12th Feb 2004, 20:50

Besides being the mirth-mobile of Wayne's World fame the Pacer was a safe car for the standards of the'70s. My sister and her husband walked away from a head-on with a big old station wagon a couple of years after they bought a snazzy two-tone model. My sister bought it as a replacement for her 66 Mustang 'cause she thought it might be another classic. That didn't work out, but she is probably lucky to have changed cars before the accident.

18th Mar 2004, 22:44

Distinctive? For sure. Ugly? For sure. Crappy? For sure. But seriously, AMC wasn't the only maker with problems in the 1970s. Ford had its Pinto and Granada. Chevy had their ultra crap Vega. AMC had the extremely ugly and bad Gremlin and Pacer. Even Honda had their rusting-on-the-lot first generation Accord with its early aluminum engine and early FWD transmission. In the 1980s, things under the hood got better, interiors got worse (headliners fell, dashes cracked, seats and carpet faded etc) finally, the 90s comes around and rescues car engines from the wrath of a computer controlled carb. And under the hood AND interior quality is vastly improved. By 2000, things have done a 180 since 1975 and there is absolutely no comparison.

So do I want a 2004 Cavalier or a 1975 Pacer? The choice is obvious.

28th Mar 2004, 22:51

Why couldn't a 1975 model be reliable with a super nice interior? The technology was there to make them good. I will tell you why 1970s car were such big pieces of garbage. The automakers wanted every penny they could get their little hands on, with no care about quality or built control. Not only that, but I see no reason why AMC's cars had to be so damn ugly. I don't think other 1970s cars are ugly, mostly just AMC's (the full sized cars of the era were boring, but that was the style. I don't know what style AMC thought they had)

BTW even saying a 2004 is as bad as most 1970s is laughable. First, everyone that is happy with a 2004 doesn't come on here to write a review, only the dissatisfied ones do. Second, the problems with todays cars are things like a temper-mental rear wiper, or something else little and dumb to get worked up about. Whereas in the 1970s, you had the Vega with an extremely bad aluminum engine that wore itself out within 50,000 miles. You had the Pinto where the design was known to be unsafe, something that WOULD NOT FLY today. AMC's engines were not horrible, I will give them that. Their famous straight 6 was not too bad. But the ugliness, crappy interiors and sheer bareness of the interiors made for very bad cars. Not too mention they had some dumb, simple-to-design-better problems. From electrical crankiness, to mechanical parts failing etc. Why didn't GM test the Vega better? If they did, they would have known the engine was crappy. Or they did, but didn't care. Cars today are just nicer, they have engines and transmissions that weren't designed between smoking breaks and the fit and finish among all is wonderful.

At least you know that domestics and imports are fairly equal in terms of reliability. But think of this, if 100 people have a 2004 Cavalier and 2 have some problem and they come to this site. There are still 98 with good cars. I am pretty sure if this site existed back in 1978, there would be more reviews on new cars.

Today's cars are better, cut and dry. We should be able to compare a modern car with an old car because older cars are just as able to be good. Heck, they are simpler, with less emissions junk, 3 or 4 speed transmissions, less complicated engines. They should have been super reliable. But car makers blew it, they can make a reliable car when they really want to.

28th Mar 2004, 22:53

Oh ya, about the 180 comment, I was talking about interior and under the hood quality. How often does a new car have a fallen headliner? How often does a new car get scored cylinders after 50,000 miles? How common is a cracked dashboard in a 2 year old car?

13th Apr 2005, 23:24

How often do new cars have drooping headliners? Your question in itself is a categorical error. New cars do not have these problems yet, because, simply put, they are new cars. We'll see if you're still talking turkey about your cavalier 35 years down the road..

19th Oct 2005, 10:40

Still drive it daily here in the Netherlands. Lotta rust due to our Dutch weather conditions, but running. 30 years old now and most interior is fine, exterior is less pretty.

Heavy materials used in the car make it last long.

Of course through time a bunch of iparts and stuff were replaced and/or renewed, but over all it's a lasting quality car.

Poor interior...maybe, but it wasn't priced as say a cadillac.

Placed aerodynamics on the car-map I think.

20th Sep 2006, 21:39

I've owned 2 Pacers; a 1979 Limited edition and a classic 1976 D/L model. Both have been pretty reliable cars and have held up well over the years. Personally I happen to think the design of both the Pacer and the Gremlin are way above average for the time. The imaginative futuristic look of the Pacer anticipated the "aero" styling of the late 1980s.

28th Oct 2006, 01:45

The main reasons that quality of automobiles has increased significantly are that the customers are better informed, the influx of high quality Japanese cars and expectations has increased.

In 1971, if you bought a $2000 Chevy Vega, you got what you paid for. A car that would last for 2 years and that was expected. If you wanted something to last longer, you bought a more expensive car.

In 2006, someone who would pay $12,000 for the cheapest Toyota would expect that car to last just as long as Toyota's most expensive model.

It would be scary to see what American cars would be like today, if it weren't for the Japanese competition.

28th Oct 2006, 12:36

Who is this troll who keeps using the Chevy Vega as the benchmark of 1970's quality? Ridiculous! Cars of the 1970's did have nicer interiors, better styling, and reliability that is just as good or better than cars until very recently, perhaps 2005. No computers to quit that caused transmissions to seize up, no "engine sludge" problems, no cheap vinyl interior that peeled up off the armrests, just simple reliability. Everybody knew in 1974 that the Vega was junk, as was a Honda or Toyota. If you wanted a quiet, comfortable car with nice trim and options you bought a Chrysler, Dodge, Buick, or Oldsmobile. It wasn't until 2005 that I started seeing cars that forced me to admit they were better-driving than my 1973 Dodge. The 2001 Impala, for instance, rode like a lumber wagon compared to my old Dodge. As for precious Japanese cars, let's wait until they also get to be 30 years old before we compare them in retrospection to the AMC Pacer. I daresay there are more 30-year-old American cars on the road than Japanese cars. I don't remember the last time I saw a 10-year-old Japanese car, do you?

13th Nov 2006, 12:30

Hmmm. I drive an all-original 76 pacer d/l. No drooping headliner. It was some kind of hard paper based material. The only issue with that material is that after 30 years the paint is flaking away and it should be redone.

And it is silly to flat out compare two cars of different times. Market pressures and technology advances put them in separate categories. Emissions laws were different. needs of a customer were different and the methods of a car company were different. Let the pacer stand among the peers of its own decade, not against a modern car, let alone against a 1949 buick. Different animals, all of them.