1954 Indy 500 Pace Car

1954 Dodge Royal 500 Indy Pace Car Edition

Offered by RM Auctions | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 10, 2014

Photo - RM Auctions

Photo – RM Auctions

There’s a lot of cars to choose from that we could’ve featured this week. RM’s Hershey sale was chock full of rare antique automobiles and we’ve featured a number of them. But this is the last car from this sale we got to feature and I couldn’t pass it up. It’s a beauty.

It’s very striking – yellow with black graphics and top and wire wheels with whitewalls (tongue twister alert). There’s a continental kit out back as well. The Royal was a new model for Dodge in 1954, the same year of Dodge’s inaugural pacing of the Great American Race. The Royal was the top model for Dodge in ’54 and it used a 150 horsepower 4.0-liter Hemi V-8 to muscle it along.

Dodge built 701 Pace Car Edition Royal Convertibles. This car was restored by its current owners and it looks amazing. Suddenly, this rare edition has become one of my must-have 1950s American classics. Go figure. It’ll cost me between $50,000-$70,000, though. Too bad. Click here for more info and here for the rest of RM’s Hershey lineup.

Update: Sold $49,500.

Chrysler Newport Pace Car

1941 Chrysler Newport Indianapolis 500 Pacemaker by LeBaron

Offered by RM Auctions | Fort Worth, Texas | April 27, 2013

1941 Chrysler Newport Indianapolis 500 Pacemaker by LeBaron

The Chrysler Newport Dual Cowl Phaeton was a limited-production car built by Chrysler in 1940 and 1941. U.S. automotive production ceased at the end of 1941 to make way for war production, making this the last truly grand pre-war American automobile.

Ford had just introduced the Continental and GM was showcasing its concept car in the form of the Buick Y-Job. Chrysler needed to show that they could do style as well and the Newport project was born. Walter P. Chrysler died in 1940 and soon after, his successor approached Ralph Roberts at the famed coachbuilder LeBaron to design a two-seat and four-seat concept car. The two-seater was the Thunderbolt, and the four-seat was the Newport. One of my favorite parts of this story is one of legend: that Roberts wanted to show what a 1941 Duesenberg Dual Cowl would have looked like had they stayed solvent.

Chrysler liked what they saw and ordered five more examples (of each) to be built – in 90 days – in time for the 1941 auto show season at the end of 1940. The Newport had flowing lines and hideaway headlights and drove up excitement for other Chrysler models. This particular car was the only Newport built that had exposed front headlights. And it was chosen to pace the 1941 Indianapolis 500. After the race, it became the personal car of Walter P. Chrysler Jr.

The engine is a 143 horsepower 5.3-liter straight-eight. This car was in all-original condition when it was acquired in 2000 by its then-owner. It was painted light green with green interior – what Walter Jr. wanted after he took the car home. It was sold by RM at Amelia Island in 2009 for $687,500. It has apparently been restored – or at least repainted to its, presumably, original color scheme. It is expected to sell for between $900,000-$1,200,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $880,000.

1995 Indy Pace Car

1995 Chevrolet Corvette Indy Pace Car

Offered by Mecum | St. Charles, Illinois | June 22-23, 2012

The Chevrolet Corvette has (of this writing, including the 2012 race) paced the Indianapolis 500 ten times, the first being in 1978. It was there for a second time in 1986 and 1995 marked the third time. This is one of 527 (actually it’s #46) of the special “Indy 500 Pace Car” optioned replicas sold for street use.

It was based on the C4, the fourth-generation Corvette, which was introduced for the 1984 model year, so it was 11 years old by this point – more than a little long in the tooth. The paint scheme is actually quite nice with Dark Purple Metallic over White. 1995 was in the midst of ZR-1 production but this car is not a ZR-1 – even though it sports ZR-1 wheels and brakes.

It has the LT1 under the hood, the 350 cubic inch (or 5.7-liter) V8 makes 300 horsepower and 340 lb-ft of torque. 1996 would be the final year for the C4, so this is one of the final special edition C4 Corvettes – and it’s a rare one. Get it, it won’t be too terribly expensive. For more information click here and to see the rest of Mecum’s Bloomington Gold Corvette Auction, click here.

Update: Sold $18,500.