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Pacer Concept Car: 1977 AMC Pacer Panel Wagon

And now for something completely different. This 1977 AMC Panel Wagon was 1-of-16 that were built as concept vehicles for AMC by an outside contractor. After reviewing the concepts, AMC chose not to move forward with the project. The usual practice with such concepts would have been to run them through the crusher, but AMC decided to sell them to employees. It is believed that only five of these cars now exist, and this nicely preserved example, which is located in Ocala, Florida, has been listed for sale here on eBay. Bidding has reached $9,600, and with the reserve now met, it is set to go to a new owner.

As the story goes, AMC sent 16 Pacer Wagons to Mooneye Customs in Santa Fe, California. This was in response to the success of the Ford Pinto Cruising Wagon, and AMC was interested to see if they could also cash-in on that market. The 16 cars were completed in a variety of trim specifications and returned to AMC. The company decided not to proceed, and this is one of those cars. It is basically original, right down to the paint. The condition looks good, and the numerous photos of the underside of the Pacer indicate that it is clean and free of any rust issues.

From a mechanical standpoint, this is a pure Pacer, with no upgrades to performance. The engine is the 258ci 6-cylinder, which is mated to an automatic transmission. You also get power steering and power brakes. The owner purchased to car 7-years-ago, and in that time he has gone over the car from top to bottom, and it seems that the car is now in perfect mechanical condition. It has been fitted with new brakes and new tires, while it has also received new belts, a new fuel pump, new carburetor, new shocks, and all new hoses. It sounds like this Pacer should now run and drive like new. It has a genuine 48,700 miles on the clock, and the owner holds a large collection of documentation for the Pacer.

The interior of the Pacer is largely as it was when the car returned to AMC from Mooneye’s. The major deviation is the fact that the owner has festooned the interior (and parts of the exterior) with numerous LED light-bars. Those would have to go if the next owner wanted to preserve the car’s originality. The rest of the interior is in really nice condition, although I suspect that the lack of windows would make things somewhat claustrophobic in the rear seat. AMC didn’t mess about when it came to options for these concept cars. You get a stereo radio/cassette player, air conditioning, and cruise control, which was an unusual inclusion on a Pacer.

It isn’t a common occurrence for a member of the general public to be able to get their hands on a concept car, but that is precisely what this Pacer is. The vehicle’s condition is pretty impressive, and while there are people out there who aren’t great fans of the Pacer, you would have to admit that this one is something a little bit different.


  1. Avatar photo Tom

    Actually looks a lot better as a panel wagon. Could have helped the brand.

    Like 3
    • Avatar photo Karl

      Those poor Corvettes having to share the shelter with this thing? There should be a law!

      Like 0
  2. Avatar photo Fred H

    Looks like a mini ambulance. ))

    Like 2
  3. Avatar photo Kenneth Carney

    I agree Tom, I might sketch one with the mag wheels and all the other doo-dads that you might see on a Pacer if it were so ordered. I’d use it as is just for all the blank stares I’d get when someone would pull in close to get a good look at the optical illusion before them. If I weren’t building my tiny house, I’d be all over it. Great article Adam. That’s why I like dropping by this site. There’s always something interesting to see here. You guys oughta see what I did to the ’54 Plymouth that I saw here a few days ago. I made an NYC taxi out of it in a sketch I made a few days ago. Once I get some help from my neice, I’ll post it here for all to see. Keep ’em coming! Just can’t get enough!

    Like 2
  4. Avatar photo 86_Vette_Convertible

    I agree, it does look better as a panel van IMO. This could have helped improve the line but history said otherwise.

    Like 2
  5. Avatar photo Mike Jones

    Yep, this is the one they should have made.

    Like 3
  6. Avatar photo Will Fox

    Wayne’s world aside, Pacer are slowly coming into their own with collectors. There are still some low mile, clean examples out there that pop up for sale these days, but THIS……THIS is the pinnacle of Pacers! You won’t find two of these even at the AMC Nationals. And the documentation solidifies it’s place as one rare car. what I like, is the triple-white motif; it REALLY makes this Pacer pop. I’d take this, LED lights and all! Just be prepared to spend your time at car shows explaining what this is. You’re going to get a dry throat talking.

    Like 3
    • Avatar photo Paul

      Not really a Pacer fan….however I do like this one better then any other one I have ever seen!

      Like 0
    • Avatar photo Steve

      I like that, the pinnacle of Pacers!

      Like 2
  7. Avatar photo eddie stakes

    Neat car, I built a 78 Pacer panel wagon, 401V8 years ago, this is a photo of it, sold for $2500.00. http://www.planethoustonamx.com/photo-gallery-stakes-amcs-1/78-amc-pacer-panel-wagon.jpg

    Pacers are cool cars have owned a dozen of them of 395 AMCs personally owned since 1976. All get lots of questions as shows and events like cruise nights.

    Another Pacer I owned and customized was used in national television for electronic tax return company, you can see it here on youtube

    I would say this is not the pinnacle of Pacers, the Spirit of 76 Pacers
    are or even more so, the Diablo 401 Pacers build by Randall AMC in Mesa are. http://www.planethoustonamx.com/stuff/randall_pacer_side.JPG

    regardless, neat car. Pacers tough to find windshields and interior pieces like door panels, and lenses, grilles for. And remember many many cars and SUVs you see on highway today have a lot of Pacer influence as Pacer is the center of auto universe http://www.planethoustonamx.com/stuff/amc-pacer-nissan-lexus-toyota.htm

    Like 3
  8. Avatar photo Frank Sumatra

    Some nice lemonade from one giant lemon. Great idea and execution.

    Like 0
  9. Avatar photo Fred Alexander

    How Sweet It Is !

    Like 0
  10. Avatar photo mainlymuscle

    Great towing rig for my 10 second SC/Rambler,but it would be a sloooowwww trip LOL.I like it !

    Like 0
  11. Avatar photo Louis Q. Chen

    It!’s too bad AMC-American Motors Corp. not the AMC movie chain! Looking back, AMC was a car company was way ahead of it’s time in funky looking cars! The Pacer was the GRAND DADDY of the Porsche 928! If I didn’t bought my new Fusion I would have bought this unique and iconic car! ” It’s a WHAT? It’s a PACER!” LOL.

    Like 2
  12. Avatar photo Eddy

    The new owner needs to donk that thing. Some nice big rims, change the color, drop in a Dodge Hellcat motor and install a serious audio system that can be heard a mile away.

    Like 0
  13. Avatar photo leiniedude Member

    Ended: May 27, 2019 , 9:43AM
    Winning bid:US $18,199.00
    [ 30 bids ]

    Like 2
  14. Avatar photo Mike Hartman

    Neato. It’s just a continuation of the Sedan Delivery. SD’s were built for small deliveries of small size goods to customers. The biggest benefit was that the SD helped build businesses by way of advertising on the sides. These side panels were the perfect canvas to have sign painters hand letter the company name and logo. Business owners favored Sedan Deliveries, Panel Trucks and Commercial cars because they were cost-effective vehicles to promote their enterprises. These marketing vehicles made money for business owners in many ways. All the world could see these signs and in turn, those ads brought customers to the business. They helped build businesses.

    Like 0

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