Corvette Pace Cars – The First Indy 500 Corvette Pace Car

Dateline: 9.19.11
From the Archives of  The Illustrated Corvette Series

The Corvette’s tough-guy legend is founded on racing and performance. By the mid-to-late ‘70s, Corvette high-performance and racing efforts were in the pits. Power was down, weight was up, and Porsches were eating the Corvette’s lunch at the race track. The announcement that the 25th anniversary Corvette would also be the pace car at the ’78 Indy 500, looked like the highlight of the decade for Corvette fans. But controversy was in the mix right from the beginning.

Initially, it looked like a triple-play for Chevrolet. First, the ’78 Corvette received a sleek new fastback roof that completed the overall redesign started in ’73 with the soft bumper covers. Second, all Corvettes wore the 25th Anniversary badges. And third, three special Corvettes would serve as the pace cars at the ’78 Indy 500, and replicas would be available. Then the details set in.

The initial proposal was that there would be 300 pace car replicas, the same number as the ’53 production run. The car would have a two-tone silver paint (for the silver anniversary), red pin striping, and special Goodyear tires with “CORVETTE” sidewall lettering. Then the plan was to make 2,500 replicas, 100 for each year of production. But there were 6,200 dealers that all wanted at least one replica, so production went up to 6,502 units. Then two key elements were changed. The special “CORVETTE” tires were deemed too expensive, and paint was changed to sliver and black.

Then there was the price issue. The RPO 1YZ8778 package cost $4,302, on top of the $9,351 base price – a 46-percent premium! Here’s what came with the option. The exterior had special two-tone paint and pin striping, unique front and rear spoilers, glass roof panels, sport mirrors, and red pin stripped aluminum wheels on P225/60R15 tires. The interior came with power windows and door locks, tilt-telescopic steering column, convenience group, silver thin-shell seats, AM/FM with a CB radio or an 8-track tape player, dual rear speakers, and a power antenna. The $525 L82 engine rated at 220-hp was not part of the package.

The controversy started right on the showroom floor. For a premium collectible,” quality was not good. On many of the cars, fender seams and slight bubbles were clearly visible. The black upper body paint only made the defects look worse. Then there were the opportunistic dealers who tacked on surcharges that bumped the price up to between $15,000 to $22,000. Continue reading “Corvette Pace Cars – The First Indy 500 Corvette Pace Car”

Corvette Pace the 2010 Indy 500?

Which Corvette should pace the Indy 500 in 2010?

2010 Indy 500 Corvette Pace Car  Speculation

by K. Scott Teeters

2010 Camaro for the 2009 Indy 500 Pace Car
2010 Camaro for the 2009 Indy 500 Pace Car

Score another accolade for the Bow Tie Boys at Chevrolet for the 2010 Camaro Indy   500 Pace Car at the 2009 Indy 500 race.  Now that all the fan-fair has died down, the question naturally arises, “What will pace the ‘10 Indy 500?” Continue reading “Corvette Pace the 2010 Indy 500?”

Indy 500 Corvette Pace Cars

Indy 500 Corvette Pace Cars MontageAmazing Indy 500 Corvette Pace Cars Art and History by K. Scott Teeters

Indy 500 Corvette Pace Cars  Tribute Art

First, a  bit of Corvette pace car history by Vette magazine
artist and columnist, K. Scott Teeters:

Corvettes Pace the Indy 500 a record ten times since 1978.

(Will Corvette Do It Again Soon?)

“The Indy 500 race is arguably the most popular race in motor-sports. Early in ‘78 the Corvette world went wild with speculation when news was released that the Corvette would be the Indy 500 pace car, and that replicas would be available. Priced at what was then a mind-boggling $13,653, some buyers paid as much as $25,000 to grab a piece of Corvette history!

Eight years later, the Corvette was again chosen to pace the ‘86 Indy 500. But this time, Chevrolet trumped speculators and designated all ‘86 Corvette roadsters as “pace car replicas.” Since then, Corvette Pace Car-replicas have been limited-production cars and are highly collectible. Continue reading “Indy 500 Corvette Pace Cars”