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1978 Chevrolet Corvette: Dusty Pace Car

Pace Car Corvette

These Corvette Pace Cars are often low-mileage survivors, shrink-wrapped from the day they were new in hopes of investment potential. As we all know on these pages, they’re virtually a dime-a-dozen and rarely worth the price tags assigned by owners. This 1978 example here on eBay is a bit different: it’s dirty, tired and has more than a few miles on its odometer. Bidding is over $5K with the reserve unmet.


It’s refreshing to see one of these cars actually used, with a touch over 65,000 miles on the clock. While not the fastest Vette ever made, it was at least attractive. The sun-baked Pace Car lettering indicates its either spent a lot of time on the roads or in outdoor storage. The car’s location in Georgia means it hasn’t seen much road salt, but dampness can still creep in if it’s been sitting idle for a few years.


The interior looks pretty rough, sadly. Lots of evidence of use not to mention rust particles on the instrument binnacle and deterioration of leather surfaces, which could indicate moisture has been an issue. Coupled with the disclosure that it needs new carpet and my wheels begin to turn that there’s been sitting/standing water in the cabin at some point.


The seller includes a litany of requirements for the sale to take place, and makes it crystal clear that he holds no liability once it sells. That’s not unusual, but the extent to which he goes to make these points is a bit unsettling. The sale does include new mirrored T-Tops since one of the panels is cracked, and the seller has taken it to a shop to make sure the engine turns (it does). I hope the reserve isn’t set much higher, as there’s definitely some work needed to bring this one back to collector status.


  1. KN

    Those gauges, water stains and corrosion on the steering column make me think possible flood damage.

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  2. Bill

    There’s a part of me that says it was in a flood. The corrosion on the steering column and the condition of the interior says run, don’t walk away from this one.

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    Bill I was thinking the exact same thing. 5k I think is already top dollar for this car and moisture on the inside equals electrical problems. The alarm systems on these cars can be a nightmare too and I speak from experience from a 1980 I once owned.

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  4. grant

    Look at the faces of the guages. Rust on plastic? It had to have been submerged at some point.

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  5. Donnie

    When I was in college a guy had one of them I had a 1978 4 speed trans am with 400 v8 it had like a hole 200 horse power I beet his ass in the drag race.today a miny van could out run a late 70s ta

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  6. sir mike

    knew someone back in 1978 who bought one of these and put it away with 20 miles on it.He was hoping to make a good profit in the future.Finally sold it a few years ago for a lot less then he paid for it…nobody seems to want these.

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  7. Rick

    Original decals must have floated off in the flood.

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  8. Toast54

    Local fellow has one with 35 miles that he keeps in storage hoping to find a buyer. I think he was asking 39K 4 years ago. Lambrecht in Nebraska had one that ended up selling for quite a bit of money at an auction 2 years ago Seems like a lot of the SS454 Chevy trucks from the early 90’s were also purchased as investments.More of a crapshoot than I could ever afford.

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  9. Tom Hall

    Local old school Chevy dealer had one of these – a Corvette pace car anyway – but I think it was a 78. Had it for years. Never sold or titled – stored indoors. When it was sold many years later (when the old schoolers were run-off), it was as close to new as it could be. It still had the crayon markings on the glass from the factory/shipping – and the sticker in the window.

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  10. dj

    $5k is way too much as it is. Even the shifter shows rust. This car has been road hard and put up wet(actually). I’ve had several 78’s but at 5k, this one is about twice what I’d give.

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  11. skloon

    I think this was celebrity owned and driven, by Spongebob

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  12. MIkeG

    He says that he “won’t sell it to you if you’re going to chop it up”, but apparently it’s ok to let it rot away for years, not to mention the acid explosion all over the gauge cluster. I think it was flooded as well.

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  13. Mark S

    We need a lot of these to fade away in order for nice ones to gain any value. I’d be happy to have it for about $800.00

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  14. Moparman Moparmann Member

    “Don’t bid on it if you intend to chop it up, I won’t sell it to you, even if you win the bid; I reserve that right”

    Really?!? Is he serious?!? Maybe he’s practising for 1 April 2016!! :-)

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    • Mark S

      I agree the car was a floater, I think he really thinks he got something there.

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  15. Todd Zuercher

    I’m always amused when I see statements from sellers stating “I won’t sell it to you if you’re going to do xxxxxx to it”. It seems to me that if you win the auction, you’re now the owner and can do anything you want with it.

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  16. HeadMaster1

    Always liked the looks of these, but from what I hear they are pretty crappy cars. I think the L88 was the less slow (can’t say faster referring to these)….I believe the pace car was the first, maybe only C3 with a hatchback rear window, but I’m no expert. Cool looking though, but this one is a $2k car needing a full body off restoration to ever be right again…..better to buy a nice running lowish mile one for $12-15k IMHO

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  17. Howard A Member

    Well, first of all, I don’t think it was in a flood. It would be in a lot worse shape. ( and doesn’t that have to be disclosed on the title?) I think it was used, maybe abused and something broke and it sat, maybe outside for a spell, possibly in sea air, which will do a number on metal.( didn’t those T-tops leak?) Still, it’s a ’78 Corvette Indy pace car replica, and worth something.( apparently, about 6,000 were made, one for every Chevy dealer) I knew a man in L.Mills, Wis. that collected Indy pace cars, and had one of these, and it was a cool car. Hard car to work on, but if the price is right, a piece of history.

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  18. Toast54

    1978 Corvette Indy pace car, 4 miles, sold for $80,000….from Lambrech results

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    • dj

      Lambrech was just a Barrett Jackson. Some things sold for a fair price. While others, like the Vette, sold for outrageous prices. I saw some of the cars pop back up on Ebay. After the buyers got them home and realized they gave too much, they were dumping them.

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  19. Mr.E

    In the early 90’s I had a 73′ Mustang convertible. The previous owner wanted it back and offered to trade me his 78′ Pace Car Vette. I turned him down because:

    I’m not a huge fan of the body style
    The Vette needed more work than the Mustang
    Most importantly, the live-in girlfriend would have killed me

    Sometimes I wonder if I should have swapped though.

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  20. dogwater

    O, I wont sell if you part it out? Ok why did you let it get in this condition….

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  21. Tundra/BMW Guy

    If there is anyone actually interested in this vehicle, let me know. It’s in my neighborhood and I am, like most all of you, mechanically inclined enough to tell if it was at one time, doubling as a boat. Just reply to this post and we will set it up. I must say this thing is in pretty horrid condition and the guy “talks” like he is a major Corvette lover. IMHO, one who loves/likes a vehicle would not allow it to get into this type of condition. All it would have taken was a $100 car cover, IF it has not been boating!!! One of my vehicles is a “sunny day” only driver. It stays in the garage under a $300 car cover!!! That is pride in ownership! (NOT bragging, simply making a point)

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