American Motors Corp. introduces the Pacer on Feb. 28, 1975, and the novelty car goes on sale the next day.
A revolutionary design, often derided as a flying fishbowl, the Pacer featured 5,615 square inches of glass — some 37 percent of its surface area. It was available in hatchback and wagon body styles and equipped with a short, low hood, thick B-pillars and an extra-long passenger door.
"When you buy any other car, all you end up with is today's car," AMC said in its advertising. "When you get a Pacer, you get a piece of tomorrow."
AMC, an automaker renowned for smaller cars, from the Rambler to the Hornet to the Gremlin, racked up 72,158 sales of the Pacer through Dec. 31 that year.
AMC initially planned to slot a twin-rotor Wankel engine in the Pacer. Instead, it offered three engines over its lifetime: a 232 straight-six (1975-79), a 258 straight-six (1976-81) and a 304 V-8 (1978-79).
The Pacer was "fresh, bold and functional looking," Road & Track said, while noting that it was about as long as a Ford Pinto but as wide as the typical American intermediate car.