Look, I know it’s a little early to start thinking about Valentine’s Day, but I have a treat for you that’s not just a box of chocolates. How about the 1976 AMC Pacer used in Wayne’s World? Yep, this is the actual car used in the movie, and it’s about to roll across the Barrett-Jackson auction block.
The AMC Pacer was the automaker’s take on the compacts sweeping the United States. AMC marketed the thing as being as wide as a full-sized car, but with the economy of a small car.
The Pacer’s surface area was 37 per cent glass, far more than the average car back then and practically unheard of today. Sadly, its unusual style made it a bit of a mocking stock; a perfect ride for two slacker buddies in a 1992 comedy film that debuted on Valentine’s Day.
In Wayne’s World, Wayne Campbell (Mike Meyers) is a rocker still living in his parents’ basement in Aurora, Illinois. He has a public-access television show with his buddy Garth Algar (Dana Carvey). Together, the two embark on a misadventure that provides laughs nearly 30 years later. And the vehicle for their story? Garth’s blue “Mirthmobile” Pacer with mismatched wheels, a cup dispenser, a ceiling-mounted licorice dispenser and flames on the side.
After the movie the little car became a museum piece. It ended up in the hands of the Volo Auto Museum in northeast Illinois. The Museum — famous for its collection of original movie cars — held onto it for a while before putting it up for sale in 2004. After the sale, it disappeared for years.
It reappeared in a 2015 episode of Pawn Stars of all places.
Pawn Stars’ Rick Harrison said he got the car for $US9,500 (A$13,188) in a sorry state and not even running, a steep discount off of Volo’s $US15,000 (A$20,823) ask. Harrison restored the Mirthmobile not just to a nearly-perfect state but made it appear almost exactly as it did on the silver screen.
The Barrett-Jackson listing notes what was done in the restoration:
“Every effort was made in the car’s extensive restoration to bring it back to its movie condition. All bolted-on body parts were removed, and the exterior body was stripped to bare metal. Bumpers and original wheels were rechromed and the body was refinished with Nason base coat/clear coat to match the movie colour. Seats and the headliner were recovered, and all interior panels and dashboard were refinished. The only part of the restoration not true to the movie is the upgraded speakers and stereo (the 10-inch restoration speakers are not functional as there never was an amp in the car).”
The end result looks excellent. Everything you remember from the movie is there, including the aforementioned licorice dispenser.
The refreshed 4.2-litre inline-six is ready to wow you with its 100 HP and its three-speed automatic is there to keep things slow and steady.
I imagine the buyers of this car will be more excited about being able to have their own jam session with the upgraded stereo.
This is actually not the first time this car’s crossed the block. The freshly restored car sold at Barrett-Jackson in 2016 for $US37,400 (A$51,919). That makes this a movie car that you can own hopefully without having to drop an incredible amount of money.