Woodie Fishbowl: 1978 AMC Pacer D/L Wagon

UPDATE – The seller has relisted this one here on eBay with more photos! That was very wise but is it enough to convince someone to fork over the asking price?

FROM 3/26/19 – While we’re accustomed to seeing hatchback versions of the AMC Pacer, I can’t recall spotting too many wagon models, especially ones clad in wood trim. This example is said to be quite nice and offered for sale for the first time since new. It has remained with its original owner and looks to have enjoyed some high-grade storage in that time. It is said to have 75,000 27,400 miles and is now offered here on eBay with a listed price of $17,500.

The pictures show the Pacer on a lift, and unfortunately no photos or under-hood photos are offered. This is a shame, as I suspect the cabin remains in nice condition and would do much to enhance the eyeball appeal this Pacer already has just sitting up above the photographer’s head. The combination of forest green paint and wood trim is quite handsome, and the listing notes that the original veneer was replaced with real wood trim from a boat restoration shop.

That speaks to a level of commitment to a Pacer we don’t often see. That expense, combined with the impressive cosmetic condition, suggests this Pacer has lead a pampered existence, even with close to 80,000 miles on the clock. The original hubcaps appear to be a nice shape, along with the chrome bumpers. Overall, it emits a sense of luxury we don’t often associate with the likes of the Pacer.

The listing also notes this Pacer comes with factory A/C, which I would presume to be working if it’s mentioned as a key selling point. The six-cylinder / automatic combination is well-suited to a car like this, which is intended more for careful cruising than anything resembling spirited driving. While I suspect we’d all be more enthusiastic seeing the Pacer on the ground, I’ll admit to being tempted to call the owner up for more info just based on the photos provided – but I’ve already got a wagon. Are you intrigued by this wood-trimmed Pacer wagon?

Have something to sell? List it here on Barn Finds!

Like This? Get Our Daily Email


  1. TimS Member

    Looks like the ball & chain told him to sell it and he did his best not to, with goofy pictures and TV show price.

    • DayDreamBeliever Member

      Had to go look…
      Really now. The only photos are low-angle rear and right side shots of a car on a 4-post lift? SMH.
      What do people think about when making up an eBay listing, anyway?


  2. Stevieg Member

    Back in high school, I had a friend with one of these. It was yellow with a tan interior, factory aluminum slot looking rally wheels to clash with the woodgrain lol. It was equipped with the 258 cubic inch 6 cylinder engine with a 4 speed manual transmission. He blew up the engine & his Dad and he dropped in a 304. What a cool little sleeper! The kid, my friend, was a born again Christian & a gun fanatic. He made statements about going out & killing all of the sinners lol. I still watch the news, thinking that one day he will make headlines, just not in a good way. I have not seen him since graduation way back in 1988.

  3. Chris

    Lmao!!! He’s got it elevated like the prize of his collection. Outstanding, this would be the perfect prop in the next Anchorman movie. Ron Burgundy’s personal ride.

    • James

      Actually, I think that blue and gold XR7 from a couple of days ago is more Mr. Burgundy’s style…

    • Johnmloghry Johnmloghry Member

      Seems to me He don’t want to sell this car. The pictures look to be deliberately poor quality and angles. I agree his wife said sell the car, but he don’t want to, so to keep peace he posted it with no intention to sell. The irony would be if someone actually makes an offer his wife won’t let him refuse.
      God bless America

  4. sir mike

    Looks nice BUT not for anything close to asking price…sorry seller

  5. That AMC Guy

    That’s the wackiest set of pictures I can recall seeing in car ad and the price is pure crack pipe! I think TimS may have hit the nail on the head here. “But dear I’ve been TRYING to sell it!”

    • Dracula

      Better watch out, wait too long and SHE will sell it with out his input. That is when you get the best deals! Like when I once got a great deal on a used coffin. Faithful wife of 300 years found her hubbie was less then faithful so she locked him outside when the sun was coming up. Next night when I answered the ad, he was still a smelly smoldering lump in the yard, but that mattered not to me, the caskkie was nice and tight and the price was right. Moral of the story, do what the little lady wants or pay the consequences.

