Camaro collectors place a premium value on the 1969 Camaro Indy Pace Car, but far more rare are the few 1967 Camaro RS/SS Indy Pace Car Comvertible editions still known to exist.
There were two cars prepared by Chevrolet to actually pace the Indianapolis 500 race in 1967, and one prepared to be awarded to the driver who won the race (in this case it was A.J. Foyt, who, by the way, turned down Chevrolet’s offer to give him the car because it did not have air conditioning.) These were all L78 Camaro’s, which came with the 396 ci V8 engine rated at 375 horsepower. It is unclear how many of the Festival Cars (exact duplicates of the 1967 Camaro Indy Pace Cars used for promotional purposes during Indy 500 week and used by celebrities, track employees and GM VIP’s) were L78s. It is known that many were outfitted with 350 small block engines, so the L78 Indy Pace cars are the most sought after.
Streetside Classics in Charlotte, North Carolina has a 1967 Camaro RS/SS Indy Pace Car Convertible for sale. It was meticulously restored, and its trim tag denotes it as a big block SS code original. Not only is this a first-year edition Camaro, but it is a rare RS/SS Pace Car edition with the L78 396/375 hp engine and an M-21 4-speed transmission. (Click here to see dozens of detailed photos of the Pace Car.)
A consignment car at the dealership, the owner states it was ordered and produced on April 28th, 1967 during the allotted time that dealers outside of Indianapolis could order Pace Cars under GMs “Pacesetter” Campaign. The car was ordered and delivered new to Dixie Chevrolet in Florence, South Carolina as a 1967 Chevrolet Camaro Indy 500 Pace Car Commemorative Car.
According to a report in Hot Rod Magazine, May 22, 2019, an L78 Camaro Pace Car owner told them that dealers only had a one- or two-week window to order a Pace Car edition under the “Pacesetter Campaign.” The dealer had to be “in the know” to get in on the promotion.
The restoration includes authentic details such as the correct decals on the doors, the proper D91 Bumblebee stripe on the nose, the correct Ermine white tone paint, Rally Sport headlight doors, correct SS badging and non-functional hood vents. It even has the Firestone Wide Oval tires with Redline trim. The owner states that $17,000 was invested in the interior restoration alone. The center console and auxiliary gauge package (clock actually works) were special features, large speedometer and tach, plus a radio that looks original but gives you the best in digital sound. The period correct 396 engine is NOM. Look at the photos in the ad. The undercarriage is as clean as the topside.
Click the video window here to view a walk-around video done by Streetside Classics of Charlotte.
While there is much lively discussion about the number of actual 1967 Camaro Indy Pace Car Convertibles produced, it is widely accepted that about 81 were present at the actual Indy 500 Race in 1967. After Chevrolet fielded many complaints about the ordering process, they produced 21 more Pace Car editions to go to Canadian dealerships. These were code 80055, with eleven 396-325 hp Pace Cars with Turbo 400 automatic transmissions and ten small block 350 cars with Powerglides. It is unknown which Canadian dealers got these cars. That would bring the total number of cars built to 102. With that last run a Pace Car with air conditioning was also built to give to A.J. Foyt, bringing the total to 103.
Because Chevrolet did not keep very good records on cars built in 1967 we don’t know exactly how many Pace Car editions were built. We do know that both the Chevrolet Norwood plant and the Van Nuys plant were involved in Pace Car production.
Whether the number 103 is accurate or not, it is obvious that the 1967 Camaro Indy Pace Car is one of the rarest ever produced. Some would say it should be worth more than the 1969 Camaro Indy Pace Car. Only time will tell.