Under Wraps: 1978 Corvette Pace Car Edition

I never thought the day would come when I would see a Corvette Pace Car with serious bidding action on eBay, but this one has already had over 40 bids and is currently hovering at $16k! Has the time come that these cars are actually going to be worth serious money? I don’t know, but let’s take a closer look at this one and see if there is something special about it that is driving bidders. You can have a closer look here on eBay in Scranton, Pennsylvania.

The seller states that this Pace Car is one of only 202 built. Given that there were 6502 built, I’m guessing they mean only 202 were built with the exact same list of options. It’s an L82 equipped car (most were) with a 4 speed and just 31k miles. I’m guessing the gearbox is what makes this one special, as automatics have typically been the preferred transmissions for many buyers. The fact that it has 31,000 miles isn’t all that special given just how many of these were carefully stashed away by hopeful owners looking for a long term investment.

I found an identical one that sold at a Mecum auction back in 2015 for $27k, so perhaps values are on the climb. Personally, if I were to buy one, I would want it running, driving and with a few miles on it so that I could actually enjoy it. And while $16k seems like a lot for a late ’70s Corvette, compare it to a brand new car of the same price and it starts to look like a pretty good buy!

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Comments

  1. Flmikey

    …depending on condition, it’s worth 20 g’s all day long….

  2. CapNemo

    I’ve always loved these, and it’s a goal of mine to own a low mileage one eventually. I realize there are better built Corvettes, and more valuable ones, but I just can’t shake it. Been that way for years. One day……

  3. erikj

    I finally got a 68 vette, sold it last year and miss it. Look at what they are going for.
    Mine was a sm block,4spd roadster, and kind of rough, but a good looker and driver.
    I got 15k for it.
    I don’t see being able to get another chrome bumper one because they are too much$$ , but if values stay on the low side I can see maybe a 74-78 vette.
    If so it will have a much stronger engine to start and 4spd. Go from there, but I can see the prices for those years going up out of reach If I don’t act soon.

  4. DrinkinGasoline

    Not a fan of anything beyond ’62 when it comes to the Corvette so I’ll concede to the enthusiast’s on this one. The last Vette I drove was an FI ’57 and it was a fun drive but still felt like I was riding on a 2×4 with metal roller skate wheels….Kinda like the old crate scooters with horsepower….limited enjoyment.
    I hope that someone who can appreciate it, can enjoy it.

  5. Doug

    Bunch of these on Craigslist in the Orlando, FL area.
    There’s one listed for $12.5K with 10K miles. Needs stickers put on as paint was damaged.

  6. DrinkinGasoline

    I find it ironic that the current value of the first Hot Wheels (1/64th die cast) first edition Corvette, in the original packaging, is worth HALF of the actual Corvette’s original purchase price. I recently sold one for $2200 and MSRP was $4700 for a coupe when new…..go figure.

  7. The Giant Cornstalk

    I’m in the camp of those who always found the pace car editions fairly desirable. My favorite of that generation (not a pace car edition, however) was the 1982 anniversary edition with its unique gold/tan/pewter/whatever body color, gradient/fade graphic on the side and special turbine wheels. With the low miles on this one, I’m not surprised at the level of interest.

    • Ck

      Hey The Giant Cornstalk.I too like the 82 funky color aniversary edition.There is one here in town that I have been stalking (no pun intended)for a few years now.It does get used in the summer but is unfortunately left out side all year round.In the winter it is covered in of all things ,blue tarps .At least its somewhat coverd up.I also like the two tone maroon &silver vette that is around the same vintage as the aniversary vette.These cars are starting to come up in value, but if you look atound on craigs list the 78-82 vettes can still be found for under 10K.Maybe not the SPC editions,but there are definatly some good examples out there for cheap $$

  8. Art Fink

    Forget all other model years. Pick up a C5 and hold on to it. A C5. ZO6. Is going to be very desirable in a few years, they are undervalued at this point.

    • Tom Member

      Art, sorry but your comment is out of line and I will respectfully call you out on it. I have owned and work on Corvettes of all years all the time and have for years.

      I am not going to bad mouth any Z06. However, the only thing worse than a C5 is a C4 and that is not saying much.

