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One Of 60 Pace Cars: 1970 Oldsmobile Cutlass

1970 Oldsmobile Cutlass Pace Car

Serving as a pace car really isn’t all that easy of a task, hence why most pace cars were upgraded to handle keeping a brisk enough pace around the track to keep the race cars warm. It only makes sense that when you see one of the various factory built pace car replicas, that they would be upgraded to the same level as the real deal. Sadly, that wasn’t typically the case. That being sad, most of the pace car replicas are fairly rare and this Olds is especially so. I get into what makes this one so special below, but you can have a quick look at this Y74 here on eBay in Walnutport, Pennsylvania with bidding up to $10k.

1970 Oldsmobile Cutlass Convertible Interior

So the Y74 Pace Car option is a bit confusing, as the Cutlass wasn’t the car that was picked and used at the Indy 500. It was actually its Olds sibling the 442. The choice to go with the more sporting 442 makes sense, but why then did GM offer Cutlasses as pace car replicas? Well, that’s a question you would really have to take up with GM brass, but I’m going to guess it had a lot to do with Oldsmobiles target market.

1970 Oldsmobile Y74 350 V8

You might be wondering what makes this particular example rare, beyond being a clean Cutlass Convertible. That’s a question I can answer! They Y74 option was offered on both the 442 and the Cutlass, but only 358 were Cutlass models. If that isn’t a small enough group to consider rare in your book, let’s take a look at engine options. Most of the Cutlass Y74s were optioned with the 455, but only 60 left the factory with the 350 V8. This is one of those small block cars. Now before you say, “the 350 doesn’t have enough power”, let’s remember that this Olds 350 offered 315 horsepower and weighed significantly less than the 455! I have a feeling it would have more than enough power for most of us.

1970 Oldsmobile Cutlass Y74

This might be one of sixty cars built, but it’s still just a Cutlass Convertible. They aren’t in terribly high demand, but there is enough interest in them that parts are still available. Which is probably a good thing for this one, as it has some issues. I’m a bit concerned about what kind of rust issues might be hiding underneath, but it could turn out to be a solid starting point. I think this could be a really fun car to have, but personally, I’d rather own one that doesn’t have all the Pace Car stickers on it. So does rarity and nostalgia sway on towards this one or would you be just as happy with a standard Cutlass convertible?


  1. Avatar photo ydnar

    Nice find, I would prefer the 442 with a big block, even with higher production numbers.
    If the price goes too high, and you had to have one, just build a clone. Easily done with a Cutlass

    I would have guessed this would hit 20K, it must be in bad shape.

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  2. Avatar photo Sukey

    Gorgeous car
    With today’s gas prices the 350 will be easier to live with
    I only wish it was a manual

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    • Avatar photo Nessy

      Sukey, gas prices are lower now than in ages. I filled up today at 1.57 for regular so I’ll take a 455. Trouble with the lower gas prices is the stock market drops when the gas drops. As for the Olds, it’s great!

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    • Avatar photo Greg

      Good lord – gas is cheaper than ever. Are you living under a rock?

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      • Avatar photo Woodie Man

        I assume you mean adjusted for inflation. If you were driving in the seventies gas ranged from .35 cents to .68 per gallon. A dollar into the early nineties. Except out here on the West Coast where we are getting raped….at 2.77 a gallon for 89 octane.

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    • Avatar photo Pete

      You buy a muscle car because you are worried about gas mileage??

      Like 1
  3. Avatar photo JW

    If this car was in dry storage since 1977 why is the deck lid so rusty and why no pics with top up. Something tells me the area where the top goes down in to body is gone or in bad shape and on a convertible that can mean real $$$ to fix. 10K might be over priced without a closer inspection IMHO.

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  4. Avatar photo JW

    My mistake dry storage since 1997 but still deck lid area looks awful rusty to me.

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  5. Avatar photo piper62j

    Sweeeeet! If I didn’t just buy another Mach 1 this week, I’d be on this one..
    It’s all about timing..

    Very nice find.. I like it very much..

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  6. Avatar photo OA5599

    Hell yeah! Park it right in the front yard!

    Underrated. But I’ve always admired these. I like this one.

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  7. Avatar photo Jim

    Back in the day I owned a ’68 LeMans Convertible. When the top was down and the tonneau cover was on, the cover had to be stretched over the top. This one looks a little deflated. I’m guessing that the reason this one isn’t being shown with the top up is that the top isn’t under there

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  8. Avatar photo piper62j

    Woodie.. You got it right about the west coast.. Just got back from a vacation out in SF & LA.. Still in shock over the prices for everything… After my wife and I walked across the Golden Gate Bridge, we decided that was the last free thing we could do ’cause we ran out of money and went home to Fla.

    Personally, I don’t see the draw for the west coast.. Even a small 2 bedroom bungalow sells for over $700k (for example) on House Hunters.. They smoke that funny stuff out there…

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    • Avatar photo Mark

      Woodie and Piper62J are right gas is always higher on or near the west coast! Especially here in Las Vegas Nevada this past summer at 3.20 a gallon. Now it is around 2.30 to 2.55 a gallon. I have to put the mid grade or higher in my 1971 Chevelle.

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  9. Avatar photo SEAN C

    inside of trunk lids were not painted , common spot for rust , 350 was 310 horse in 1970

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  10. Avatar photo piper62j

    Sold,, $10,200.00

    Actually, back in those years when these cars were made, GM was using what was called a Water based paint formula.. It was the beginning of the government crackdown on airborne particle emissions from factories.. So, with the advent of the water based paint being in it’s infancy, the finish on the cars would begin to “spider web” with time which ended up looking like this car.

    We won’t go to the Ford problem in those years of some models with the clear coat peeling off the car.. Can’t tell you how many of those we painted under warranty.. The process was to actually scrape the clear coat off with a razor blade, scuff and shoot a new layer of clear..

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  11. Avatar photo Mike

    Olds made Cutlass Pace Car for the littler know races like the Old Busch Class of NASCAR. They always ran the Fancier Car for the Big Name Class, like Winston Cup. Open Wheel did the same.
    They still do it today, look at the next Infinity Race at Daytona in 2 weeks, they will be using a Mustang, or a Camaro, or that Toy POS!
    The Pace car speed is only 65 MPH which is just above pit road speed at all tracks.

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  12. Avatar photo dj

    I looked at this pic and thought the engine was the wrong color. So I checked. The 350 was painted gold up till 1973. Only the 455 was blue.

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  13. Avatar photo eapink

    I don’t know if anyone is follow this, but this car is about to be reborn. This car is beginning a frame off restoration. There is some rust on this car but the under carriage was undercoated, all of the bottom side in in tact. It is a numbers matching car with everything accept the carb.

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  14. Avatar photo JC

    I own one of these 350 Pace cars. It is rarer than the 455 pace cars. Mine has no major rust issues numbers matching. Hard to find a convertible muscle cars these days, so it is worth the rebuild. I am restoring mine to keep and enjoy. I live in Montana where there is open roads and you can open up the car and drop the top and jam to your favorite tunes. That is what owning any convertible is all about. Glad to know I own one of 60 cars. Mine must be even rarer as it is a column shift bench seat car?

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    • Avatar photo Harry Gems

      I have one of these 350 pace cars, we bought it from the original owners in 1986, it still only has 66K on it and I have the window sticker and Protecto Plate. Yes the engine should be gold also it does not have a Tic-Tock- Tach.

      Like 0

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