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The Pacer and the LeMay Museum


Eric LeMay is the director of the famous LeMay Museum in Tacoma, Washington, showcasing the incredible automobile collection of his grandfather, Harold E. Lemay. On 29 August 2000, he told of his interest in the Pacer and sent in some pictures of the most amazing of the five AMC Pacers in the LeMay collection.



It just so happens I use the AMC Pacer a lot in my presentations about establishing a car museum in Tacoma based on my grandfather's car collection (www.lemaymuseum.org). It's kind of my grand finale about why museums need to exist to preserve history and facts, making things relevant for people who never would have imagined they cared.

The Pacer is the prime example. A 50-something car guy might think fondly of a '57 Chevy as being an important car in their life. Being 30 years old, I never flinch to say that the three most important cars to *me* are the Pinto (scary car -- it blew up! Wouldn't ride in the one my grandma owned for anything in the world), the '86 Ford Taurus (remember the bubble-car debates) and the Pacer (even as a little kid I thought the different door lengths was cool and it *was* the first bubble car).

Every car is a 3-D representation of a time and place in history and American culture and unless you put it in it's context of when it was created, you will never understand it. I do a whole history of compact imports from Japan, the gas crises and AMC's struggles to be the only company not controlled by the big 3 in the mid 70s. Stuff that all made the Pacer exist. They go from laughing at me about my choice of the Pacer as a milestone car to nodding their heads. I love it!

One of my favorite cars in the collection is this 1975 Pacer D/L (one of five in the collection). The photos above are from the Washington Athletic Club in Seattle. Each month, they put a different car in their lobby for every decade to celebrate 80 years and, of course, I wouldn't have given them anything except the Pacer (which, they say, got among the most positive feedback from members of any car they displayed). The car is in nearly mint condition with less than 7,000 miles on it. There are three dings in the paint, but other than that, it could probably be one of the nicest original Pacers in existence.

The car will also be on display Sept 8-29, 2000 at the Western Washington Fair in Puyallup, representing the 70's in the fair's 100th anniversary pavilion. The same room has, among others, a 1930 Cadillac V-16 all-weather phaeton and a '67 Shelby Mustang GT-500... how many times has that ever happened for public display? The Pacer gets its due! :)


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