The 13-mile, barn-find 1978 Corvette Indy Pace Car. Image: Corvette Mike of New EnglandEnlarge Photo
When it comes to collectible cars, the later C3 Corvettes won’t top very many lists of “must have” automobiles. Even the 1978 Corvette Indy Pace Car Replica, designed to be a collectors item, really isn’t.
Perhaps its a supply-and-demand thing, with so many clean examples on the market today that the cars never rose much in value. Hemmings
currently has 19 examples for sale in its classified section
, ranging in price from $12,500, for a car with no picture and no listed mileage, to $43,500 for an untitled survivor, from the Corvette Museum, with just 116 miles on the clock.
More likely is that few collectors want an emission-control-choked Corvette
that made just 220 horsepower from its L82, 350 cubic-inch V-8. From a traffic light, you could likely keep pace with a new Mazda MX-5 Miata
, and you could easily walk away from it in a new V-6 Ford Mustang
Despite this, we still raised an eyebrow when Hemmings
uncovered a 13-original-mile 1978 Indy Pace Car Replica, snapped up as a barn find by dealer and subject matter expert “Corvette Mike” Millian
. How can you not love a car that has 33 years of dust atop it, comes with a CB radio, has the “Gymkhana” suspension and includes seats wrapped in silver leather and velour?
That, apparently, was the same reaction of an unnamed Sheik from Abu Dhabi; as Hemmings
reports, the man paid $50,000 for the privilege of turning over mile number twenty on the odometer. We wish the new owner the best of luck with his car, and sincerely hope he drives it the way it was intended to be driven. No Corvette, even a relatively unloved C3, deserves to be locked away for 33 years.