      54-72 are all great corvettes, far superior to most any C5 in pure nostalgia, design and collectability. The new Corvettes make a C5 look like a used Cavalier. As much as a C5 had some nice engineering when it was new, the C6 and C7 spank the crap out of them performance wise, technologically and in my option, curb appeal.

      Sorry but the C1-early C3’s and the C6-C7s will always be more desirable and cause the C4 & C5s to never really appreciate. They will be entry level money cars for people who always wanted a corvette but don’t have the big bucks….and that is fine too. Nothing wrong with driving the wheels off a C4 or C5. Don’t bubble wrap one though…like these late 70’s vettes (74-82) they will never really bring the money. Drive em.

      • Art Fink

        Hi Tom, I can appreciate what you are saying. I have been a Corvette Guy for over 40 years and have owned several, actually examples of all models. I owned a ’04 C5 for 13 years with no problems whatsoever. We have several members of our Corvette Clubs with C5 and love them. I now drive a ’16 Z06 which I plan to keep until I can’t get in it. She is the Best Corvette I’ve ever driven. What I’m saying is, the C5’s are excellent cars and undervalued at this point. Now is a the time to buy one for a reasonable price to drive and enjoy. The C1 and C2 are untouchable for the average Corvette Enthusiast. It seems that not to long ago the C3 and C4’s could be had quite inexpensively, but they are now coming into their own and starting to appreciate. I do agree with you, I would do anything to have my ’63 SWC back !!!

    • bi-polar_with_cars

      ZR1s with the Lotus designed, Mercury Marine built engine are the true ‘Vette’s to make money on right now. They had killer performance in the day and still perform well compared to modern cars.

  9. Addiction

    Tom,

    You sound like my EX-Wife, always reading something into what someone says! The man just said the Z06 will be worth something one day! You go on a tirrant about how wrong that he is and this will always better that that yadda datta doo! Surely you are entitled your opinion and there may be some kinda facts to some of some of the vomit that you are spilling out of your crap slapper but the one thing that is a really a true fact is that YOU NEED A FRIEND AND A LIFE there LIL GUY! Calm down hammer!
    Also, how the heck do you know what car will be worth more than the other 20 years from now, yeah, comon sense may have a little play in your vomit but if you posses the ability to prodict the future worth of things, why the heck are you on BF’s beating down some poor man that made a simple comment that didn’t even say anything against any other style or generation of car much less the Corvette? I bet you live in your parents basement and the only Corvette that you have ever seen is on the video games that you play! 😂😂💦😂💦

    • Art Fink

      Easy does it there Addie, Just as yourself, everyone has a right to express their opinion on any subject. I appreciate your support and you are correct in some ways. I just wanted to say that the C5’s particularly the Z06’s are bargains today, driveable and possibly a great investment in the future. For many, the C1 and C2 are way behind their means. Thanks, Art

      • Tom Member

        Hi Art, no disrespect intended. I think we understand each others comments better especially with your reply. As I mentioned “I would not bad mouth any Z06”.

        My initial reply to your comment was primarily addressing your first line “Forget all other model years” any your go-to was a C5. That is what hit me the wrong way. Sorry for jumping on it.

        I have owned many cars including many Corvettes. I have been restoring and detailing corvettes at a very high level for more than 30 years.

        I appreciate your follow up comment and if I could I would love to help you get your 63 SWC back!!

    • Tom Member

      Art and Erikj, thanks for your comments and support. I was not trying to be malicious like Addiction was flying off the handle. However, I can really understand the EX in EX Wife. Wow!!???

      Addiction, I am sorry to have ticked you off. You really jumped the gun on my professional comments. I am north of 50 years old and have been restoring, showing, buying and selling collectible muscle cars and corvettes for decades. I own an automotive business along those lines and have been improving vehicles for decades. We have 6 figure vehicles here every day as well as daily drivers and we make them better than when they arrived.

      Again, my response was to Art’s first line “Forget all other model years”….that is borderline INITIALLY offensive to Corvettes and Corvette owners. I think Art and I are in agreement at this point.

      BTW, I have never played (tried yes once or twice of course) video games, don’t need to when I have the real thing. Well, maybe I played “PONG” when I was 10 with the static cling sheets that you put on your TV screen. That would date me.

