Museum Piece: 1985 Oldsmobile Calais Pace Car

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The Oldsmobile Calais was a sleek, modern-looking upgrade from the previous year’s Olds Omega, a somewhat clunky-looking, blocky X-body car that lived up to its name as far as ending in 1984 (Omega = the last or the end). This 1985 Olds Calais Indy 500 Pace Car tribute goes one step farther in being one of just over 200 Pace Car tributes. The seller has this former museum car listed here on eBay in the Mile High City: Denver, Colorado. They have a buy-it-now price of $8,900 listed or you can make an offer.

If there is one thing that the passage of time and modern technology has not eased the pain of is that sellers rarely – and I mean so rarely that I usually acknowledge them if they do – they rarely give us enough photos. This car is only shown on the driver’s side. There are four photos of the driver’s side, two of them are from similar angles, so there are really only two different photos of the exterior of this car, all taken from the same side. That is supremely disappointing in 2020 when almost everyone from 8 to 80 has a $100 a month smartphone in their pocket that takes better photos than Ansel Adams could only have dreamed of. The good thing is that the car looks perfect in those two exterior photos.

The bad thing is that the car in the photo above is not the car for sale. The car above is a Pace Car replica that sold for almost $50,000 at a Mecum Auction. It’s one that James Garner would have possibly driven around the track at the Indy 500 in 1985 when Oldsmobile was chosen to provide the Pace Car. The company also made just over 240 tribute cars which were in the infield. We have seen them before and being a lover of special edition vehicles, I like them even if they weren’t exactly up to Pace Car tributes of earlier decades.

The interior is the real selling point with these cars, the silver and red leather is outstanding and this car looks fantastic. This is not an ultra-low-mileage car, having racked up 54,300 miles when it wasn’t sitting in a museum. The seller shows most of the photos of this car while it’s parked inside a museum which is a little unusual.

There are no engine photos – it decodes to having a 2.5L inline-four – and no other photos other than variations of the ones shown here, so you’ll have to get in touch with them for additional glimpses of this car. They say that it sat in a museum for 15 years and they recently put $3,500 into it bringing it back to life again. Are there any fans of the Olds Calais out there? How about the Pace Car tribute edition?

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  1. Bluetec320 Bluetec320

    The first picture looks like it was taken in the Museum of Average and Ordinary cars, located in Plainville..

    Like 25
    • Ralph

      Its the TransMundane Exhibit at the Henry Ford…..

      Like 1
    • CCFisher

      I was about to name it the Malaise Museum, but I like yours better.

      Like 5
    • bone

      Now THATS funny ! Thanks for making my day !

      Like 2
  2. Skorzeny

    I was thinking this was gonna be a 2.3L, but it’s a 2.5L with an automatic? I would pay $1000 for this… I had a Grand Am with a Quad 4 for a few years, 150 horse, and it was a blast to drive, even with the automatic (wife’s car, sorry). But this Olds would be a turd with the Iron Puke.

    Like 6
    • Ralph

      This is 2 years before the Quad 4 was introduced…..

      Like 2
      • Joe Padavano

        Three years before, actually. The Q4 was introduced in the 1988 Indy Pace Cars.

        I actually used to own one of these 85 pace car replicas with the Iron Duke and AT. The TBI system developed a heat-related problem and would shut down randomly. At the time I was not as well versed in diagnosing them and got rid of the car. It was a decent little car to drive, but it definitely needs the Q4 and 5spd.

        Like 0
  3. RedBaran

    As a teenage in the 80’s I always thought these were cool cars.

    Like 4
  4. Randy

    I had a new in 1985 and wound up taking it back. It had a problem with the cruise control locking into accelerating and the only way to shut it off was to turn the key off. There was a safety recall on that problem that finally corrected it but not after I said this is not safe and traded it back in.

    Like 5
  5. Dave

    Even the museum didn’t want it.

    Like 14
  6. Superdessucke

    I’d take it for a couple grand and put it through its paces. It’s slow enough so you couldn’t really hurt yourself and you could put on a nitrous kit if you wanted to get a little extra speed.

    Like 1
  7. JoeNYWF64

    The center armrest is silly – could do w/o handbrake culprit.

    Like 0
  8. theGasHole

    I don’t mind these as the oddball factor is off the charts, as is that interior. For their rarity, this is the 3rd or 4th one I’ve seen for sale in the last couple of years. I wonder what they actually sell for.

    Like 0
  9. James Martin

    Rare and pristine doesn’t always make it valuable. Not sure how many people would be interested in this thing. No performance really no style. You can wrap a turd in wrapping paper but still a turf.

    Like 1
  10. IkeyHeyman

    I believe this was displayed at the Forney Museum of Transportation in Denver. They have some interesting stuff there including one of 8 remaining “Big Boy” locomotives, #4005.

    Like 0
  11. John King

    Why are they showing a convertible?

    Like 0
    • Joe Padavano

      The convertible is the real pace car, not the car for sale.

      Like 0
  12. JCAMember

    What can it keep pace with, an ’85 Puch moped?

    Like 1
  13. Charles

    My mother had one of these she bought brand new in Chicago. When she passed away I flew to Las Vegas and drove it back to Jacksonville Florida. As soon as I hit the Texas state line on the air conditioner went out. It had the iron Duke in it and ran great. Ended up giving it to my brother who needed a car. And then his usual stupid fashion he traded it for a Cadillac Pimp Ride don’t know where it is now

    It had 26,000 miles on it

    Like 0
  14. PRA4SNW

    Price reduced to $6,900.
    Still no takers…

    Like 0

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