“The Flying Fishbowl”

AMC Pacer Wagon - 76

The AMC Pacer is a two-door compact automobile that

was produced in the United States by the American

Motors Corporation between 1975 and 1980.

Design   work   began   in   1971. The   rounded   shape   and   large   glass   area   were   unusual   compared   with the   three-box   designs   of   the   era.   The   Pacer's   width   is   equal   to   full-sized   domestic   vehicles   at the   time,   and   this   unique   design   feature   was   promoted   by AMC   as   "the   first   wide   small   car."   The Pacer   was   the   first   modern   mass-produced,   U.S.   automobile   design   using   the   cab   forward concept. The   Pacer's   rounded   and   aerodynamic   "jellybean"   styling   has   made   it   an   icon   of   the   1970s.   The May   1976   issue   of   Car   and   Driver   dubbed   it   "The   Flying   Fishbowl",   and   it   was   also   described   as "the   seventies   answer   to   George   Jetson's   mode   of   transportation"   at   a   time   when   "Detroit   was still rolling out boat-sized gas guzzlers."


The   initial   VAM   Pacers   were   the   equivalents   to   the   U.S.   AMC   Pacer   DL   models   except   for   a noticeably   longer   list   of   standard   equipment   and   included   some   features   of   the   U.S.   Limited models   of   1979   and   1980.   The   VAM   Pacer   had   had   no   model   or   trim   level,   and   U.S.   derivatives such   as   the   Pacer   X,   the   base   model,   and   the   Levis   Pacer   were   not   available.   The   VAM   Pacer's standard    engine    was    the    gross    200    hp    (149    kW;    203    PS)    282    cu    in    (4.6    L)    I6    with    7.7:1 compression   ratio,   266   degree   camshaft   and   a   Holley   2300   two-barrel   carburetor   coupled   to   a steel   intake   manifold,   and   featured   a   T-150   three-speed   manual   transmission   with   heavy   duty clutch   and   a   3.31:1   rear   gear   ratio. All   VAM   Pacers   came   with   heavy-duty   suspension   (front   sway bar   with   stiff   springs   and   shock   absorbers),   power   brakes   with   front   disks,   power   steering   (rack and   pinion   unit),   larger   radiator   with   coolant   recovery   tank,   rigid   four-bladed   cooling   fan,   and electronic ignition. Standard    convenience    features    included    a    custom    luxury    steering    wheel,    column-mounted manual   shifter,   woodgrain   dashboard   trim,   inside   hood   release,   individual   reclining   front   seats with    adjustable    headrests,    center    folding    arm    rest,    fixed    two-point    seatbelts,    two-speed electric   wipers,   electric   washers   integrated   to   the   wiper   arms,   140   km/h   speedometer   (some few   units   had   a   160   km/h   unit),   courtesy   lights,   monaural AM   radio   with   a   single   in-dash   speaker, electric   analog   clock,   heater   with   windshield   defroster,   lighter,   dashboard   ashtray,   locking   glove box,   tinted   windshield,   plaint   door   panels   (U.S.   base   model   type   without   cloth   insert   and   pull strap),    dual    rear    ashtrays,    folding    down    rear    bench    seat,    trunk    carpet,    sound-insulating cardboard-type headliner (U.S. base model type), and round dome light. The   external   appearance   and   equipment   of   the   VAM   Pacer   consisted   of   a   full   bright   molding package   (wheel   lips,   top   edge   of   the   hood   and   fenders,   window   surrounds,   rocker   panels),   bright rear   panel   between   the   taillights   and   the   rear   licence   plate   housing,   protective   side   moldings, front    and    rear    bumper    guards,    bumper    nerfing    strips,    five-mile-per-hour    bumpers    with recovering   shocks   (only   VAM   car   with   this   characteristic   along   with   the   Matador-based   Classic line),   five-spoke   in-house   VAM   wheels,   trim   rings   and   full   cover   volcano   center   caps   on   the wheels,    ER78x14    radial    tires,    driver's    side    manual    remote    mirror,    radio    antenna    on    the passenger's side fender, and a two-step hood latch. The   concept   of   the   VAM   Pacer   was   entirely   different   compared   to   the   AMC   Pacer.   The   car   was focused   to   be   a   high-end   luxury   car   from   its   introduction   to   its   end,   while   American   Motors counterpart   started   as   an   economy   car   and   import   fighter. This   was   reinforced   after   the   first   200 units   produced   when   the   three-speed   automatic   transmission   joined   the   standard   equipment list.    The    VAM    Pacer    became    the    most    costly    and    luxurious    VAM    car    at    the    mid-year discontinuation   of   the   1976   Classic   line.   The   uniqueness   of   the   model   coupled   to   its   level   of luxury   and   price   range   practically   made   the   car   a   flagship   for   the   company,   even   though   it   was never   officially   considered   as   such.   Probably   the   most   unique   aspect   of   the   1976   VAM   Pacer   lies in   its   seat   designs.   VAM   created   a   design   based   on   AMC's   Oleg   Cassini   interior   for   the   1974-1975 Matador   coupe   that   used   not   just   in   the   Pacer   but   in   all   three   VAM   Classic   models   for   the   year. The   Pacer's   seats   incorporated   a   golden   Cassini   crest   on   the   headrests   and   a   pattern   with   copper buttons   forming   squares.   Unlike   the   AMC   Pacer,   the   VAM   Pacer   had   a   very   short   list   of   factory optional   equipment.   These   included   rear   wiper   and   washer,   rear   defroster,   reading   dome   light, trunk   cover,   remote-controlled   driver's   side   mirror   and   luxury   wheel   covers   and   heavy   duty cooling   system   (seven-bladed   flexible   fan   and   fan   shroud).   A   universal   air   conditioning   system was available only as a dealership option among a few others not present in the factory list.


This collections Pacer has been bought new and it is still in perfect road condition.
Photos mainly by Matti Kreivilä. Historical facts and technical details of the vehicles provided by Wikipedia. Movies YouTube.