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Pacer - Disaster on Wheels!


While most of our Pacer stories are positive memories, Delores Lay had an unfortunately negative experience with the Pacer she owned when it first came out. She shared this on 22 February 2003.

I read (with envy) the stories of love for your Pacers, and have to add my Pacer love/hate story.

I was driving a little Opel GT when the Pacer came on the market, and I fell in love with the eclectic style. I ordered a white top-of-the-line model with the great tan interior, super sound system, and everything that could be thrown on it. It was super -- for the first month.

As summer arrived on the scene, I knew I would have to really pump up the air conditioning because of all the glass, but it was impossible to cool. First, I noticed there was no air of any sort coming out of the vent directly under the steering column. So, a trip to the dealer was called for. They informed me that it wasn't intended to ever work, which I found hard to believe since they could have saved the money of installing it. After all, manufacturers pay bonuses when an employee comes up with a way to save a single screw in the assembly line.

On another visit to the dealership, there happened to be a visiting AMC rep, so I asked him about it. He made a call and found out it was supposed to work and only needed to have the hose connected, as it should have been in the first place. (Bad omen, right?)

Next, one hot July night, we felt hot air rushing from the defroster (which wasn't on, by the way) and into our faces, despite the fact the air conditioner was going at full blast. After another visit to the dealer, and another fix, this problem was solved.

Soon, I noticed a 10-inch diameter perfectly round circle of paint falling off the back panel below the hatch door. This required a two-week stay at the dealer's for a paint job.

Then, the driver's seat back refused to stay up, making it a little dangerous to drive. Thus, another 10-day stay waiting for the part to arrive to fix the seat.

Now, the gas pedal began sticking, causing some very scary moments. I didn't think I was going to make it to the dealer (who happened to be in the middle of the city -- traffic lights, pedestrians, etc.) without hitting something or someone. I could not turn the engine off, even by removing the key. My left foot was pressing on the brake as hard as possible, while the engine screamed.

Things like this went on and on. I can't even recall them all now.

I got rid of the Pacer in the 13th month, afraid to keep it after the warranty expired.

We added up all the days the car was in for service and out of commission for me during those 13 months, and it was in for repairs a total of 3-1/2 months.

I was never so glad to get rid of a car in my life, even though I still think it was one of the neatest looking cars. I do have to say that the sound system was fantastic. All that glass really made a great sound chamber!

My big lesson from this episode was stay away from AMC, and NEVER buy a car during the first few months of production of a new line.


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