The 1970s gas crisis forced many automakers to rethink their production lineup. By the middle of the decade consumers were less interested in style and power and more focused on value and fuel efficiency. To answer the cries of the people AMC introduced the Pacer. When it debuted in February 1975 the company found it had an instant hit. More than 145,000 Pacers sold in their first year of production alone, but the fire couldn’t be stoked. Sales soon slumped leading to total sales of 280,000 units over its full five year run, which ended with the last Pacer being manufactured on this day in 1979.
Advertised as “the first wide small car,” the Pacer featured a surface area that was nearly 37 percent glass, which led it to be dubbed the Flying Fishbowl. A general lack of power, minimal storage and fuel economy that was less than that of competing Asian and German imports all contributed to the demise of the Pacer.
Cover: 1979 AMC Pacer, public domain.