When an estimated crowd of 325,000 people took in the Indianapolis 500 in Speedway, Indiana in May of 1978, they were treated to a lineup that included some of racing’s legends. The field included Johnny Rutherford, Bobby Unser Jr., A.J. Foyt and eventual winner Bobby Unser Sr. The field was led to the green flag by a special edition Chevrolet Corvette Pace Car, which, in of itself, is notable for several reasons.
In 1978, Chevrolet celebrated the 25th anniversary of its iconic Corvette with two special editions. Along with a 25th Silver Anniversary Edition, the occasion was marked with a limited production run of the 1978 Indianapolis 500 Pace Car. While pace car 4 editions are relatively common since, 1978 marked the first such special edition for the Corvette. This created a high demand for the unique sports car.
Like the Silver Anniversary Edition, the Special Edition 1978 Chevrolet Corvette Pace Car featured a custom two-tone silver over gray paint job along with special pace car lettering. Chevrolet also outfitted the front and rear end of the 1978 Corvette with spoilers that added a dramatic racing profile. The front end spoiler wrapped around the front of the car before blending into the front wheel wells. The rear spoiler curved down at the ends to meet the rear body sides. In practicality, the spoilers added more to the look of the 1978 Corvette than its downforce.
Each of the 1978 Corvette Special Edition Pace Cars featured alloy wheels, T-Tops, power windows, rear window defogger, telescopic steering wheel, air conditioning, and a choice of mid-70s necessities…an 8-track player or CB radio.
The cars came with additional decals which owners could install at their option that featured the famous “winged wheel” logo of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
The special edition Corvette is powered by a small-block 350 engine that generates 220 horsepower. While that may seem minimal by today’s standards, the Corvette Pace Car still has a top speed of over 120 mph. Interestingly enough, that is still over 80 mph less than the speed attained by the pole sitter for that year’s race.
The 1978 Corvette Indy Pace Car is sought after because it is the 15th anniversary of the legendary car, it was the first commemorative Corvette Pace Car from Corvette and it was extremely limited in production. Initially, only 300 such cars were planned, but demand forced Chevrolet to produce 6,502 of the models. This amounted to one for every Chevy dealer in the country.
The 1978 Chevrolet Corvette Indy Pace Car is a true collectible piece of American racing.
Check our inventory for a rare 1978 PaceCar with the L-82 engine option and a 4 speed manual transmission. There were only 202 ever produced.