In observance of the annual Indianapolis 500 Race that took place over the weekend (and was historically run on Memorial Day) I thought I would dive into a pictorial history of the cars that paced this once great race, starting in 1950, and run by decade all the way up to 2010. I covered the 50s, 60s, 70s, and 80s so far, so lets go onto the 1990s.
I covered in great depth the 1990 Chevrolet Beretta, and if you want to re-read the posting, go here.
1991 was an interesting year, as Dodge was selected to provide the Indy Pace Car, and it was suppose to be the Dodge Stealth, a badge engineered version of the Mitsubishi 3000 GT Sports Car. Well the United Auto Workers Union were none too happy about that choice, so Chrysler had to whip up a running version of their V-10 Prototype Dodge Viper. All other cars used for promotion purposes that year were Stealths.
After two decades, Cadillac made a triumphant return to Indianapolis in 1992 with their Italian-American hybrid, the Allante. This car came with their brand new Northstar power-plant under the hood. The engine developed 290 HP from its 4.9L displacement.
Another decade, another Camaro, this time it was the 4th generation 1993 Camaro, with a 5.7L V-8, producing 275 HP.
As with the Camaro, a new Mustang Cobra paces the Indy Car Field for 1994. This car had a 235 HP, 5.0L Power-plant under the hood.
The Chevrolet Corvette returned to pacing duties for 1995, in the form of the C4 Convertible. It was equipped with a 5.7L V-8 producing over 300 HP.
Dodge returned with their new Viper GTS Coupe for 1996, and was easily one of the most powerful pace cars ever. This Viper Blue Coupe had an 8L V-10 under the hood, producing 450 HP in non modified form. (Cadillac produced 500 HP with their 1973 Eldorado, though it was in a very modified state-of-tune!)
For something completely wacky, Oldsmobile chose to use their new Aurora SEDAN for Pace Car Duties in 1997. Part of the reasoning behind this move was the adaption of the Oldsmobile Aurora V-8 used in the Indy Car Racers, but this more than dampens the intent of the Pace Car Editions. The Olds “ShortStar” produced 250HP in this rendition.
Sanity returned for the 1998 edition of the Indianapolis 500, with the selection of the new C5 Corvette as Pace Car. It was painted in a rather searing shade of Purple, with eye popping yellow wheels, but at least it was a Corvette Convertible. The 5.7L Engine produced 345 HP!
Insanity returned the next year with the selection of the Front Wheel Drive Monte Carlo as official Pace Car for 1999. If that wasn’t funny enough, comedial Jay Leno was at the wheel during the Pace Laps of the race. The V-6 powered Chevy only produced 215 HP.
Vipers and Corvettes; Camaros and Mustangs; These are proper Pace Cars, with a couple of wacky candidates thrown in for good measure. Tell me what your favorite 90’s Pace car was, and look for my final chapter covering the Pace Cars of the New Millennium.