28k Original Miles: 1978 Chevrolet Corvette Pace Car Edition

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It seems that when examples of the 1978 Corvette Pace Car Edition land on our desks here at Barn Finds, they usually fall into two categories. We will often see the ones that the original owner has squirreled away with a minuscule odometer reading in the belief that they would one day be worth mega-bucks. At the other end of the spectrum, we will see cars that have been driven and thrashed within an inch of their lives, and that will require the injection of equal amounts of time and money if they are to be returned to their best. That’s what makes our feature car a breath of fresh air. It doesn’t fall into either category but is a tidy and clean survivor that could be driven and enjoyed immediately. Barn Finder Pat L spotted this classic for us, so thank you so much for that, Pat. It is located in East Meadow, New York, and has been listed for sale here on Craigslist. You could drive away in this classic simply by handing the owner $26,500.

The Corvette wears the combination of Black and Silver paint that was an essential and distinctive component of the Pace Car Edition. Chevrolet had initially intended to produce 2,500 examples to commemorate 25-years of Corvette production. However (and understandably), every Chevrolet dealer in the country was clamoring for their slice of the action, so the build total ballooned to 6,502 cars. By the time the dust settled at the end of 1978, the package that the company had intended to be a low-volume collectible accounted for 13.9% of total Corvette sales for that model year. Overall, this car presents nicely for a low-mileage survivor, with no significant issues or problems with the paint or fiberglass. Since these photos were taken the owner has installed the Indy 500 Pace Car stickers that came with every one of these vehicles. To me, that’s a slightly odd move. The Corvette has survived for 43-years without them, and I would have left the final decision on that to the buyer. Otherwise, the spoilers are in good order, the glass T-Top shows no evidence of problems, and those beautiful alloy wheels shine as nicely as they would have the day this classic was driven off the showroom floor.

When buyers were able to order their early C3 Corvettes with a big-block under the hood, what they found themselves with was a fire-breathing beast that was capable of sending grown men weak at the knees. However, all of this was a fading memory by 1978. The best that they would find under the hood of their Pace Car was the L82 version of the venerable 350ci V8 that produced 220hp. That is what is on offer here, along with a 3-speed automatic transmission, power steering, and 4-wheel power disc brakes. Given how tight the grip had become around the throat of the American V8 to comply with emission regulations, the fact that this car should be capable of covering the ¼ mile in 16.1 seconds counts as a reasonable achievement. The engine bay of this car presents well, with no evidence of any problems that might have the buyer digging for their wallet. It is unmolested and still features the twin-snorkel air cleaner that was an integral part of the L82 option. The owner doesn’t specify how well the Corvette runs or drives, but its overall appearance and the odometer reading of 28,000 genuine miles would suggest that there’s plenty of life left in this old classic.

Since regulations had taken the hard edge off the Corvette’s performance over the years, it seems only fitting that the interior of the Pace Car Edition had a focus on luxury appointments. That’s why standard equipment included air conditioning, power windows, power locks, a leather-wrapped tilt wheel, and a rear defogger. About the only choice that buyers needed to make was whether to specify the AM/FM radio/8-track player or the AM/FM radio and integrated CB radio. The original owner of this car chose the latter option, and this remains intact. There have been no aftermarket additions, and the interior presents quite well for a survivor. The unique Silver leather upholstery is in good order, with only minimal wear visible on the outer edges of the seats. The carpet also shows some minor wear on the outer edges from feet dragging, but it isn’t bad enough to justify replacement. The rest of the trim and plastic is in excellent order, and the buyer won’t need to hang their head in shame when they hit the road in this car.

When this 1978 Corvette Pace Car was new, it would have cost its original owner $14,180 equipped with the L82 under the hood. The market is littered with examples that have been hidden away as investments in the hope that values would soar. There are plenty of Pace Cars out there with the original protective plastic on the seats and less than 100 miles on their odometer. Sadly for those people, this didn’t happen. However, a tidy low-mileage survivor can still nudge $30,000 on a good day. I would place this car in that sort of category, and that makes its asking price seem pretty competitive. It has only just come onto the market, and I wouldn’t be surprised if a buyer for this one pops up fairly quickly.

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. Terrry

    This is probably the best example of the malaise-era Vettes, certainly the best looking, and it has as much power as you were going to get in a Vette at that time.

    Like 4
  2. Sam Shive

    Another One. That’s like 6 in the last month. These were suppose to make the people who owned them rich enough to retire. GOOD LUCK

    Like 1
    • Ike Onick

      The original 6500 have all been sold, This must be from the second batch of 6500.

      Like 0
      • moosie moosie

        Pace cars carry their own VIN. # . 8th character is a 9 whereas non Pace Cars and Silver Anniversary cars have a 4 in the 8th position.

        Like 2
      • Ike Onick

        He said sarcastically.

        Like 0
  3. Jcs

    Beautiful 78, they don’t get much better than this.

    And 6 hours later, she’s gone. No surprise.

    Like 8
  4. Fran

    Not another one!

    Like 1
  5. Novaman

    Someone actually paid that much for it? My dad bought a 78 anniversary edition last year . All original 22000 miles for 13 grand . So the pace car is worth that much more?

    Like 0
  6. Howie Mueler

    Yes the ad is gone now, but i am sure we will see more soon.

    Like 1

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