  10. Steve

    There is one on Craigslist in CA San Francisco Bay Area..

  11. erikj

    HEY ADDICTION, calm down. Everyone has the right to there opinion Without getting ripped into like that.
    Ya hit a nerve !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  12. 408interceptor

    ROAD RAGE isn’t just from behind the wheel anymore.

  13. TMagda

    I am more interested in the Trans Am sitting next to it!

    • Tom Member

      Right!? More like 6 or more Trans Ams!!!!. Go to the ebay photos and there are 2 to the right at least 1 or 2 above those on the lifts, 3 more behind it and a shell of what looks like a Gen 1 Camaro or Firebird in the middle. I love photos like these!

    • Jack

      @TMagda
      I was just going to post a similar comment, you beat me to it!

  14. Art Fink

    Hey Guys, Basically we are all “Car Guys” who enjoy a wonderful hobby and are allowed to express ourselves such. Different cars, ideas and opinions…That what makes our lives interesting. Everyone enjoy the rest of the weekend!!!

    • leiniedude leiniedude Member

      Thanks Art, I needed that. Take care and have a great weekend yourself buddy, Mike.

    • Tom Member

      Well said to both of you.

  15. Car Guy

    The C6 and C7 are basically using the same chassis/drivetrain design as the C5 which was very good, and is the reason it has been retained by Chevrolet.

    With “only” 350 horsepower a C5 will easily dispatch a majority of cars on the road. A C5 will get excellent gas mileage for it level of power when driven reasonably. Also, a C5 will go faster than most of its owners will ever want to do.

    Until the all new chassis design C8 comes out, the latest version of the original 1997 C5 chassis design will continue to provide excellent handling in the current C7 Corvette’s.

    FYI, just recently one of the major car magazines listed the C5 as the Corvette to purchase now before they start to increase in value.

    • Tom Member

      I think Art wrote that article……..I’m kkkkiiiidddddiiiinnngggg !!! (That will make sense to anyone who saw Adam Sandler’s movie Jack and Jill).

      Car Guy and Art, you are both 100% right, still does not change my position on a C5 (nice car don’t get me wrong) but Art, your 16 Z06…..now that my friend is a machine worthy of not getting out of! Stay in it !!!! Well until the C8 shows up anyway….if I am correct it will be a completely different animal. C7 Z06 will always be a great car.

      You guys are great and a nice weekend back at you all! T

  16. MARK BOYCE

    Gotta love low miles survivors ,, my monte has 21k orig all put on by me since new :) only the R9’s arn’t stock.

  17. Ross W. Lovell

    Greetings All,

    I like Corvettes for one reason……..the last two decades have found Corvette to be the benchmark for “most performance for the buck” to find something that bests it, you’ll need to spend a lot more.

    That being said I’m afflicted with JS/Jaguar syndrome.

    Corvette Pace Cars, if you bought one and put it away, and put on 100 miles a year. Close to 42 years later, you’ve lost money! Not my idea of a good investment, but then I own Jaguars.

    The problem with Pace Cars, other than the hideous silver leather, is that paint and decal theme, loved the paint, but refuse to be anybody’s billboard without being paid for it. Not to forget the large numbers of these people bought and stored, many improperly.

    That whole issue of improper storage means many of these have inflated prices. People who are unaware of how to store a car long term and then decide to do it to their “investment”, are also likely to be unrealistic to what their now damaged investment is worth.

    Lots of these, rarely do they bring much money. Lack of performance in these years made the marketing guys work hard to get models sold. GM won, the buyer lost.

    Luckily better times were coming.

    • ACZ

      Don’t put that on GM. The car brought them the same money whether a “collector edition”, “pace car” or whatever. The ones that made the home run were the dealers. They are the ones that whored the cars. Same with the 76 Eldo Convert, the Buick GNX, and a number of others. The manufacturer tries to come up with models to stir interest, not to high-gross a particular model.

  18. Harry Hodson

    The problem that arises with the ’78 Pace Cars was the fact that so many fresh off the truck clones were created by Dealers who wanted to cash in on their uniqueness. I know for a fact of one dealer who made an additional 10 or more.

  19. anthony musto

    Can someone help me figure this out. I currently have a 78 vette silver anniversary edition. I want to install a create motor and trans., about $10k. Do i sell it and use the 10k to buy a C5 vette or keep the 78 and invest the 10k into the car?

