1981 Buick Regal Indy 500 Pace Car Replica #005

We have seen quite a few Indy 500 replicas over the last few years, but this could be the first Buick Regal version. These are exceptionally rare and this one appears to be in great shape. It won’t win too many races but it’ll sure have a crowd around it at any gas station, grocery store, or car show. It can be found here on eBay in Ankeny, Iowa with a current bid price of just under $4,000 and there are still six days left to warn your spouse that you’re thinking of hoarding, I mean buying, yet another car.

I have said it too often, that I’m a rabid fan of crazy graphics packages on vehicles, even though I know that they don’t make those vehicles go any faster. There’s something fun and interesting about a limited-edition vehicle locked into a certain period of time that really appeals to me. Not to mention that a 1981 Buick Regal was a pretty nice car on its own.

Most of us may think of Buicks as those cars that our grandfathers or uncles drive, not something related to going full-tilt around a race track. The actual pace car was quite different with a mind-blowing interior and a targa top, not to mention 281 hp. This particular car is #005 out of 150 made and it isn’t perfect but it looks really nice to me. The seller has the original wheels in the trunk. All 150 cars were used at the Indy track.

The interior looks like classic 1980s Buick luxury: velour, fake woodgrain, and power accessories. I don’t see many flaws inside, front or back. The seller says that they searched for 9 years to find a 1981 Buick Regal Indy 500 Pace Car Replica. What they don’t mention is that why after all that heartache and turmoil it’s for sale. It’s none of our business but I sort of know the feeling. I have also done the same thing. After living with a particular car for a year or two, even though I’ve searched high and low for a nice example, I have sold it/them. Maybe that’s just what car guys and gals do, satisfy their car cravings and then move onto the next one.

The engine looks incredibly dark and brooding, like 94% of teenagers. It’s Buick’s legendary 231 cubic-inch V6 which would have had a meek, mild, and un-Indy-500-like 110 hp. Ouch. There is no word on how this one runs or really any other information about the car as far as function goes, but it sure looks good. Have any of you owned an Indy 500 replica?


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  1. Will Fox

    At least it doesn’t have the junk NON-intercooled turbo! All those are, are headaches!

    Like 1
  2. Steve

    LS swap

    Like 3
  3. TimS Member

    These are rare and pretty cool, but the seller talks like he’s got the pace car and no one except Duke Nalon and Bobby Unser ever sat in it. Also BS to Earnhardt buying the third one built, unless it was in his later years as a collector. He would have no “obvious reason” to want an Indy-connected Buick in 1981. He only drove the 3 car for about half that season anyway. Seller does a lot of reaching here.

    Like 1
  4. Ralph

    One of the more obscure Indy Pace Cars, this was sandwiched between the all white 1980 Turbo Trans Am Pace Car and the new 3rd gen 1982 Camaro Z28 Pace Car so I could see how it got lost in shuffle.

    I don’t think the carbed turbo engine was even an option on the pace cars like it was on the similarly obscure 1st Grand National special edition cars.

    Like 1
  5. JOHN Member

    While I agree it is certainly rare, it doesn’t compare to the GN’s. It is a piece of history, but “rare” doesn’t always mean “desirable” The seller certainly has a unique vehicle for sale, and apparently has a GNX that he will be selling in the future, so he apparently is well-versed in G body Buicks. Good luck with the sale!

    Like 1
  6. poseur Member

    pretty cool find.
    haven’t seen one in at least a decade and a half and live within an hour of IMS.
    memory is the real pace cars had built 4.1 V6’s with forged parts etc and made serious horsepower for the day, much more than contemporary Z28’s, Vettes or T/A’s.
    also think they had targa tops with no back glass? at least the parade cars anyway.
    regardless, love the 80’s graphics!

    Like 2
  7. Steve

    If this were mine I would clean it up, either paint those PW7 wheels gold or put on the originals, pull the drivetrain out and store it someplace safe and swap in a factory looking Grand National drivetrain, suspension, and upgrade the brakes. Then I would drive the heck out of it.

    Like 1
  8. 86_Vette_Convertible

    I like the car except for the exterior. Get rid of the replica attempts and make this a good looking car. Some people may be into that, I’m not.

  9. DonPage

    Except for the center caps, the original wheels look just like the polycast wheels on my 79 Century Turbo Coupe.

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