      • karl

        300 years ? who was it, Lily Munster ?

  6. Raymond Hurst

    Seller needs to correct the price. He has it at $17,500.00 when I think he meant $7,500.00, which would still be a little high for a Pacer. Correct the price and he might get some bids, though probably not near his asking price of $7,500.00

    • Jose Cantu

      Nah, Raymond. I think he must’ve meant $1,750.00. Then, maybe I’d consider it.

  7. Don

    The biggest problem selling this car isn’t the awful pictures, the inflated price or the quirky Pacer looks. Its the fact he replaced the original “wood” trim with real wood pieces . If someone wants an original car, he doesn’t want a car that’s been modified . Where are the old pieces of trim ? They didn’t make a lot of woody wagons ,so finding replacements would be tough. Not to mention that if he screwed/bolted all those trim parts on, the entire body is ruined !

  8. Mo Man

    Wow those are some wonderful pictures- they really show the car well ..

  9. Bobby Longshot

    I might pay $17.50 for that car, if there were better pictures.

  10. SMJ_Indy

    The ebay listing does not indicate that it is offered by the original owner. This 41-year-old car has been owned by the seller for 20 years, according to the description.

    Terrible photos (and lack of interior – engine bay photos) by the seller for a car that is probably overpriced by $9k – $10k, or more.

    I agree with Don regarding the hideous NON-ORIGINAL wood … ugh! Damaging to the sheetmetal and, again, Hideous. I’d much rather have the fake woodgrain vinyl appliqué (or even better, no “wood” panels, at all.

  11. Gerald

    I kinda like the Griswold paint scheme.

  12. Urquiola

    Just 9 years ago, they said the top ever paid for an AMC Pacer was $11’000 for an Station Wagon with less than 1000 miles, another Station Wagon, but ‘tuned’ has been offered recently on eBay, but over $20’000. A decade ago, an electric Pacer, with lead-acid batteries under the hood, sold in eBay.com for less than $4000. The Pacer is a fine car, but not exactly ‘Luxurious’

  13. Alexander

    Dumb marketing. Evidently, the woodwork (using the term loosely here) is so shoddy that the seller doesn’t want us to see it from the normal angle of an upright-standing human. Funny, I see someone got up on the lift and either stepped on the brakes or turned the lights on. How ’bout you lower the lift and give us some damn detailed shots of this POS. Pampered existence? Maybe. And maybe for many decades to come….in the hands of the seller!

  14. AnalogMan

    I might be one of the only people on the planet that’s owned not one but two Pacers. And admitted it.

    Regardless of how poorly built they may have been, or the inherent design compromises, you have to applaud AMC for taking a chance. The company could never compete head to head with the ‘Big 3’, so they had to do things differently. Like the Pacer. No company today would have the cajones to make a car as ‘different’ as this.

    The Pacer was originally intended to have a Wankel engine. The end result probably would have been very different and had a different reception from people if that had worked out. GM was supposed to supply the Wankel, but flaked out, leaving AMC holding the bag with a car designed around a rotary engine but nothing to power it with. They did the only thing they could: they shoe-horned in their venerable straight-6 (232 or 258 cu in) reliable but unexciting lump into it.

    I was impressed with AMC’s pluck, and wanted one back then. But as a college student, that wasn’t going to happen. But within just a few years they had depreciated enough that even a penniless grad student could afford one. You could buy a few-year old Pacer back then for a few hundred bucks. So I bought a ’74.

    The engine fit was so tight that there was no way to get at the last spark plug. It was jammed way up under the dash. I think every Pacer out there must still have its original spark plug in #6 cylinder. My first one had an automatic, and was as slow as glacial creep in Greenland. It struggled to get up to 65 mph. In upstate NY, it was also full of bondo from backyard rust repairs (including mine).

