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Original Paint: 1979 Ford Mustang Indy Pace Car

When Ford developed the Fox-body platform, it was intended to be used as the base for their “world car.” This never eventuated, but the platform was used with enormous success in the US. The Fox-body Mustang was introduced in the 1979 model year, and that year was also the second where the Mustang was afforded the honor of being the official Pace Car for the Indianapolis 500. Ford leveraged this by producing 10,478 Pace Car Replicas, and our feature car is one of them. It is looking for a new home, so the owner has listed it for sale here on eBay. It is located in Roy, Utah, and bidding has reached $7,100. With the reserve having been met, that new home isn’t far away.

The styling of the 1979 Mustang marked a complete shift for Ford. The 1st Generation Mustang had a distinctive appearance, while the Mustang II attempted to maintain some of the family resemblances. The Fox-body was a different kettle of fish, and it showed no traces of the badge’s heritage. The Indy Pace Car Replicas were finished in a unique shade called Pewter, and this car not only wears that original color, but the paint itself is claimed to be original. If this is true, then it has survived remarkably well. This is a shade that can show deterioration easily, so this has to be considered to be impressive. The owner admits that the distinctive decals and stripes show some fading and suggest that they be dyed. An alternative could be to source a stripe kit because high-quality kits are available. Most of these sell for less than $450 and would give the car a “factory fresh” look. There are no rust problems with the Mustang, and the panels appear to be straight. The vehicle rolls on a new set of reproduction TRX wheels, and these have been fitted with a new set of General tires.

One area of these Indy Pace Car Replicas that could be prone to significant deterioration was the interior. Seat upholstery could show substantial wear and fading quickly, but that isn’t a problem with this car. There is some very mild wear on the outer seat bolsters, but it is still impressive for an original and unrestored vehicle. The rest of the trim and plastic has managed to survive without becoming faded and brittle, while the carpet shows no significant wear or fading. The Hurst shifter isn’t original, but I believe that the AM/FM radio/cassette player is.

When you consider the rest of the vehicle, the engine bay’s presentation is quite disappointing. However, things also aren’t original under the hood. What used to occupy the engine bay was the 2.3-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine, but that has gone the way of the dodo. In its place, we find a later 5.0-liter V8, which is backed by a T5 manual transmission. It isn’t clear what this engine’s specifications are, but there’s a fair chance that this Mustang will gallop through the ¼-mile faster than the 17.4 seconds that it would have taken when the car was new. The owner claims that the vehicle has a genuine 77,000 miles showing on its odometer, but I’m doubtful that this is significant given the changes that have been made to the drivetrain. The Ford has also recently received a new dual exhaust in addition to the new wheels and tires. The more positive news comes in the form of the car’s mechanical state. It is said to run and drive well, and it could be used as a daily driver.

After the much-maligned Mustang II, the Fox-body Mustang burst onto the scene like a breath of fresh air. In its first year, Ford managed to sell an incredible 369,936 cars. This harkened back to the original Mustang’s glory days and proved that Ford was onto a winner. Today, these are growing in popularity and value, so I believe that this one will be snapped up pretty quickly. It makes me wonder whether one of our readers will be the lucky new owner.


  1. Bob_in_TN Bob_in_TN Member

    Looks like a nice Pace Car. I think this package came across well. I’ve seen some without the “Official Pace Car” graphic on the doors, and while that eliminates some of its notoriety, it does clean up the look. This car has eliminated a couple of the complaints against the car, the under-engineered turbo 4 cylinder and the metric TRX wheels. Rarely will these seats look this good after 20k miles, let alone 77k.

    These aren’t high dollar cars, and it’s not hard to find them. I agree with Adam, nice Four-Eyes seem to be picking up a bit in collectability, as the more-popular Aero Nose Foxes get harder to find in good shape.

    Like 3
    • Mark

      Had one Brand new. My cousin ran a dealership in Westchester NY. Paid around $5700 ! Problem was the seat went through floor boards due to rust, road salt, etc. This looks exactly like my car but without the lettering which I opted out of, But with the louvers this was mine!!

  2. FordGuy1972 FordGuy1972 Member

    The wife had one of these back in the ’90s, a 4-speed 302 that was upgraded with a performance intake and a 4 barrel carb. It was a really nice car with great paint and graphics though the seats were redone in a non-original all black cloth. I wish I had the means to bid on this one, they were a lot of fun to drive, especially with a stick. She talks about her Mustang once in awhile, I know she’d love to have another.

    Like 3
  3. Christopher Gentry

    The 4 eyed foxes and the SVOs are my favorites of this generation . when I was a kid I delivered papers to our home time ford dealer. They had one just like this in the show room. Used to look at every day till it sold

    Like 4
  4. KEVIN

    plus the owner appears to have a spare in the background

    Like 5
    • Steve R

      Based on the wheels and stance on the other pace car, I’d guess that one would be more fun to drive.

      It looks like he has a 93 Cobra parker in the driveway. The seller seems to have a good eye.

      Steve R

      Like 1
  5. Mike Hawke

    My first car. Cost about $7700. 302 and a 4-spd. Dealer threw in special Pace Car jackets, baseball hats, etc. Very exciting in 1979 with the Recaro seats and the updated styling. Couldn’t hold onto it due to a combination of big monthly payments, pricey no-fault auto insurance for teens in an urban area and the need for college money. Fast-forward over 35 years later and I acquire another Pace Car locally with the same powertrain combo (only about 2500 made with V8/manual). While it was cheap at $2k, mice had dominated the interior for many years and the smell was unbearable until I stripped the interior out (in a hazmat suit). Fortunately, you can buy the original style upholstery seat kits. Even with a complete new interior and cleaning, the smell lingers a bit. So my son calls it the Rustang Piss Car.

    Like 9
    • Bhowe Member

      Having a fair bit of experience with mice infested vehicles if you still have smell, u still have areas to clean. I’d guess up inside the crevices in the dash and headliner. Recently had to gut one of my semi trucks due to mice. Disassembled dash, sleeper, and removed and replaced all headliner, flooring, and wall coverings the smell is gone. This truck was bad so I know it can be done. I removed 15 gallons! In containers worth of mouse debris, seeds, plant matter, etc. Good luck

  6. GPAK

    Never knew the speedo on these tops out at 85mph !

    Also nice stance on the othe two stands in the background!

  7. GPAK

    Never knew the speedo on these tops out at 85mph !

    Also nice stance on the two stangs in the background!

    Like 1
  8. Roland Schoenke

    A very good family friend had one of these he bought new, his came with a 302 v8 and standard transmission. My brother put an after market intake and 4bbl carb in it for him. Unfortunately while racing another friend with a ’78 6.6 TransAm he flipped it end over end and got thrown through the sunroof, 3 months in the hospital.

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