The 1976 AMC Pacer is a compact two-door coupe powered by a 232-cubic inch straight-six engine. American Motors' chief stylist, Richard Teague, styled the Pacer's aerodynamic design after a football. The vehicle's shape was unusually round at the time of its production and had a glass area of 37 percent.
Called the "Flying Fishbowl" by Car and Driver magazine in 1976, the AMC Pacer's jellybean-styling answered America's demand for smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles. Throughout the 1970s, car owners were met with increased gasoline prices, while Detroit continued the production of full-sized, fuel-thirsty automobiles. The Pacer was designed to place the roomy interior of a full-sized vehicle into a smaller, more fuel-friendly exterior package.
Next to the base model Pacer, AMC offered two package options for the 1976 coupe. An X Package option was a sport package, adding vinyl bucket seats, a sports steering wheel, custom trim, a front sway bar and manual floor shifter. A D/L Package option added reclining seats upholstered in Basketry print fabric, wheel covers, deluxe trim work and molding, and a wood-grain instrument panel overlay.
The 1976 Pacer also had a High Output version, which upgraded the standard 232-cubic inch engine to a larger straight-six with a displacement of 258 cubic inches. The standard 232 straight-six engine included a single-barrel carburetor producing 90 horsepower, while the 258 straight-six featured a two-barrel carburetor and 125 horsepower.