Hooniverse Asks- What's your Favorite Indy Pace Car?

This being Memorial Day Weekend there’s going to be a spectacle – one of the world’s biggest sporting events in fact – set to take place in America’s midwest. That would be the Indianapolis 500. There’s different kinds of car nuts out there – there’s those who like to drive cars, those who like to wrench on cars, and those who like to race cars. Odds are that you check off one or more of those boxes on your car nut census form.
But that being said, watching Indy cars – especially on TV – doesn’t seem to be high on many Hoon’s to-do list. The Brickyard starts with the emphatic and historic Gentlemen, start your engines! and ends with a lusty gulp of cow juice, the traditional drink of the winner’s circle residents. And in between there’s racing, and that racing is sometimes interrupted by crashes or debris on the track each of which causes the unfurling of the yellow flag and the appearance of the pace car.
Being anointed the year’s pace car at Indy is an honor sought be many manufacturers, and achieved by Chevrolet for this year’s race. Over the years, Pace cars grew from simply the leader of the rolling start to a car maker’s opportunity to position a new performance model as connected to America’s race, as well as to sell some horribly marked-up pace car editions of said model. Sometimes the cars were appropriate and even despite the gaudy Indy Pacer graphic add-ons, were desirable, while others – seriously, Olds Bravada? – are simply head scratchers.
Many more are equally brow-furrowing in their selection, but others are not just logical, but damn desirable as well.  But which is the most so? This year is the centenary of the Indy pace car, giving you a butt-load from which to choose. Out of all those cars and trucks – remember that Bravada – which one gets your vote for best?
Image source: [Car and Driver]

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  1. Alff Avatar

    Courtesy of GMphotostore…
    <img src="http://www.gmphotostore.com/images/53219299_pr.jpg"width=500&gt;

  2. P161911 Avatar

    1981 Buick Regal Turbo. Mainly because my first car was a 1981 Buick Regal Turbo.
    <img src="http://www.gmphotostore.com/images/53219324_pr.jpg"width=500&gt;
    I didn't even know it was the pace car that year until after I got rid of the car.
    Hard to beat the 1941 Chrysler though.
    <img src="http://inetauto.ru/uploads/posts/2010-03/thumbs/1267485038_autowp.ru_chrysler_newport_dual_cowl_pha.jpg"width=500&gt;

    1. OA5599 Avatar

      The dual cowl was my first choice as well.
      <img src="http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2663/4009479682_c9d7f86cca.jpg"&gt;
      My fallback selection is the 1991 Viper. A Stealth was originally supposed to pace the race. When UAW rumblings over a Japanese-built vehcle pacing the American classic event got too loud, Dodge rushed a Viper into pre-production to appease everybody.
      <img src="http://hooniverse.info/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/4519127551_0315e5ae38_b1-495×650.jpg"&gt;

      1. JayP Avatar

        It wasn't just the UAW- it was the general population (once it was pointed out the Stealth was Japanese built).
        There was a wave of American pride right after the kickoff of the first Gulf War. George HW was riding a 90% wave of popularity and the USA was kickin' ass!! And Shelby was driving a V10!
        I think that was about the time where there was a stink about Japanese interests owning American properties… so it was a perfect storm.

    2. OA5599 Avatar


  3. fhrblig Avatar

    <img src="http://i.imgur.com/PWyN2.jpg&quot; alt="" title="Hosted by imgur.com" />
    1970 Hurst/Olds 442.
    Looking over the list, I see the Olds Bravada was a pace car? WTF?

    1. mr. mzs zsm msz esq Avatar
      mr. mzs zsm msz esq

      I think that's the '72 because of the 'H' on the back. I'm really partial to that one too.
      <img src="http://www.pbase.com/consoli/image/124933203/original.jpg&quot; width="500"><img src="http://www.breithaupts.com/hurstlin.jpg&quot; width="399">

  4. RichardKopf Avatar

    Why, the `77 Oldsmobile Delta 88, of course:
    <img src="http://i79.photobucket.com/albums/j129/hoopd87/b2dfe071.jpg&quot; >

    1. tonyola Avatar

      How desperately malaise-tastic. Were our expectations really so low then?

      1. Smells_Homeless Avatar

        But look at what they did with the malaise they were dealt! Special grill, naca duct, crazy paint, targa roof (T-tops for the non-pacers).
        Of course, I've never seen a real pacer in person, I suspect that's because they collapsed on themselves midway through the race.

      2. RichardKopf Avatar

        C'mon, Tony. It's sexy and you know it.

        1. tonyola Avatar

          Couldn't they at least taken off the chrome-railroad-tie bumpers? After all, it's not a street car.

