Not Going to Finish It: 1978 AMC Pacer

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The seller of this 1978 AMC Pacer sounds like he has project fatigue, a point we can all relate to given the trials and errors of restoration. The car needs a fair amount of work, both cosmetic and mechanical, but it sounds like much of the troubleshooting has been performed by the seller, which makes it easier to identify a few places to start from. The Pacer is listed here on eBay in lovely Holyoke, Massachusetts, with a Buy-It-Now of just $1,200 – and the option to submit a best offer.

Despite being in the northeast, the body seems fair, with some evidence of unfinished bodywork on the driver’s fender and lower door. The glass all seems good, including that major expanse on the rear shell. The seller notes that the engine block currently in the Pacer is no good due to oil starvation, but a freshly machined block is included with the sale. In addition, a replacement steering column is included with the sale to replace the dead one currently installed in the Pacer.

The interior is a good news story, with seats in good shape and door panels in similar order. A replacement carpet kit is included with the sale, and several other new parts have been recently installed. These include tires, battery, alternator, and the starter. The gas tank has also been renewed, so a lot of the basic check-list jobs when starting a restoration project have been addressed. The interior will look great with new carpeting.

The back seat is nicely preserved as well. The Pacer is equipped with the 304 V8, so it has a few things going for it. There’s plenty more work to be done, but at least the seller has sourced the major replacement components you’ll need to get it back on the road. Even the brakes are said to function, so this Pacer could be back on the road in relatively short order once the steering column and engine block are replaced. What say you: is this a good deal at the asking price, or should an offer be made?

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  1. Poncho

    Not interested, even at $12.00

    Like 2
    • Mike

      Please don’t pay me to take it.

      Like 2
    • Poncho

      Well…maybe interested at $12.00 if the ladder is thrown in on the deal.

      Like 2
  2. Rex Kahrs Rex KahrsMember

    This guy would not be the first guy to get stalled-then-disinterested in an auto restoration project. And I would not judge the guy…there are a million reasons why this happens.

    And, I’d guess that it’s just these kind of scenarios that probably fuel the hobby, as cars are passed from one hopeful/tired would-be restorer to the next. I’m 61 now, and right in the middle of a ’63 Riviera “rolling restoration”. I am enjoying the work, but I’m not sure how many more old cars I want to crawl around under!

    Like 6
  3. SubGothius

    Some inspiration for the surprising badassery potential in a Pacer:

    Like 1
  4. Nevada1/2rack NevadahalfrackMember

    Hey, don’t be so judgmental here, everybody – this thing would make a FINE septic tank system for someone!!🤢

    Like 1
  5. OddBallCars

    Let the hating on the Pacer begin… sigh
    I actually really like my Pacer, a 75 first year model. Sure the build quality sucked but show me another 70s car that didn’t have quality problems. The engine had been made anemic by EPA regs… But everyone dealt with that. It’s a comfortable car with LOTS of room inside it and the AMC straight 6 was a stalwart for AMC and Jeep. I never understood why people didn’t like these cars. I think it’s just a style thing… you love it or you hate it. But I guess one glance at my username will tell you where I land.

    Like 5
  6. Gaspumpchas

    Not sure but I think they only made a 6 cylinder model, did someone shoehorn the 304 in? With the amount of real estate under the hood, or the lack there of, might be why the project stalled. They originally designed the pacer for a rotary engine, then couldn’t come up with a decent one, so they stuck the straight six in. Hard to work on as the engine was stuck up under the cowl. US automakers made some rotten cars in the 70’s, this fishbowl took the cake…


    Like 1
    • Joe

      They did come with a V8 option.

      Like 0
  7. geezerglide85

    Yep, starting ’78 I think the 304 V8 was an option. I had “78 wagon, but mine was a 232 six with a 4 speed. Great car, lotsa room and still got 30 mpg on the hiway. No air though which made for a very hot trip to Florida one August

    Like 1
  8. Karl

    I looked this car over closely and it looks perfect I could at least 4 places to hook the chain to in the front and the rear should have even more of them. Once hooked drag it on the trailer and it’s an easy 100.00 from the scrapper!!

    Like 0
  9. Mitch RossMember

    It’s interesting how many people need to put down other’s cars to make them feel better about themselves. Sad

    Like 0
  10. John B.

    I never liked Pacers but for some strange reason my son did. I always have to remind myself that beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. No matter how ugly something is, there is someone who loves it! I pretty much love all cars just some more than others! When you are sitting on the side of the road or in the midst of traffics with a stalled car it’s easy to hate any of them!

    Like 0
  11. Harry

    Even comes with a scrapah😆

    Like 0
  12. Kathy

    Any way I can find out if this pacer is still available to buy?

    Like 0

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