We’ve been checking up on the Barrett Jackson celebration auction this week. They’ve got a lot of interesting cars from movies or owned by celebs, and one of them just sold pretty cheaply. This is the Mirthmobile, one of the most iconic movie cars of the early 1990s thanks to its appearance in the classic comedy Wayne’s World.
To give you just the gist of what happened, Barrett Jackson only managed to get $65,000 for this 1976 AMC Pacer, and I think that’s incredibly cheap. Maybe it’s Wednesday auctions are a little slow or everybody has their cash saved up for Burt Reynolds’ 1977 Pontiac Trans Am Firebird. Either way, here’s a movie car for new Supra money.
This year is the 25th anniversary of Wayne’s World, and that makes me feel pretty old. I still remember the guys bobbing their heads to Bohemian Rhapsody in this little American automobile.
I found a YouTube clip where you can see what kind of rough condition it was in, missing some very important parts. Maybe the full restoration ruined its all-original value? The Pacer was sold once before, at a Barrett Jackson Las Vegas auction in 2016, when it grabbed $37,400.
The first wide small car
In the movie, which was shot over just a few weeks, the AMC Pacer serves as transportation for Wayne Campbell (Mike Meyers) and Garth Algar (Dana Carvey). Its trademarks are some trashy flames over the baby blue paint, miss-matched wheels, licorice, and cup dispensers.
Under the hood, this Pacer comes with the 258 inline-6, a 4.2-liter producing about 110 horsepower, which goes to the back via a simple automatic. The model itself has a pretty interesting history.
Often laughed at, the Pacer and the Gremlin were born out of America’s need for small, cheap cars. Reliable and efficient compacts were beginning to dominate the market in the early 1970s. The Ford Pinto and Chevrolet Vega were some of the retaliatory responses.
The Pacer was actually pretty amazing. Its chassis was strong to meet crash requirements that would only become mandatory around 1980. It had an interesting cab-forward design by Richard A. Teaque, with large windows and a roomy interior.
However, AMC was a relatively small, cash-strapped company. While they offered low-end torque and reliability, the straight-6 and V8 Pacer engines weren’t as efficient as the 4-cylinder competitors.