Back then . . .V-8, floor shift add to Pacer fun

1978 AMC Pacer Wagon. (Bud Wells photo/1978)

Forty years ago this winter, I reviewed in The Denver Post the 1978 AMC Pacer D/L Wagon two-door, provided by George Dupont of the American Motors Denver Zone Office. Excerpts follow:

The V-8 engine is new to the Pacer wagon this year and its peppier performance coupled with the car’s wide windows for excellent all-around vision make it a good one for travel on the busy Valley Highway.

Acceleration hesitation hampered its performance the first couple of days, but a carburetor adjustment by Vic Hebert’s AMC service crew put it in top running form

It’s a relatively heavy car at 3,600 pounds on a wheelbase of only 100 inches. The 304-cubic-inch V-8, automatic floor-shift transmission and rear-wheel-drive configuration produced fuel mileage of 20.1 miles per gallon on a drive to Burlington and back. It handled decent on ice and snow, with suspension of isolated coil springs in front and leaf springs at the rear.

Though base price of the Pacer was only $4,143, the addition of the V-8 $233,  automatic transmission $320, whitewall radial tires $139,  air conditioning and power steering $679, door vent windows $34, AM/FM radio $224, woodgrain sides $111 and other options pushed sticker price to $7,143.

The floor shift added to the fun of driving the sporty wagon with the V-8 power. Standard engine is a 232-cubic-inch inline-6-cylinder.

The wagon has plenty of load space, 50.4 cubic feet with the rear seats folded. The wagon is 77 inches wide, with front tread of 61.5 inches and rear 60 inches.