  5. Van Sarockin Avatar
    Van Sarockin

    The Pacer-MX that never was…

  6. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
    Peter Tanshanomi

    <img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3577/3503049428_9e73e0cf77.jpg"&gt;
    …just because it looks so good.

  7. chrystlubitshi Avatar

    living in Indy, I have seen a lot of replica/special edition pace cars rolling around… I can tell you for sure that the new camaro is not my favourite (seen 3 or 4 of them this week).. but i don't know which one i would actually choose. I think Tanshanomi has a great point…. that torino just looks so good.

  8. $kaycog Avatar

    Three 1964 1/2 convertibles were built with the sole purpose of pacing the 1964 Indianapolis 500.
    These three cars were sent directly from the factory to Holman & Moody in North Carolina to be specially modified for pace car duties. These modifications included extensive work to the 289cid engines, a Borg-Warner 4-speed transmission, and lowered suspension with differently valved shocks on each side of the car to accommodate the banked turns of the Indianapolis Speedway, and high-speed rated tires.
    In addition, thirty five convertibles were used as dignitary cars during the festivities of the Indy 500. Due to a shortage of Mustangs available from the factory, these 35 were pulled from dealer lots to fill the need. All of these cars were D-code cars (289 cid V8, 4-barrel, 210 hp) in Wimbledon White with either red, white or blue interiors.
    After the race these cars were auctioned off to dealerships and absorbed into the general population, instead of being made available for sale as special edition cars
    <img src="http://www.lowcountrymustangs.com/1964%20pace%20car.jpg"width="500"/&gt;

  9. rtfact32 Avatar

    Any one that was driven by James Garner…

  10. Joe Btfsplk Avatar
    Joe Btfsplk

    1969 Camaro = 1969 Sally Struthers
    2012 Camaro = 2012 Sally Struthers

  11. OA5599 Avatar

    In 1988, after another driver blew through a stop sign and totalled my daily-driver '69 tri-power Corvette, I came pretty close to buying a very clean '69 pace car for eight or nine thousand bucks. I passed because it only had the 350 and I was hungry for a 396.
    I wonder what that car is worth today?

  12. tonyola Avatar

    Here's the most eye-searing. Who thought that purple-blue and yellow was an attractive color combination? Gack.
    <img src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/0/01/Indy500pacecar1998.JPG/800px-Indy500pacecar1998.JPG&quot; width=400>
    My favorite because it looks more at home in Miami Beach c. 1973 rather than on a midwestern race track…
    <img src="http://www.gmphotostore.com/images/53219299_pr.jpg&quot; width=400>

    1. FuzzyPlushroom Avatar

      I'd say outside of the Bravada 'pace truck', these are the most ridiculous. I do like that indigo, but not so much with the yellow wheels/graphics… white over red is far more tasteful.

  13. ZomBee Racer Avatar

    Always will be one of these… god knows why.
    There is one that has moved in a few blocks away from me, and the dude must think I'm creepy the way I keep staring at it. Poor think just got "donked". I REALLY need to find a way to save it. I think it might even have T-Tops. (wets pants)
    <img src="http://www.auctionsamerica.com/images/lots/FL10/FL10_r030_01.jpg&quot; width="500">

  14. paxman356 Avatar

    Because when you were done you could pick it up by it's handle and carry it away!
    Another yellow/purple eyesore!

  15. ptschett Avatar

    I want to stick with my standard meme of the Challenger
    <img src="http://www.rmauctions.com/images/cars/mb09/MB09_r207_01.jpg&quot; width="500"/>
    (Image from rmauctions.com)
    …but I have an inexplicable love for the '78 Corvette.
    <img src="http://www.gailgreen.com/1978_pace_car.jpg&quot; width="500"/>
    (Image from gailgreen.com)

    1. smokyburnout Avatar

      Probably the most infamous pace car…
      <img src="http://www.moparaction.com/extra/Driving/04.jpg"/&gt;
      IMG from Mopar Action

      1. NotJustDucky Avatar

        With those bollards or whatever they are behind it, it almost looks like the Challenger has a Daytona wing on it.

    2. FuzzyPlushroom Avatar

      The '78 Corvette, despite its heart-of-Malaise attitude, is inexplicably classy. It would've been my choice as well.

  16. buzzboy7 Avatar

    The car with the engine it deserved
    <img src="http://image.highperformancepontiac.com/f/8789036/0610_hppp_01z+1989_pontiac_trans_am+full.jpg&quot; width="500">

  17. Curt Avatar

    1980 T/A is my choice beautiful car but under powered.Great cruising car though. I owned on for two years in MN.

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