The Forgotten Corvette Indy 500 Pace Cars
Even if you’re not “into” Indy Car racing, the Indy 500 is a uniquely American special event. Whom ever coined the expression, “The Greatest Spectacle in Motor Sports” got it spot on. In its own unique way, it is the American equivalent of Le Mans. The expression in road racing is this, “You can win at Daytona and America knows about it. But when you win at Le Mans, the whole world knows!” Even though the event at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is just one race in a series of races and is early on in the season, it might as well be the Super Bowl of American auto racing. When the flag comes down and the winner is declared, every city newspaper,as well as every national and local TV station reports the winner. But if you win say, the Baltimore or Los Angeles Grand Prix, very few outside the arena of motorsports will know. No, there’s only ONE Indy 500.
While pace cars have been used at the Indy 500 since 1911, the tradition of giving the pace car to the winner of the Indy 500 goes back to 1936. Tommy Milton (winner of the 1921 and 1923 races) was invited to drive the official pace car, a Packard 120, and suggested giving the pace car to the race winner. A new tradition was born. As the speeds of the Indy race cars increased, so did the demands of the pace cars. Eventually, the pace cars were specially modified versions of the street machines with enhanced engines, suspensions, and brakes. By the ‘60s, manufacturers began to sometimes offer pace car replicas to their customers. Tracking actual pace cars is a little tricky because manufacturers usually build several pace cars for the actual race and for promotional use that all pretty much look the same.
Yes, Indy 500 pace cars have become a specialty nitch all by themselves. That’s why in 1978 when it was announced by Chevrolet Continue reading “The Very Rare, Non-Replica Corvette Indy 500 Pace Cars”