First and Six

AMC Pacer in University of Washington colors

Driving up north the other day, I saw a familiar squat shape pulling onto I5 between Tacoma and Seattle, and as we pulled up next to it, it was indeed an AMC Pacer, which was the first car I ever had (and which had been my father’s car for several years). Regrettably, a lack of money for regular maintenance didn’t do my Pacer any favors, and I didn’t have it (running) for many years. We went a couple years without a vehicle of our own, then bought a relative’s Volkswagen Rabbit — which broke down one too many times and ended up being replaced with a new Ford Escort hatchback. The Escort was dependable and sturdy, managing to take out an SUV and a van in the only accident I’ve ever been involved in. In a tragic mistake, we replaced it with a used Escort hatchback that we were able to buy outright with the insurance money. The transmission on that baby stripped out on us on a dark September Friday evening near Mary’s Peak. For the past decade, we’ve been driving its successor, a trusty (new) Escort wagon.

My sixth car is the smart. And you can see its dash reflected in the window of the photo, bringing the car line full circle. I still have a soft spot in my heart for the Pacer, though.