Modified Indy Pace Car: 1979 Ford Mustang

Disclosure: This site may receive compensation from some link clicks and purchases.

A lot of people complain about the engine options for the new Fox body Mustang when it was introduced in 1979. This car is represented as one of few Festival Edition Indy Pace Cars offered to the public in 1979. Its original engine was replaced with a Ford 351 cubic inch Windsor V8 engine. It is listed here on eBay with 4 days remaining in the auction. This Mustang is listed as a project but is said to run great. It is located in Augusta, Georgia. The car is currently bid to $4,250.

The reason it is listed as a project is probably due to its condition. The interior is all there but the seats are worn and the car doesn’t look like it has been well cared for. However, it is over 40 years old and cars are built to be driven and enjoyed. If you like lots of decals, the 1979 Ford Mustang Indy Pace Car might be your cup of tea. This car is a hatchback and has a pop up sunroof. I like the bulging hood and the graphics on either side of the blacked out hood scoop.

Most 1979 Ford Mustang Pace Cars were ordered with the 2.3-liter turbo 4 cylinder engine, but some were equipped with the a 5.0 liter V8. Total production for the replica Indy Pace cars were 10,478 cars.  All 302 cubic inch (5.0 liter) cars have an “F” in the 5th spot in the VIN whereas 2.3-liter turbo cars featured a “W”. The VIN on this car shows that it came from the factory with a 302 cubic inch V8 engine. The 5.0 liter V8 was fed by a 2 barrel carburetor and generated 140 horsepower and 250 lb ft of torque. Fatter tires, a hiked up rear end and aftermarket wheels adorn this example. The transmission has been upgraded to a 5 speed manual gear box.

The Indy 500 Pace Cars for 1979 were typically loaded with options including the TRX suspension. The interior of the Pace Car came with Recaro seats and a black and white hounds tooth interior. This car has been modified but it is not past the point where it could be returned to stock. As a side note, 1979 was the first year that the Indy 500 used Pace Cars during cautions. Previously, the race track used a lighting system for cautions.

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. JCAMember

    All of the Festival cars had the 302 with the auto so maybe this was converted to manual. Pretty cool either way. Missing those great Recaro seats though

    Like 9
  2. Bob_in_TN Bob_in_TNMember

    I’d agree, basically it is a well-used, modified 1979 Pace Car. My perspective is there is not that much increase in interest in the Festival cars, thus I would not think trying to convert it back to stock is viable, given its condition. And there are plenty of original condition regular Pace Cars out there. So overall, to me this is the equivalent of the many thrashed Fox Bodies, just happens to be a Pace Car which gives it a bit more visual pizzaz. The modest bid price to date reflects all of the above.

    Like 9
    • Peter Pasqualini

      It doesn’t have the correct front seats. I can’t see if the rears are correct.

      Like 0
  3. Travis Jon Powell

    It’s NOT a bad looking car. The pace car thru the ’82 model cobra with the IMSA visual cues are (IMO) among the best looking Fox Mustang to do *Tasteful* functional upgrades to. Even though YES it is a Pace Car, it’s not a pristine low mileage example. I wouldn’t mind fixing issues and coloring outside the lines so to speak. But do so in good resolve. (4 wheel disc, bigger front brakes, 5 lug, suspension improvements) The drive line change here is at least a step in the right direction. Interior improvements are a given, replacing the seats that don’t belong there with seats that bring it into this century along with other countless ways to improve in good taste. These cars are what you make them. With the unprecedented aftermarket support geared toward the Fox platform, you can build a very capable machine that does everything you ask, and do it very well. Not just on a straight road either. Why not do it with a ’79 Pace Car? Guess the point I’m trying to get across is.. This car has its blunders but it’s still a blank canvas. Unless there’s rust issues undisclosed this can be easily cleaned up by my estimate. Where the bidding stops on this horse is anyone’s guess.

    Like 5
  4. douglas hunt

    A buddy of mine had one of these with the 4cyl turbo
    I loved the Recaro seats interior
    Really a great fun car to drive

    Like 0
  5. PRA4SNW PRA4SNWMember

    Someone shill bid this up to the current 7K. Previously to that bid, it had slowly crept up to 5K, which seems reasonable for the car in this condition.

    Like 0

Leave A Comment

RULES: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks.

Become a member to add images to your comments.


Get new comment updates via email. Or subscribe without commenting.

Barn Finds