This is a true story about a simple car that I saw in a magazine and wanted to build back in 1977, finished it in 1978 when I was 18 years old, and then sold it in 84. The car I saw was 1977 Pacer wagon chopped by one of the most talented unsung custom car builders around Carl Green. He tried to sell the idea to AMC back in 77-78 just before their demise. The story goes like this I contact Carl to build the exact car he built just after seeing it in the magazine in 77. So I go and buy a brand new 1977 Pacer wagon off the showroom floor bring it home and began to cut it up. Carl kindly sent me some 35mm pictures and some direction that I returned to him with a thank you (He never saw the car finished until 30 years later) never to talk to Carl again until 30 years later. I drove the car for several years put it in car shows and had a blast with it. Going into business for myself and needing money I sold it around 1984. The person who bought it owed me some money for the repair to the passenger seat. So I held on to the title until he paid me… he never came back, so I still had the title and that is also what sparked the search for this car.
Carl and I at the same time without knowing (2007-2008) started looking for the same car (the one I built) for different reasons .For sentimental reasons I wanted to see if I could find it due to my Dads passing and his help putting the rear of the car together (he being a sheet metal man made it possible) After chasing leads from web sites, photographers, police buddies, Car clubs, Motor Vehicle records to no avail. My cell phone rings one night and a voice from the past (30 years ago). Carl Green on my phone telling me he knows where my car is. Carl gives me all the info on where the car is and that it's in Colby Kansas! He knows I’m looking for it because one of the web sites I contacted sent him my email asking if they had seen my Pacer pick up that looked like the one he was famous for.
I call the gentleman who ended up with the car and offer to take the car off his hands to no avail. After several calls and some pleading he says if you want the car you have to come out here and see it. That’s right I have to go to Colby Kansas from Connecticut if I want the car. His reasoning is the car is to far gone he wants me to see what I’m getting. So I go to Colby, and after 30 years when I see the car not much has changed the same stereo speakers are in it the same center console I made the same carpet the same paint and the same pinstiping still on the car. All of it in very bad shape. With rust holes you could stick your hand through every where. The only thing not badly rusted is the part my Dad and I put together the rear truck bed part. Otto the guy who was so proud of the car and the fact that he saved it from the junk yard and crusher was nice enough to actually give me the car,…. and wouldn’t even let me buy him lunch. I asked him how fast do I have to get the car out of here his reply to me was “the grass will grow the leaves will fall the snow will come and when the car leaves it leaves”! At that point he pulled the Title out of his pocket signed it and handed it to me and says ”let go get some lunch”. Lunch with Otto and his wife was very pleasant and with title in hand the 4 hour trek back to the Denver Airport was on. I arrange through the internet to have the car moved from Colby to Connecticut. Get this the car arrives on Fathers day!! Wait it gets better!!
It doesn’t end there the car is so badly rusted I can’t use anything on the car but the bed my Dad and I made. So the hunt is on for another Pacer wagon but it’s 30 years later not an easy item to find especially one with out rust! Back to the internet a few weeks after leaving Colby and hunting the internet I find a 1979 V-8 wagon. It’s in Wisconsin next to Kenosha where they were originally manufactured. I contact the person and the car has over 100,000 miles on it but little or no rust. He tells me the car is from Arizona and he was going to do it over but has another project he’s working on. The pictures he sends look good! I think we have a winner! So were off to Wisconsin to buy a Pacer wagon and drag it back. The pictures on the next few pages show some of the story of the car that is still under construction with a few changes. Some of the changes that the original pick up did not have are the 360 V-8, the missing chrome bumpers and the over all look will be slightly changed. I will be trying to make it look fresh like it came off the showroom floor in 2012. With updated wheel wells and of course the tire and rim package yet to be determined. The Concept sketches you see are those from Hot Rod Magazine fame, Steve Stanford. Thanks to Jeni Panhorst (www.amcpacer.com) my Wife Laura, Otto, Dan Luisi, and Guy Wilcox and Carl Green for helping me get this far