Pawn Stars has already begun filming Season 14. Chumlee is back full time, as are Corey and Rick Harrison, while the “old man” Richard Harrison is only returning in occasional cameos. The History Channel show is now back in the headlines, this time for selling the iconic Wayne’s World robin’s egg blue, 1976 AMC Pacer, complete with flames, for a record amount of money at the 2016 Barrett-Jackson Las Vegas auction. What is the story behind this pumped up Wayne’s World car, how did Pawn Stars come to own the vehicle, and how much money did they get for this piece of Hollywood memorabilia?
Wayne’s World was movie based on a recurring Saturday Night Live skit in the late 80s and early 90s. Featuring two heavy metal dudes with a public access television show, Wayne Campbell, portrayed by Mike Meyers, and his best friend and side kick Garth Algar, portrayed by Dana Carvey broadcast from Wayne’s basement. The popular skit was an instant sensation, creating such cultural phrases as “we’re not worthy,” “schwing!” and “not.”
Soon, Wayne’s World was made into a movie and fans, were introduced to the rockin’ 1976 AMC Pacer. The movie starts out with the iconic “Bohemian Rhapsody” car scene that made the blue Pacer so treasured and valuable. Everyone who saw this scene wanted this “gnarly” vehicle.
Wayne’s World was filmed in a short period of time, just 34 days, during the SNL summer hiatus. Giving it some rock gravitas, the movie was directed by Penelope Spheeris, infamous for her raw music documentaries The Decline of the Western Civilization I, II, and III. She was behind the classic “Bohemian Rhapsody” scene. To this date, Wayne’s World is the most financially successful SNL movie spinoff in the history of the NBC comedy/variety show.
So how did Pawn Stars’ Rick Harrison get the iconic Wayne’s World car in the first place? In a Pawn Stars episode that was broadcast in 2015, Harrison was down in Orlando and had heard that the 1975 AMC Pacer used in Wayne’s World was for sale right there. Before heading back home to Vegas, where he owns the World Famous Gold and Silver Pawn Shop, Harrison decided to contact the owner of the prized vehicle and check it out. A huge fan of the movie, Harrison had to see it for himself.
“I have to see this thing!”
The minute Rick Harrison laid eyes on the iconic light blue Pacer, he blurted out “Schwing!” and “Party on!” Obviously, he was stoked to see this vehicle in person. Ironically, the owner never saw the entire movie Wayne’s World, only movie”clips,” as he claimed to prefer westerns. He originally got the car from the Volo Auto Museum in 2004. The museum got the vehicle from someone who had won it on a radio contest.
Before asking the owner what amount he wanted for the vehicle, Harrison was already in fine bidding form, downgrading the make of the vehicle that was used in this movie.
“The AMC Pacer is considered one of the ugliest cars ever made.”
In addition, Harrison noted that nothing had been done to the car in over 20 years and it was in bad shape. Rick told the seller that he figured that he would need to spend between $10,000-$15,000 in order to resell the movie prop. The owner wanted $15,000, but in the end, settled for $9,000, and Rick chuckled in delight.
After this episode, there has been no other mention of the vehicle on the History Channel show nor on the pawn shop website. Then, the pawn shop site posted that they were selling the vehicle and referred to a CNN video piece on the Wayne’s World 1976 AMC Pacer going to auction.
Yet until the vehicle was listed at the Barrett-Jackson auction, there was no information on the physical state of the vehicle and if any work had been done. The auction listing explains all of the restoration done on the Pacer, focusing on the fact that the restoration was focused on keeping it all true to the original — with the exception of the cd/stereo system.
“Lot #608 – This is the original 1976 AMC Pacer used in the iconic film “Wayne’s World.” Modifications made for the film included baby blue paint over the original yellow exterior and brown interior, tow hooks welded to the front subframe, 1/4″ steel plates welded to the rocker panels for camera supports, heater and air conditioning were removed, rear wheelhouses were modified to fit speaker boxes, a hole was drilled in the roof for the famous licorice dispenser, flame decals were added, and components were removed from the inner dash to accommodate the cup dispenser and a door mechanism above the sealed-off glove box.
“The studio also went with a purposely mismatched wheel combination of chrome spoked wheels in the rear and factory hubcaps in the front. 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 color.
“Seats and headliner were recovered, and all interior panels and dashboard were refinished. The only part of the restoration not true to the movie are the upgraded speakers and stereo (the 10” restoration speakers are not functional as there never was an amp in the car).
“The stereo system is operational, however, and ready for you to do your own rendition of “Bohemian Rhapsody.” All the props inside the car are original. The complete front end, including steering rack, was rebuilt. The exhaust, water pump, power steering pump, alternator, battery, belts and hoses are just some of the mechanical parts replaced during the refinish of the motor.”
“Other items restored or refinished include the grille, headlamp doors and bumper cushions; all moldings and the weatherstripping were replaced. NOS taillight lenses, front hubcaps and parking light lenses were added to the restoration.”
Currently, there is no information on who performed the restoration of the vehicle nor how long the restoration took. Is it possible that Count’s Kustoms, Danny Koker’s Las Vegas car restoration business that is the focus of the Pawn Stars spin off, Counting Cars, is the shop that restored the classic vehicle? As Pawn Stars is currently filming, there is a good chance that the story of the restoration could be part of Season 14 or on a new season of Counting Cars. Surely, the producers want to take advantage of all of this Wayne’s World publicity.
So how much did the Wayne’s World 1976 AMC Pacer sell for? An astounding $37,400. This was a new world record for this sort of vehicle. The current nostalgia for the 90s surely helped bring up the price of this vehicle. Surely the new owner can’t wait to slip in a Queen cd and go out driving with pals with “Bohemian Rhapsody” blaring! Party on!
Are you a Wayne’s World Fan? Are you curious to see how the 1976 AMC Pacer was restored?
[Featured Image by Kevin Winter/Getty Images]