The Suitcase Lady


April 20, 2021, 10:27 am

When our family gets together, we invariably tell stories about our cars, past and present. These tales are usually about breakdowns and other misadventures, and, in many, a Volkswagen is involved.

Our son recently told a great story that my husband and I hadn’t thought of for decades. It was about the time he and I bought, and then immediately unbought, one of the world’s strangest cars, a Pacer. It was a moment of insanity, but well-intentioned.

Our two growing kids needed more room in the backseat. So, as our son tells it, “they bought an upside-down fruit bowl on wheels.”

Buyer’s remorse set in the day after we signed on the line. Fortunately, in those gentler times, we had a short grace period in which to renege.

The first ad for the Pacer proclaimed, “You only ride like a Pacer, if you’re wide like a Pacer.” It was made by a Wisconsin company, American Motors in Kenosha. The designs of their various automobiles can be described as flamboyant, motley, weird or pathetic. The company folded in 1988. I think we dodged a bullet.

Be prepared to laugh. Here are two brilliant television ads for this doomed auto.

Pacer Prototype

3 Comments for this entry

  • Peter Little

    Pacer, Javelin, Hornet, Matador – names so rarely uttered in reverence! Poor Kenosha was such a small-potatoes competitor of mighty Detroit.
    Yet it would take the arrival of the Japanese to put AMC down for good. Although, their flair for poor workmanship lives on at Fiat-Chrysler, in the JEEP-nameplate.

  • Marilyn verick

    Remember well the Nash but never heard of the others including the Pacer . Wasn’t the AMC the American Motor Co.?

  • Elizabeth Levins

    Cute, the car and the commercials. I think you should have kept it!