Pick of the Day: 1998 Chevrolet Corvette Indy 500 Pace Car edition

The colorful graphics package marked one of the 15 times that the sports car paced the iconic race

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The Corvette pace car at Indy heralded the beginning of the C5 generation

With the Indianapolis 500 postponed until August because of COVID-19, instead of happening later this month, the Pick of the Day celebrates one of the 15 times that Corvette has served as the official pace car.

The 1998 Chevrolet Corvette Indianapolis Pace Car convertible is one of the limited-edition factory replicas of the Indy 500 cars that marked the beginning of the C5 generation.


Other than the light bar and special safety equipment, the pace car replicas were not very different from the actual pace cars seen on the track in the 1998 running of the Indiana classic.  The 345-horsepower LS1 V8 provided plenty of power for leading the Indy race cars, and the wild graphics package made the Corvettes easily spotted on the big oval, just as the replicas are on the street.

“Only 1,163 Indianapolis Pace Cars were built in 1998 sporting purple paint with bright yellow graphics and wheels,” according to the St. Charles, Missouri, dealer advertising the Corvette on ClassicCars.com. “The C5 convertible made its debut in 1998 and was chosen as the pace car for the 1998 Indianapolis 500.

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“The graphics all over this ’98 Pace car are amazing, they look great. Under the graphic-covered hood is an LS1 and automatic transmission.”

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The 1998 version had the most elaborate and colorful design of the Corvettes pace cars, the purple paint set off by yellow details and checkered-flag motif, and standing on a set of bright-yellow spoke wheels. Definitely not the car for anyone trying to maintain a low profile, but this replica would be a constant head turner and conversation starter for a driver who enjoys being the center of attention.

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Although showing nearly 95,000 miles on the odometer, the Corvette is in “true time capsule” condition, the seller says, with a sparkling finish and clean interior.  The car looks like new in the gallery of photos accompanying the ad.

The special-edition Corvette is loaded with luxury and convenience features, including leather seats with bold yellow inserts.

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The asking price for this gregarious pace-car convertible is $15,995. 

To view this listing on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day

And speaking of Corvette racing, check out the reader-interactive virtual Corvette Derby on ClassicCars.com, which puts iconic Corvette models on the track at Churchill Downs in lieu of the Kentucky Derby, which has been postponed until September 5.

Bob Golfen is a longtime automotive writer and editor, focusing on new vehicles, collector cars, car culture and the automotive lifestyle. He is the former automotive writer and editor for The Arizona Republic and SPEED.com, the website for the SPEED motorsports channel. He has written free-lance articles for a number of publications, including Autoweek, The New York Times and Barrett-Jackson auction catalogs. A collector car enthusiast with a wide range of knowledge about the old cars that we all love and desire, Bob enjoys tinkering with archaic machinery. His current obsession is a 1962 Porsche 356 Super coupe.

4 COMMENTS

  1. Is this corvette still available? Mechanically sound? Engine issues compression up to par? Clutch and tranny ? Need to ship could you recommend a shipper? Thank you Norm

    • Norm, to contact the seller, click on the Pick of the Day red link at the end of the article, which will take you to the seller’s ad, with more information including price and location.

  2. When my wife, kids and I visited the Corvette Factory and Museum in 2002, I kept walking back to the ’98 Pace Car. I could not stop looking at it!

    In 2003 I bought an 2001 Magnetic Red/Oak interior, Coupe .

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