‘Truly remarkable’ 1975 AMC Pacer has been professionally restored

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The coupe was restored as a sporty Pacer X model

Common knowledge among classic car people is that whatever the vehicle, no matter how homely or essentially rejected, there is a cadre of collectors who absolutely love it.  Case in point: The Pick of the Day, a 1975 AMC Pacer that has been treated to an improbable, over-the-top professional restoration.   

The original fishbowl on wheels is more often considered a punchline than a serious collector car.  One was used as Garth’s Mirthmobile, sporting ironic fender flames in the comedy film Wayne’s World. This year’s ugly Christmas sweater from Hagerty features a Pacer front and center.

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Yet still, there is something strangely appealing about the Pacer, created as a revolutionary modern car by AMC’s design chief Dick Teague.  As with most offbeat designs, the Pacer sparked controversy between those who thought it was super cool and those who were shocked and appalled.  

Though it might seem strange, this sparkling red Pacer was treated to a “comprehensive no-expense-spared restoration” by its third and latest owner, according to the Seekonk, Massachusetts, dealer advertising the car on ClassicCars.com.  The work included replacing the yards of glass with new PPG glass, which must have cost a pretty penny in itself. 

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Aside from being brought back to showroom condition – although it’s unknown whether it was originally a sporty X model – the car has only 24,975 miles on its odometer.  So yes, this is an unusually special Pacer that seems to have landed among appreciative friends.

RELATED:  Pick of the Day: 1965 Sunbeam Tiger, V8-powered British sports car

“The exterior body is super straight with great gaps throughout,” the dealer says in the ad.  “The car was repainted red which is a gorgeous color and fits this car well.  The paint quality is absolutely stunning and ocean deep. 

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“Everything on the exterior was restored or replaced such as the stainless window trim, rubber seals, antenna, chrome mirror, bumpers, door handles, headlights, taillights, etc. The exterior of this car is truly remarkable!”

The black-and-white interior also has been thoroughly refurbished, the ad says: 

“Everything in the interior was restored or replaced.  The interior of this car is also truly remarkable!”

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The Pacer is powered by its original 232 inline-6 engine, which has been rebuilt, mated with a 3-speed manual transmission.  The engine compartment and underside are detailed, and the brakes and suspension have been done, the dealer notes.

The asking price is $28,900, which most likely would not nearly cover the cost of a pro restoration.  A true labor of love, and hopefully, someone else will feel the love and see the beauty that lies within this “truly remarkable” Pacer.

To view this listing on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day

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Bob Golfen is a longtime automotive writer and editor, focusing on new vehicles, collector cars, car culture and the automotive lifestyle. He is the former automotive writer and editor for The Arizona Republic and SPEED.com, the website for the SPEED motorsports channel. He has written free-lance articles for a number of publications, including Autoweek, The New York Times and Barrett-Jackson auction catalogs. A collector car enthusiast with a wide range of knowledge about the old cars that we all love and desire, Bob enjoys tinkering with archaic machinery. His current obsession is a 1962 Porsche 356 Super coupe.

15 COMMENTS

  1. Of all the cars to restore a 75 AMC Pacer?
    I guess someone had some extra money to through away…Is there next project is going to be a 76 Pinto from Buffalo NY? Or maybe a full rotisserie restoration on a Yugo!
    I guess everyone has there own taste…the restorer may even drive a Nissan Cube!

  2. Haha, my wife’s family had the local AMC dealership. I always joked why couldn’t I have met the woman with the Chevy dealership or Ford, just anybody but AMC. She drove a Gremlin around when she was a teen.
    In my later years, I think those cars are really cool.

  3. Such an odd car. But kudos to AMC for trying it.
    They were hot to ride in due to all the glass and barely had enough power to pull their asses out of a mud puddle. Those things could have been corrected. So Dorky they are Cute!!

  4. ‘Restored’ is the most misused word in the automotive world. They did an excellent job, perhaps over-‘restored’. But they missed an important detail on the wheel center ‘volcano’ caps… the red anodized ‘American Motors’ trim ring. A reproduction set can be found often for a mere $20 on ebay. Visit http://www.mopacer.com

  5. To restore such a car for yourself is one thing. To restore it and expect to get anywhere near what you put into is a losing proposition. Maybe the owner has fallen on hard times and needs the money?

  6. When I was 30 I would have thought what an idiot. I am 60 now and I think how cool and unusual..it’s beautiful. If I had money to burn I WOULD own this car. The older I get the more I appreciate original. "" working man’s cars & trucks " . my 2 cents

  7. I know all the glass can make it hot in the summers, but I always thought it was a neat design with really great visibility. I liked AMC when I was younger and I even owned a Gremlin when I was in college that was a dependable vehicle that never cost me a lot to maintain. A good friend had a Javelin he loved and it was a sweet ride, as well. And let’s not forget, the AMC dealership was the only place to buy a new JEEP. Iacocca was a genius to buy AMC for the right to Jeep alone.

    As for the price for this vehicle, yes – I agree it’s overpriced, unless the owner is searching for a Pacer and has no intention of getting rid of it. However, for anyone else, it’s not a smart purchase. There are many restored classics you can buy in the $30,00 – $50,000 range that you can drive for years and then turn around and sell them for the same price. As neat as I thought the Pacer was, I wouldn’t go over half the asking price.

  8. I love it. I would like to see the data plate on the door that lists the factory colors and trims- IIRC that’ll tell you if it’s a true X or not. Regardless it’s gorgeous and if I had cubic money I’d have no problems writing a check for it right now.

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