Late last year with much fanfare, Chevrolet announced that for the first time ever two Corvettes would be pacing the Indianapolis 500. One of the Corvettes is the customized Z06 E85 Concept highlighting GM’s Green Initiative and will showcase the ability of the automaker to run even the Corvette on E85 Ethanol. But it was the second Corvette that is even more interesting in our opinion as it marked the 30th Anniversary of the 1978 Corvette Pace Car and would be commemorated by a special run of 500 Pace Car Replicas.
With only 500 of these special editions available, you would think that these Indy Pace Car replicas would be in demand and sell fast, but from the conversations we’ve had with several high-volume Corvette dealers, that just doesn’t appear to be the case. Here is what we’ve been hearing as the major roadblocks to sales of the 30th Anniversary Corvette Pace Car and why we think owning this special edition is a smart investment.
Dealers may be bypassing this year’s Corvette Pace Car replica because last year model didn’t sell well. Many point to the late entry of the replica into the 2007 production model run. The 2007 Corvette Pace Car Replica didn’t hit the lots until June, well after the running of the Indianapolis 500. We also believe that demand for last year’s Pace Car was tempered by news of the 2008 Corvette models which featured a new, more powerful engine and interior upgrades. As a matter a fact, that news is attributed to an overall decline in sales of all 2007 Corvettes.
Last year, Chevrolet offered two special edition Corvettes at the same time, the Ron Fellows ALMS GT1 Championship Z06 and a Indy 500 Corvette Pace Car replica. Buyers overwhelmingly gravitated to the Ron Fellows Z06 Signature Edition. This year, Chevrolet again offered two special edition Corvettes at the same time: The 427 Limited Edition Corvette Z06 and the 30th Anniversary Corvette Indy Pace Car Replica and guess what? Buyers again gravitated first to the Z06.
So why is the 30th Anniversary Corvette Indy Pace Car Replica a smart buy? The first is economics. No, I’m not saying buy this car and you’ll make money on it. But you will lose less money because of its limited production of only 500 cars. Recent history shows the depreciation of the Corvette Pace Cars will be less than an average coupe or convertible Corvette and will generally start appreciating first and faster than their regular production counterparts.
Take a look at the 1998 Corvette Indy Pace Car. 1,158 of the Purple and Yellow Corvettes were produced. It’s 10 years old now and the five year depreciation number for the Pace Car replica is -19%. However, the 1998 Corvette Coupeâ€™s five year depreciation is -26% while the 1998 Corvette convertible was down -29% over five years.
The news is even better for the 1995 Corvette Pace Car. Only 527 of these Corvettes were built and over the last five years, the Pace Car has appreciated 19% while the regular production Coupe was down -7% and the roadster was down -12% over the same time frame. The Pace Car’s appreciation is even higher than the 1995 ZR-1 which shows an 8% increase.
The second reason we like this year’s Pace Car replica is that it’s offered in either a Coupe or Convertible model, and the option choices will all but guarantee that there will be some interesting combinations when its all said and done. We already know that there are no major changes for next year’s Corvette model so that hurdle has been removed. And forget the “All Corvettes are Red” mantra. The Indy 500 Pace Car is finally back in black, the number one selling Corvette color.
Lastly, the Pace Car is signed and numbered by 2-time Indianapolis 500 winner Emerson Fittipaldi, making this Corvette only the third model in the car’s 55 year history to feature a signature. We’re still hoping that in the future this honor is reserved only for those who’ve had a direct impact on the Corvette and the enthusiast community.
So the final question you should be asking is where can I get one? We suggest getting in touch with Dave Salvatore at Kerbeck Corvette who told us they have several available. Dave can be reached at 1-877-537-2325 . Also, Iâ€™d be remiss if I didnâ€™t thank Jim “Z” of Spitzer Chevrolet who was kind enough to answer our inquiries for this story.
Appreciation and depreciation figures on the 1995 and 1998 Corvette Pace Car from Vette-N-Vestments 2008 Corvette Pricing Guide.