Time Capsule 1978 Corvette Indy Pace Car Sells For $50,000

The 13-mile, barn-find 1978 Corvette Indy Pace Car. Image: Corvette Mike of New England

The 13-mile, barn-find 1978 Corvette Indy Pace Car. Image: Corvette Mike of New England

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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.
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Comments (3)
  1. kurt ernust your an idiot! your opinion of this fine corvette is pathetic! do you put down and compare other cars from the 20's 30'2 40's 50's 60's and then compare them to modern cars too? these were great ROBUST CARS of there time.NO not 427's big blocks. Put downs like yours are simple minded. You underrate the performanc. shame on you!!!

  2. Authority, let me guess - you're the proud owner of a C3 Corvette.

    Yes, in light of the cars available at the time, the 1978 Corvette was among the least-worst American sports cars. In terms of performance, though, it was no match for the fastest U.S. production vehicle of 1978 (from 0-100 mph, anyway), which was Dodge's Lil Red Express pickup.

    Is a Corvette that couldn't match the acceleration of a full-size pickup really worth bragging about? I stand by my words, whether or not you like them.

  3. I have a '78 pace car that has only 22 miles on the odometer..still has the plastic on the seats and when my father bought it he didnt even give the dealership time to put the decals on it before he drove it off the lot straight home..it has been trailered everywhere else and has sat under a car cover its whole life..his infortunately has the automatic not the manual and the lower horespower of the two 350 motors that were available..it was ordered by the dealership so it was their preference on whats options to choose..but hey ITS A '78 INDY PACECAR

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