Two people may find very special treats in their Halloween bags on Saturday.
That’s when two historically significant 2003 Corvettes will be auctioned off by Auctions America at Westin Hilton Head Island Resort & Spa in Hilton Head, S.C.
Chevrolet, of course, produced numerous 50th Anniversary models back in 2003, but while these two Corvettes share the same Anniversary Red color as those ordinary 50ths, they do have a more special pedigree.
After the Corvette C5-R earned GTS-class wins at Le Mans in 2001 and 2002, the sanctioning body of the 24 Hours of Le Mans honored Chevrolet by asking it to produce two pace cars and four safety cars to cover the 8.5-mile Circuit de la Sarthe circuit in 2003.
One example of each – both being sold earlier when GM had to have a fire sale and pare down its Heritage Collection as a result of its 2009 bankruptcy – could go to another new home come this weekend.
The pace car is the only one made with a six-speed manual transmission, and it also served as a pilot car used by the factory to test assembly procedures for other 2003 models. It also has the standard LS1 V8 engine with 350 horsepower, though it does have a low-restriction exhaust to pep up its performance.
This pace car also came equipped with the 1SB Preferred Equipment Group that features head-up display, power telescoping steering column, self-dimming mirrors, seat memory, and twilight sentinel, along with the new-back-then F55 Magnetic Selective Ride Control suspension. It also has two round blue lights on top and strobes in the front, rear, and side lamps.
Auctions America believes the car may go for as much as $60,000 because of its pilot car serial number and its historic stature. The new owner can also brag that his pace car was used by slot car maker Fly to serve as a template for an electric-powered 1/32 scale model.
Both the pace cars and the safety cars included five-point harnesses for driver and passenger, along with a fire extinguisher atop the harness mounting bar and specialty lighting with strobes and roof-mounted flashing lights.
The safety car up for auction isn’t as special as the pace car, with the base engine under the hood. It does have graphics letting the world know it was a safety car, and it also has circular green and circular amber lights on the roof.
Since it’s not as unique, Auctions America foresees the safety car going between $30,000 and $40,000.
Unfortunately, the special models didn’t help the C5-R that season as the Corvette could not take a third straight GTS win, having to settle for second and third behind a Ferrari 550-GTS Maranello. Corvette did bounce back in 2004 for another class win, though.