.

Though there are no photos of the engine, the seller does include lots of photos of the exterior and with good reason. As the seller states, “Car was repainted in the late ’80s and has been parked inside ever since.” This makes me wonder: Why did this car need repainted already by then? And who has been keeping a garage spot open for a Pacer all this time? Joking aside, whether you like Pacers or not it is easy to see that this is a nice car that has been well-maintained. It is clean, nice, well taken care of, and ready to rock and roll! $4,750 for a car as nice as this one strikes me as very affordable, regardless of what it is. If it is kept this clean, it will only increase in value. Would you buy it and hang onto it? Or are Pacers not for you?

Fast Finds


  1. AlanB

    “factory air (currently not working)” … this is an essential fix in a black and goldfish bowl car, I wonder what’s wrong with it.

  2. Rock On Member

    Step 1 – fix a/c.
    Step 2 – tint windows.
    Or else you will go broke buying sun blocker!

    • boxdin

      Or bake bread !

  3. Howard A Member

    I don’t ever recall seeing a black Pacer. AMC had such beautiful colors then, why on G-d’s sweet earth, would someone paint it black? The absence of all color. The Pacer was not an attractive car, by any means, but, I feel, it was the beautiful colors, combined with it’s odd looks, that made it a really neat car. I knew people that had Pacer’s, and would have bought another, but they could not be found. I like Pacer’s a lot, but would pass on this one due to the owners lack of imagination,,,black,,terrible, and like others say, riding in a black fishbowl is not for me.

    Like 1
    • Concinity

      Light blue would be nice? Though you’d also need a good stereo for those ‘Queen’ CDs

      Like 1
    • Darrun

      I know of one locally that is still wearing it’s original black paint.
      There’s an AMC flipper here close by. He will be all over this if he see’s it. He would start out double that price, and must be getting close. He doesn’t keep them long.
      I’ve owned a couple years ago. I thought they were good cars even though they were quirky looking.

      Like 1
    • Tim Rusling

      Yes, they made black ones. There are two in our city and they’re original colors. And don’t write back telling us that black isn’t actually a color!

    • Pacer Faye

      Black Pacers are stunning cars

  4. Sam

    Our family had a 76 Matador fastback coupe that was a weird cinnamon/burgundy metallic that looked sharp with the brown/tan plaid interior.

    Mom really wanted a Pacer when they came out.

    I think the black, whitewalls and turbine wheels look quite elegant in contrast to the interior.

    I dig it and would drive it all the time, other than snow. Cool car at a fair price.


    I think $4750 with non functioning ac is all the money on this one.

  6. Stan

    Havind ridden in one as a teen, i remember being impressed with the visibility. I would drive this over the Gremlin

  7. Don H

    Looks great black.

  8. Ken Carney

    My BIL had one. He let me borrow it a couple of days while our ride was
    in the shop– provided I helped him source a new gas tank and helped him
    install it. His was light blue with a saddle shoe type vinyl roof. After
    using this car for a few days, the Mrs. and I really came to appreciate
    this car. After returning it, my wife and I tried to find one but the closest
    we came was an ’82 Concord wagon. This one’s really nice! Sure wish
    I had the cash to buy it. Yep! Down here in Florida you’d have to tint all
    that glass and fix the air, but it’d be worth it.

    Like 1
  9. Nrg8


  10. Tim Rusling

    I just love Pacers and have two of the three I’ve owned. My’79 Limited woody wagon gives me a ton of pleasure. I feel on top of the world when I take it places, and young people think it’s cool.

    Like 1
    • Tim Rusling

      My Limited wagon’s license is PACE HER. My late friend Dave from our Home Depot came up with it, but he died before the plates came in.

      Like 1
  11. Brad

    I had a burgundy pacer wagon with wood grain sides! 1st car!

    Like 1
  12. Mike H. Mike H

    “Though very uniquely styled and cool looking, the Pacer was not exactly AMC’s crowning achievement. Designed to look futuristic. . .”

    I can’t say that I fully agree with either of those statements. AMC was a small(er) carmaker with not deep pockets. To design a car that used approximately 0% of your current parts bin and attempt to continue production as such was not only costly, but brave and daring. Sure, the 232 & 258 were standard AMC engines, but this car was originally conceived and designed to house an as-yet undeveloped GM Wankel rotary. When GM dropped their rotary project AMC had to scramble to fit their existing corporate inline sixes in the too-small engine bay, and they managed quite nicely.

    So. . . not their crowning achievement? Not sure about that as the Pacer was a truly successful seller when first introduced. AMC had to increase production to keep up with demand in the beginning, and the cars were of surprising quality for their time (no, they weren’t perfect, but neither were any of the other domestic maker’s cars at this time either).

    Nor were they designed to look “futuristic”. AMC had it on good authority that the Federal Government was intending to mandate rollover standards into the new cars for 1978, so they built the Pacer like a tank and included a roof stiffening bar to provide additional rigidity during a rollover. Also, as they only intended for the car to have 2-doors, they made the passenger door 4″ longer to aid in ingress/egress from the rear seat.

    The pacer was wider than anything else in its size class, yet it was surprisingly aerodynamic. AMC had intended for this car to be extremely fuel efficient, but the loss of the rotary engine and the use of their big, heavy sixes reduced that dream to be pretty much what everyone else was offering for the time. They advertised the Pacer as “The first wide small car”, and that’s effectively what it was. With more money in their pocket and better resources, this could have been the car which saved AMC. Instead, the high cost of development and production hurt the company pretty severely, and it was (I believe) the initial impetus that forced them into an unfavorable marriage with Renault.

    Anyhow, the Pacer was a good car for its time, and while its appearance is both unique and polarizing, it has a very loyal fan base.

    Like 1
    • Tim Rusling

      Thank you for your valid, unbiased comments, Mike [though the right door is 3 1/2″ longer – that’s OK!] The biggest reason in my view that we have so many Pacers still on the road is that the rotary never made it into the car. If it had, those apex seals would’ve packed in many years ago and you know how few rotaries from Mazda still survive from that vintage. So the nearly bulletproof inliner was used and they soldier on barely ever needing any internal surgery.

      Like 1
    • john

      Well written and expressed…. I remember some of those facts from yester-year !! Personally, I love the car, always have.

      Like 1
  13. Jubjub

    See…they look cool in the right colors. Black, persimmon and the metallic olive green are stand outs. And the faux mags and tapestry interior is just a bonus. I once saw one with a crazy, circular blue patterned interior. Would’ve looked very ’70s chic but it was pretty ragged out.

    Like 1
  14. Dean

    I can’t vouch for this, but I was told you had to move the motor to get to the 6th plug

    • Tim Rusling

      The sixth spark plug can be removed without much grief – with a u-joint socket and an extension. Compared to many of today’s engines, it’s a piece of cake.

      Like 1
    • Paul

      The front #1 plug is tough because of the giant York Compressor

      Like 1
    • Richard

      The 6cyl. is harder to work on than the V8s. I spl. ordered a ’79 wagon thru RANDALL AMC with a 360 “P” [5.9L] engine, and its alot easier to work on, especially for the plugs. Overall gas mileage was also better. It surprised alot people at the DRAG STRIPs.

  15. john

    Back when these cool cars came out, my wonderful girlfriend Carolisa bought one and allowed me to drive it (until we broke up of course). It was red, with the same Indian print, and until I saw this one, I had never seen a black Pacer. Loved the car, loved the girl…

    Like 1
  16. Mike

    It’s a black BUBBLE!!! PASS

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