AMC’s designers were masters at taking sows’ ears and turning them, if not into silk purses, into fairly attractive cars. Other times, probably due to orders from superiors, their results were less successful. Trying to boost flagging Pacer sales after the car was on the market for 3 years, the car was given a more traditional looking upright grille and a hood ornament, which made an oddly attractive car into something just plain odd. With a cd of .41, the original Pacer was one of the most aerodynamic cars of the era, however all that glass added weight and while the AMC six cylinder engine was arguably the most durable American car engine ever made, it was heavy. That meant that the Pacer wasn’t going to have great fuel economy. Replacing the original front end with a formal grille made the car less aero, further deteriorating gas mileage at a time when it was increasingly a factor in consumer purchases.
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