Many people think that the AMC Pacer was introduced as a reply to he fuel crisis of 1973; while certain changes were made to it because of the crisis, such as replacing the gas-hungry Wankel rotary engines with normal straight-six engines, AMC started showing off the prototypes back in 1971, in the heydays of muscle cars!
Let’s be honest: as wide as is was long, or close enough, the Pacer was a terrible looking car – still is – and kind of joke in the industry. It’s easy to see why. It was under-powered, had way too much windows, one of the doors (the left one) was longer than the other (to facilitate access to the back seat) and most importantly, it looked ridiculous. What were they thinking?
The Pacer could count (and that’s a generous term) on a 90 horsepower, 3.8-liter straight six engine, which propelled (again, a generous term) the Pacer to a top speed of 104 mph and accelerated to 60 in over 14 seconds.
Let me stop right here: even for the 70s, getting 90 horsepower out of a 3.8 liter engine is pathetic. There’s no other word for it. Oh wait. Embarrassing. Ridiculous. Shameful. You get the idea. I don’t have the data on the compression ratio, but it must have been also ridiculous. Come one. I bet it was a real gas-guzzler, too.
Anyways, this sad excuse for a car lingered on the production lines for 5 years, until 1980, until somebody sobered up and put that lame horse out of its misery. Good riddance.