    • Ross W. Lovell

      Greetings All,

      Anthony, its more about how enamored you are with the looks. Originality will be out the window, though the resale value wasn’t great to start with, for those years.

      The mods you are thinking about making fall under the “personal statement” aspect with your car. While you own a Corvette, that year has lagged behind other ones. My personal opinion, worth just what you paid for it, is these cars suffered from GM’s lack of planning in the performance area with regards to emissions. Don’t take my word for it check the periodicals, auction results and EBay.

      If you like it, go for it but don’t make it part of your retirement portfolio..

      • anthony musto

        Well said Ross. Thanks for your input. I really don’t care for investment, i just want the best performance for the money. I believe that investing 10k in a 78 vette will not give me the same performance as a 07 vette. Thanks again

  20. Clinton

    I had two of these spec’d the same as this. One with 23k miles and 1700 miles with pretty much still in the wrapper with 1978 title. Cool cars to collect not really drive. Simply because they aren’t that fun. I can tell you I sold both of them for more that the current bid though.

    • Clinton

      More pics

      • Clinton

        Last one

  21. John B

    Ah yes, as a wee lad of 18 I remember the Chevy dealer I worked at had one of these new on the showroom floor. L82 automatic with some sort of silver interior like a space suit. I dug it! They became disgusted with all the tire-kickers and fingerprints all over the car that it was sent to their sister dealership. Likely took a while to sell due to Jimmy Carter’s economy and the gas crunch at the time.

  22. Art Fink

    Tom, As much as I loved my C5 with it’s performance and reliability, the C7 is much more sophisticated. Set on Econ Mode, she drives like a Cadillac. Then put her in Track Mode, she becomes a Monster. Good thing she has all the “Nanny Controls” because things can go south real bad and real fast. As far as the new C8, “The Boss” put the Kabosh on that one. She shut me off!!! Have a good one, Art

    • Tom Member

      At least you got the C7 in under the wire!! As much as I am a 69-71 Coupe fan, I have had many of the C7s in my shop. They, as you said, are amazing cars…and for the money, unbelievable. To come close to what you have would take what, 2 to 3 times more what it cost you? AND it looks amazing too! I have to tell you, I have European super cars in here at $200-500K and I don’t love how they look many times. Cool, don’t get me wrong, but I would buy the C7 on looks alone not knowing price. I was behind and next to a 17 Grand Sport Coupe today, dark metallic red (my favorite color) ……speechless. Be well my friend. Tom

  23. Gary

    During the late 70’s I worked for Hoss Ellington (yes, that Hoss Ellington). When these Anniversary edition Corvettes came out, he anticipated their becoming collectable and ordered one direct from Chevrolet. He took delivery of it as a fully documented, but “untitled” car and placed it in storage in one of his buildings near his race car shop.

  24. Rolf Poncho 455

    I also like the Pontiacs under plastic please open
    and put them on BF

  25. Dan Almashy

    16 K looks reasonable to me. Not my cup of tea in this color but, there are buyers for just about everything corvette…I remember a lot of copies made from the other Anniversary cars back then..I suppose if it has the paperwork to back it, it would be a good buy…I prefer a white or else red with black interior…just my choice….There are some in regular colors for a lot less, my brother sold a red one 2 years ago for 6500 bucks….adding a picture of my wifes 85 Z28 with only 8100 miles on it, she thinks it’s worth a lot more than it is but that’s because she won’t sell it but realistically, I’m guessing we might be able to get what we paid for it which was about 13k back in Nov 1984. it was on the dealerships showroom. She only drives it a couple times a year to work. which is 2 miles from home.

  26. jeff

    Hi…. there is a dealer here in West Chicago Suburbs – -Rte 34 & Rte 30 — with THIS car with 3 miles and other corvettes with 2 miles — in the showroom and they are FOR SALE :):) had 3-4 lined up together with plastic still on all the seats. I can not remember what the prices were — But he obviously is playing the ” hold onto it they will appreciate in value ” card .

    Ron Westphal Chevrolet
    Address: 1425 West Ogden Avenue, Aurora, IL 60503
    Phone: (630) 898-9630

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