Are Corvette pace cars that big of a deal?


The opportunity to serve as the official pace car for the Indy 500—“the greatest spectacle in racing”—is marketing gold. It’s a rolling advertisement, driven on the pace lap by a big celebrity or a famous racing driver, leading a pre-race procession of thundering Indy racers around the Brickyard. The whole thing is a lofty endorsement of the car’s worthiness to be on the track alongside real competitors, and the winning driver even receives the car as a prize.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2018/05/10/are-corvette-pace-cars-that-big-of-a-deal


That “limited edition” 1978 Corvette was not limited to one per dealer. The Chevrolet dealer in my Canadian hometown had 5 of them. He still had 4 left when the 79s were coming into stock. Became a joke around town.


In my hometown the dealers were asking huge fees over MSRP so the cars were on the showroom floors for a long time…I remember in 1978 a new basic corvette was exactly the same price as a loaded 1978 Cadillac Eldorado ($17k) and a new basic Trans Am was only $8k…


In 1978 the base price for a Corvette was $9400, not 17K.


not at Zikakis Chevrolet in Ithaca New York…not sure what would have optioned it up to 17k but I remember we bought the Eldo instead…because it was the same money and the last year of the big model Cadillac…


I saw an installment sale contract from NCNB (Now Bank of America) for a 1978 Pace Car that was sold in Charlotte for $40,000 new.


It was supposed to be either one or two per dealer. Lots of dealers declined theirs and other dealers picked them up. I know an individual that had a GM dealer license and flipped forty-something of them. He doubled his money on most and tripled his money on some, depending on the option package. I remember going to his house one day and they were lined up in his driveway and on the street, all with the plastic on the seats and steering wheels. I think there were about ten of them that day.


I never bought into the “tape and stripe” job Corvette pace cars because the powertrains were identical to ordinary production. The 1989 Pontiac 20th Anniversary Trans Am Pace car was different. 1550 were made with a slightly different version of the Grand National turbo V6. That turbo V6 made it unique - not available in other Trans Ams. 3 turbo T/As were randomly picked off the assembly line and required no modifications for race duty. So all 89 TTAs were truly Pace Cars. Some just weren’t picked. Mine wasn’t - so I’m free to actually enjoy driving it - instead of storing a museum artifact.


wcorn6837 is correct about allocation. The initial distribution was ‘one per dealer’, with dealers having to meet some general requirements (typical of most vehicle allocations). High volume dealerships could receive additional allocations. As with all models, allocations were traded / sold between dealerships. As to 1978 Corvette base prices, according to the Corvette Black Book, regular model base price was $9,351.85 (40,274 units) and base price for the Pace Car was $13,653.21 with 6,502 units built.


Just another Corvette


I’m not the most knowledgeable guy when it to comes to cars, the Indy 500, or pace cars, but in my opinion the best pace car out there by far is the 69 Camaro


Good choice. Has to be the convertible version of course.


After my dad passed away I was going thru his things and came across the 78 Pace Car in a Corvette book. Took me a little bit of time for the hunt but after about 5 months I procured my L82 4 speed. I personally am not a fan of the door decals but in my opinion the most attractive paint scheme and design of a Corvette is the 78 Pace Car without door decals of course. I’m not a “it must be original” guy, so mine has little extra power from aftermarket top end and an intake. Best of all I drive it frequently and work on it myself with my pre-teen son. I bought it 4 yrs ago with 31k miles now I’m pushing 39k. If you want a car that stands out at any carshow or cars and coffee event it is the 78 Pace Car.


Nope. And it is not just the corvette. All the “Official Pace Cars” that can be ordered from their respective dealers are rarely anything bit limited. Majority are nothing but decals and badges, along with some options that cannot be added to a non pace car that year, but are available the following year. The first time I ran into that conundrum was in 2000. That year the pace car was the Pontiac Grand Prix GTP. GM offered limited edition replicas with some unique features that only came on Pace Cars. A couple of those items were the wheels, and the quad tip exhaust. GM pushed that these were unique to only the Pace Cars. And they were until 3 or 4 months after the race when it was announced that those “unique” pieces appeared as options on the upcoming 2001 model year. The hood vents and quad tip exhaust were part of the various “Special Editions” offered, and the wheels were also limited, to every GTP in 2001 as standard equipment.
The c
Corvette pace car in 78 was supposed to be limited production, but when the local GM dealer in a town of 60,000 people in Ontario Canada ended up with still having 3 pace cars in stock when the 79s began appearing on the showroom floor next to them it became time to dump them. They still had one left when the 80s came out. It was a farming area, pace cars just didn’t sell.