As a 19-year-old Corvette junkie and fledgling journalist in 1978, this writer was crazy about the new Corvette Indy Pace Car.
In fact, when our local Chevy dealer put theirs on the showroom floor, I boldly asked my editor at the newspaper where I worked if I could do a feature story about the car. Sure, he said, but first you have to wipe all the drool off my desk … an occurrence repeated again at the dealership once I arrived with camera in hand.
Since I was only making $2.30 an hour in those days, do the math and you can see how a cub reporter affording a $13,000 car was out of the question.
Now is my chance – and maybe yours, too – to pick up a practically new example of a 1978 Pace Car, however.
The website motorious.com tells of a ’78 for sale by GT Motor Cars that has traveled only 99 miles since new. They seem to think this might be a candidate for the lowest mile such car in existence, but we’d be inclined to believe there are very likely others with less than 10 miles on the clock since some folks immediately rolled them to a secured location, like Fort Knox, and never drove them at all, tending to believe all that frenzy created by the crazy Wall Street Journal article that predicted the Pace Car would be worth a fortune because of its supposed “rarity.”
While that didn’t happen, what’s left of the 6,502 two-toned, black and silver Pace Cars are still worth well more than your run-of-the-mill 1978s.
If you’re in the market now, this one has a couple of extra factors that increase its value – the more powerful L82 engine and the four-speed manual transmission. That’s not to mention the overall cool factor of the car – with its new-for-78 fastback window, silver seats, mirror T-Tops, unique spoilers, and polished aluminum red-striped wheels.
The sad part about this Corvette is the fact that like so many trailer queens, it will probably never be driven again. After all, who would want to pay a king’s ransom for it and then be the dunce behind the wheel when the odometer clicks over to 100 miles … or 500 miles … or 1000 miles?
One more note…take a look at the close-up photo of the Pace Car emblem on the quarter panel. If you don’t believe Corvette quality has come a long way, check the terrible orange peel in the black paint!
All in all, we’re inclined to believe that the asking price of $54,000 for a one-owner L82/4-speed Pace Car, 100% unrestored with 99 miles and all original dealer and factory paperwork, isn’t out of line. What do you think?
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