Exsqueeze me? Yes, you read that headline right. Someone has paid $71,500 for a 1976 AMC Pacer, the very one from 1992’s “Wayne’s World.” Despite its distinctive design, the Pacer is often derided as a poor American attempt at a compact hatchback during the height of the Malaise Era, but clearly its movie connections were enough to rocket the bidding into Audi RS 5 territory.
You may remember its movie appearance as rock music-loving buds Wayne (Mike Meyers), Garth (Dana Carvey) and their band perform a rousing singalong of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” as they drive through their hometown of Aurora, Illinois. Incidentally, that scene contains an insane background roster of now-extinct automotive eye candy, including a Mitsubishi-built Dodge Challenger, Pontiac Fiero GT, Toyota Corolla FX-16, and even the shish-kabob’ed cars of the Spindle art installation in nearby Berwyn.
The car was portrayed as the embodiment of desirability… not. Called the Mirthmobile, it was meant to be a heap, the kind of car two aspiring but broke teenage bandmates might own. The car was also heavily modified for filming, with tow hooks, steel plates welded to the lower body for camera attachments, and the rear wheel wells cut to fit speaker boxes. The roof has holes drilled into it so the movie’s licorice dispenser could be added, and the faded-blue-with-flames paint job was sprayed over an originally yellow Pacer.
The auction listing says that after the movie the car sat dormant for 20 years, then underwent an extensive restoration that took the body down to bare metal. Then it went up for auction in 2016 at the Barrett-Jackson auction in Las Vegas, where it sold for $37,000. Now, eight years later, it nearly doubled in price when it traded hands at the 2022 Barrett-Jackson auction in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Even if you did want to collect a Pacer the list of modifications, and the fact that it has an AMC 258 cubic-inch six mated to an automatic, probably make this a less-than-ideal candidate. Still, its turn as a movie star was apparently enough to make someone go “Schwing!” Party on, new owner, whomever you are.