As a budding journalist and a long-time Corvette enthusiast in 1978, one of the first stories I ever wrote for my hometown paper was about the new 1978 Corvette Indy 500 Pace Car that was sitting on the showroom floor of our Chevy dealer.
Ironically, I ran across photos of that car in a desk drawer in my basement over the weekend, causing me to reflect on “the one that got away.”
Unfortunately, my lowly salary as a reporter didn’t allow me to buy the car back then.
Now, courtesy of Craigslist comes another chance for me to own a 1978 Pace Car with the distinctive silver and black paint job, and it looks like it could have been beamed directly from 1978.
You’d never know it by looking at the photos of the dust-covered Pace Car, but the original owner says it has just 7.8 miles on the odometer. Even better, it has the more desirable L82 engine (though it’s connected to the more common automatic transmission) and still has the sticker on the window and the protective plastic on the silver leather seats.
The owner believes it to be the lowest-mileage 1978 in existence, though we have to believe there may be others that were also never driven, thanks to the hysteria of the time period when a Wall Street Journal article led people to believe that the cars would skyrocket in value so they immediately parked them in their garage with virtually no miles on the odometer.
Apparently, this owner believes those press clippings as he is asking a whopping $72,000 for the car. Without a good detailing of this ‘Vette, though, it’s hard to tell if time has been good to it. While the low miles are great, if a car is not properly stored, it can still suffer from the ravages of time.
Still, to think that someone has a 1978 Pace Car with virtually the same mileage as the one I photographed on the floor of Davis Chevrolet in Calhoun, Ga., some 37 years ago, is unreal.
Let’s hope this time capsule of a Corvette winds up somewhere that the general public can enjoy seeing it and perhaps someone else can rekindle their own memories of “the one that got away.”
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