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The Gremlin was introduced on 1 April 1970,

by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / April 1, 2014 6:10 AM PDT

Sometimes you gotta admire their choice of when to debut their new cars.

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I can see why Bob.
by Dafydd Forum moderator / April 1, 2014 6:27 AM PDT


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the joke then was....
by James Denison / April 1, 2014 8:31 PM PDT

..."where the rest of the car"? Or "did the backend fall off"?

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I had an airport rental of one of those
by Steven Haninger / April 1, 2014 8:56 PM PDT
In reply to: the joke then was....

in Miami. You never know what you're going to get because your pre choices are size and price. It was ugly but it did run. If one without vanity and didn't mind being seen behind the wheel, I suppose it was sufficient. It held a lot of stuff for its size. I still think the Pontiac Banshee takes the award for the dumbest name ever.

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between the Gremlin,
by James Denison / April 1, 2014 9:14 PM PDT

the Pinto, and the horrible Vega, mechanically the Gremlin was probably the best.

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I agree, James. Though AMC products didn't handle
by Rob_Boyter / April 3, 2014 5:11 AM PDT
In reply to: between the Gremlin,

the corrosion troubles of the northern states as a rule.

Another potentially good but dangerous car was the Pacer. It was fun to drive, gave you an amazing view all around, but was a death-trap in a rear-end collision rather like the Pinto, and very bad in a side crash. It was, however, a very good car for people with disabilities. easily allowing a paraplegic driver to slide onto the driver's seat and then reach out and pull the wheelchair into the back seat behind the driver.

In the case of the Pacer the problem was over-all insufficiently well engineered body strength due to the large unreinforced doors and tje enormous rear window and weak resistence to being struck and over-ridden from behind. At least it wasn't dangerous because AMC refused to put a $5.00 fix in place which would have prevented the fiery consequences of a rear-end collision. In my opinion the Pinto and the current GM problem are the two most egregious examples of deliberate Corporate malfeasance that I know of. Even the Corvair was safer.


I had a Ford Cortina long long ago, and on my way home from work one Sunday morning was rear-ended by a car whose driver had fallen asleep at the wheel, and was driving at 35 mph when he struck the larger car behind me, knocking it into me. My passenger and I suddenly found ourselves shooting through an empty intersection where we had been waiting for the light to change, at a very great rate of speed, while completely reclined into the back seat, owing to the failure of the seat backs of the front seats. Not an experience I wish to repeat.


And just how can you make a car that can be disabled by its own key-ring? Aren't keys a fairly common and well known device for activating the car dating back over a century?


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(NT) Rob'ing a bit there?
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / April 3, 2014 5:17 AM PDT
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My mom and dad owned a '79 Pacer,...
by Paul C / April 3, 2014 6:30 AM PDT

...and you're right about the body's inability to stand up to Northern winters. When we left for Germany in '84, they still had the thing. I assure you that while the car was mechanically sound and drove reasonably well, Massachusetts winters had taken their toll on the sheet metal. We gave them our '79 Olds Cutlass Supreme (to which I had aftermarket rustproofing applied), as I knew that it was in better shape.

Visibility was outstanding - at the expense of appearing to be driving a motorized fishbowl. Devil

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What the Pacer could, and should, have been
by rcpaulsen / May 29, 2014 3:45 PM PDT

AMC designed the Pacer to comply with a proposed federal standard for a vehicle with a passenger compartment that could withstand a 35 MPH impact. The goal was a street vehicle that employed the "deformable structure" concept commonly used in race car designs, whereby the driver is protected within the roll cage while the rest of the vehicle is sacrificed to absorb the energy of the impact. Such a monumental undertaking devoured AMC's entire R&D budget, and forced them to shelve other design projects that were already in the works. GM contracted to provide AMC with their newly designed rotary engine, and the Pacer's engine compartment was designed specifically for that engine. After AMC successfully designed a prototype that met the 35 MPH impact standard, executives from GM, Ford & Chrysler went to Washington, claiming that after sparing no cost in their attempts to design a vehicle that met the new standard, they had concluded it simply could not be done. The EPA dropped the proposed standard, GM cancelled development of their rotary engine, and AMC was hung out to dry with an overbuilt and very costly design, no engine to power it, and a depleted R&D budget. The Big Three were able to absorb the cost of abandoning the project, but AMC had to somehow recoup some of their costs. They eliminated much of the reinforcing structure, including the huge roll bar that had occupied the over-the-roof bulge behind the doors, moved the dash and firewall back a foot to make room for their tried-and-true inline 6 engine, and produced a functional car that provided big car interior room in a compact body, with exceptional visibility. It's appearance, while eccentric, was a thing of beautify compared to the Volkswagen Beetle. American consumers eventually developed a taste for funny little egg-shaped cars, but not until the 1990's, long after the Pacer, and the plucky little company that produced it, were long gone.

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by rcpaulsen / May 29, 2014 3:55 PM PDT

Substitute "NHTSA" for "EPA" in my previous post.

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Interesting story
by Steven Haninger / May 29, 2014 6:25 PM PDT
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We got this here...
by Willy / April 1, 2014 10:06 PM PDT

The date would seem unanimous it didn't last as long as it did. I thought of it as a "fish bowl" sorta thing. Comapred to what US automakers had to come up with to counter "overseas" models, it was good idea at the wrong time or the effort in latter models done in the beginning. Other than being "ugly" I don't recall too much moaning about it not working well. But then American Motors had to have something. -----Willy Happy

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The PACER looked to be more "fish bowl" to me.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / April 2, 2014 3:26 AM PDT
In reply to: We got this here...
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The Pacer in Florida
by James Denison / April 2, 2014 3:45 AM PDT

was referred to as a "Solar Oven". It was the absolute worst car you could have there, especially if it had no working AC in it. It made about as much sense or less than a black car there.

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We got this here...
by Willy / April 1, 2014 10:08 PM PDT

The date would seem unanimous if it didn't last as long as it did. I thought of it as a "fish bowl" sorta thing. Compared to what US automakers had to come up with to counter "overseas" models, it was good idea at the wrong time or the effort in latter models done in the beginning. Other than being "ugly" I don't recall too much moaning about it not working well. But then American Motors had to have something. -----Willy Happy

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I thought it was beautiful!
by drpruner / April 2, 2014 5:05 AM PDT

"Stop judging that you may not be judged; for with the judgment you are judging, you will be judged, and with the measure that you are measuring out, they will measure out to you."
Mt 7:1,2

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ugliest cars in the last 50 years
by itsdigger / April 2, 2014 5:25 AM PDT
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I kind of liked the Thing. Reminiscent of the Kubelwagen,
by Rob_Boyter / April 3, 2014 5:36 AM PDT

Germany's Jeep in WW2. A good cheap convertible but I never felt safe in one.


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Actually, Rob, the resemblance between the VW Thing...
by Paul C / April 3, 2014 6:32 AM PDT

...and the Kubelwagen was intentional.

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