    I sold it but hadn’t had enough. So I bought another one – a low-mileage ’75, a rare ‘sport’ version – the legendary Pacer X. With a 3 speed manual transmission. With the shifter on the floor even. It was a helluva lot more fun to drive than my previous ’74 (relatively speaking, these were AMC Pacers not Corvettes). Unfortunately, it was no more reliable than my first Pacer, and my extremely limited grad student budget couldn’t keep up with repairs. I sold it for the princely sum (by 1980 standards) of $900, actually made $50 on it.

    Just for their unique history, the Pacer deserves a place in the collectible car world. But I don’t know about $17,500 worth…

    • davew833

      You didn’t buy a ’74 (or two ’74s) because ’75 was the first model year for the Pacer.

    • Jay

      Looking back it is hard to imagine these were real.

      Most Japanese cars were better in the same price range.

  15. Little Cars

    @ AnalogMan–love your screen name. I’m about your age, and remember well my Dad and I test driving the new Pacer as well as some forgettable Renault offering (Alliance?) at Mount Vernon Motors in Alexandria Virginia. A short 4-5 years later I bought an AMC Gremlin with air, same performance memories as you had except I could access all the plugs. Then I went backwards and bought an AMC Rebel wagon at an auction of telephone company vehicles. That one faired better. Wish I still had the wagon.

    • AnalogMan

      @Little Cars – thanks! A Gremlin? I always loved those cars! My itch for them started when I was in high school. I desperately wanted to buy a ’71 Gremlin X – with a 3 speed on the floor! – but just couldn’t afford it (it was a 3 year old car at the time, and the $1,500 price was an unimaginable amount of money for me). I’ve been looking for a green Gremlin X 3 speed stick ever since then – and in 45 years of searching, still haven’t found one.

      I’ve always had iconoclastic tastes in cars (and have owned 106 of them in my life). Other kids in high school drooled over Road Runners, Chevelle SS’s Mustang GT’s, Camaros, etc. To me they were OK (my first car was a ’65 Mustang convertible), but I always liked the underdogs. Gremlin, Pacer, SC/Rambler, and especially the (to me beautiful and exotic) Marlin – the kinds of cars you didn’t see every day. (I should probably have my head examined for yearning for a Gremlin…).

      The world could use more companies like AMC today. Especially in the car business, where everything seems to be converging to homogeneous boring conformity and uniformity, where it’s hard to tell one car brand from another without actually reading the name on the back, everything being a ‘turbo 4’ and with ‘paddle shifters’, and about as interesting as a kitchen appliance. We could use more people like Roy Chapin and Richard Teague, who (regardless of what one might think of their ideas) had the stones to do things differently and the courage to try a different path.

      Let me know if you ever happen to run across a Gremlin X with a 3 speed stick. I can’t get back my old high school love of my life girlfriend, but maybe I can still get one of the crazy cars I liked back then.

  16. Little Cars

    I’m lucky enough to live in a town, albeit small, where we have an “AMC guy” and even a “Falcon guy.” Both of them buy and sell their preferred vehicles from time to time. Last Gremlin the AMC person was peddling was a Levi’s edition Gremlin X, loaded, with a 4 speed and air. I believe it was orange. His price was a museum price. Another car destined to never be driven like it should. Instead, it will show up once or twice at Cars and Coffee and accumulate a few 100 miles every year. And that’s okay!

    • AnalogMan

      It sounds like you’re indeed lucky to have a local ‘AMC guy’ and a ‘Falcon guy’. Does the AMC guy do this as a business, or just his own hobby? I’d love to see what he has in his collection! I’d also love to have a Levi’s edition Gremlin X with a 4 speed, but I shudder to think what a ‘museum price’ might be…

  17. karl

    The guy is crazy , even if it were dead mint he couldn’t get that kind of money , and he screwed real wood in place of the original trim which ruined every panel but the hood

  18. 71FXSuperGlide

    You guys are missing the point…drive your kids to school in this thing once, and they’ll never ask you to again. LOL

  19. DJM Member

    Is the price, a misprint???

Leave A Comment

RULES: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks. Don't post your car for sale in the comments. Click here to get it featured on the homepage instead.


Notify me of new comments via email. Or subscribe without commenting.