American Motors took a new approach to the motor car when they announced the sporting Pacer series. The company took the whole idea of an American motor car and turned it upside down; no longer was the car built purely for style and a 'keep-up-with-ths-Jones's' image, the Pacer was practical, with all of the car used as space for occupants and their luggage.
When launched, the first thing motoring journalists noticed on the three-door Pacer was the large amount of window area, ideal for driving the car in confined urban districts. Also, the off-side door was slightly larger than that of the nearside, to help rear passengers get in without disturbing the front-seat occupants.
The power units for the car were the AM six-cylinder engines of 3802cc or 4228cc available in six states of tune, from 86 to 114 bhp. Top speeds for the models are 90 to 103 mph. Fuel consumption is approximately 20 mpg for all versions. No wonder there was a warning light on the dashboard that flashed 'fuel consumption' if the accelerator pedal was floored at slow speed!
The transmission was by a three-speed manual unit with overdrive, as well as a three-speed automatic, optional. The Pacer uses the normal American saloon-car suspension of the independent-front, rigid-rear type. The braking was taken care of by drums all round, with servo-assistance and discs optional. The Pacer's steering was by rack and pinion, and it was one of the first American cars to use such a system.
AMC Pacer Quick Specifications:
Front-mounted, water-cooled straight-six. 95.2 mm (3.75 in) bore x 88.8 mm (3.50 in) stroke=3802cc (232cuin) (86bhp 3802cc). or 95.2mm (3.75in) bore x Bs rnrn (3.90 in) stroke = 4228 cc (258 cu in) (114bhp 4228cc). Maximum power (DIN) 86bhp at 3400 rpm (3802 cc). or 114 bhp at 3600rpm (4228cc); maximum torque (DIN) 160lbft at 1600 rpm (3802 cc), or 1921bft at 2000rpm (4228cc). Cast-iron cylinder block and head. Compression ratio 8:1. 7 main bearings. 2 valves per cylinder operated, via pushrods and rockers, by a single camshaft, side. 1 Carter downdraught single-barrel carburetor.
Single-dry-plate clutch and 3-speed manual gearbox, with overdrive optional. Ratios 1 st 2.990, 2nd 1.750, 3rd 1, rev 3.170. Ratio for Laycock-de Normanville overdrive 0.778: 1. Ratios for Torque-Command automatic unit 1 st 2.450, 2nd 1.450, 3rd 1, rev 2.200: 1. Hypoid-bevel final drive. Standard ratio 2.730:1.
3-door hatchback, 3-door station wagon. Integral.
Front-independent by wishbones, coil springs and telescopic damper, rear-non-independent by a rigid axle, semi-elliptic leaf springs and telescopic dampers.
Rack and Pinion. Turns from lock to lock 5.90. With servo assistance, 3.
Drums on all four wheels, with discs and a power assistance system optional. Wheels 5 in x 14 in steel. tires 6.95 x 14, DR78, or DR70 x 14. Dimensions and weight Wheelbase 100 in; track-front 61.20 in, rear-60.20 in; length 171.50 in; width 77 in; height 53.60 in; dry weight 29951b (3802 cc). or 30061b (4228 cc); turning circle between walls 37 ft; fuel tank capacity 18.3 gals.
Maximum speed 90 mph (3802 cc). or 103 rnph (4228cc). 0-60mph 14-17 seconds. Fuel consumption averages approximately 20 mpg for both the 3.8-liter and the 4.2-liter models.