Design Notes: 1975 AMC Pacer
The model below is the fiberglass mockup that was shown to an audience in Atlanta from February 3 through 6, 1972. Some interesting facts about this audience is that the oldest member was 35 and they were all current owners of compact and subcompact cars.
Surprisingly, an amazing 93 percent of those in attendance chose the “Yes, like it” response.
The two pictures below are of the interior of the Atlanta fiberglass mockup. Keep in mind, despite its finished appearance, this is a non-functioning model. In fact, its interior had a removable center tunnel to gauge whether those at the clinic liked it more with or without it, in spite of ultimate engineering constraints. (The tunnel is seen as the carpeted hump that runs down the middle of a car’s interior. In a rear-wheel-drive application, such as the Pacer, the tunnel houses the drive shaft making it more prominent.)
The picture below on the left shows the mockup without the tunnel resulting in a nearly flat floor. The picture below right shows the tunnel in place.
Concurrently to the design that was shown in Atlanta, at least one competing design was underway. The two photos below are dated February 1, 1972. It seems to bear the same general proportions of the fiberglass Atlanta model but with considerably different detailing, most notably by employing exposed headlights.
Another thing you’ll notice in these photos is that the model is split longitudinally which is fairly common. Former chief designer for GM brands, Dick Ruzzin, told me that it saves on costs and that, in his experience, the primary design is on the left while the alternative is on the right.
The headlight on the left front reminds me of a 240Z’s while the light on the right looks like what would be on the front of 1974 Camaros. Both sides of the rear are just plain odd to me. Notice in the picture below right, there is a model sitting ahead and to the right of the subject car. Looks sort of like a Datsun B210.
These next three are dated March 2, 1972. It took me quite some time to figure out that the three shots were indeed of the same model.
The following four pictures are also dated March 2, 1972. They show some sharply diverging proposals for both the front and the rear.
Notice in the bottom left photo that the C-pillars are canted at different angles. It seems the final angle was somewhere between those two.
Continue to page 5, below.