September 20, 2020
Play VideoPlayMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration Time 0:00Loaded: 0%0:00Progress: 0%0:00 Progress: 0%Stream TypeLIVERemaining Time -0:00 Playback Rate1ChaptersChaptersdescriptions off, selectedDescriptionssubtitles off, selectedSubtitlescaptions settings, opens captions settings dialogcaptions off, selectedCaptionsAudio TrackFullscreenThis is a modal window. The Video Cloud video was not found. Error Code: VIDEO_CLOUD_ERR_VIDEO_NOT_FOUND The 1990 Indianapolis 500 Pace Car was the Chevrolet Beretta convertible. A 1984 Fiero Indianapolis 500 Pace Car owned by Fred Bartmeyer, coordinator of the 30th anniversary show, sits on display in 2013. This car was later used to pace the Indy Car World Series. Session ID: 2020-09-19:da29ec3231bf085ef77bc2c3 Player ID: videojs-brightcove-player-856890-5422927093001 OK Close Modal DialogCaption Settings DialogBeginning of dialog window. Escape will cancel and close the window.TextColorWhiteBlackRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentTransparentWindowColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyTransparentSemi-TransparentOpaqueFont Size50%75%100%125%150%175%200%300%400%Text Edge StyleNoneRaisedDepressedUniformDropshadowFont FamilyProportional Sans-SerifMonospace Sans-SerifProportional SerifMonospace SerifCasualScriptSmall CapsDefaultsDoneClose Modal DialogThis is a modal window. This modal can be closed by pressing the Escape key or activating the close button.Throughout nearly a century of races, many beautiful pace cars (and two pace trucks) have led drivers around Indianapolis Motor Speedway before the start of the Indianapolis 500. In 2017, a 460 horsepower Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport will usher drivers. Ford’s iconic 1964½ Mustang served pace car duties in 1964. The orphan brand DeSoto provided a Fireflite convertible in 1956. All three cars, either powerful, beautiful — or both.I’d like to point out the cars listed above — the Corvette, Mustang and Fireflite — include offerings from each of the Big Three. Yes, this is going to be a subjective list. There’s no way it can’t be. But, I’m not biased toward any manufacturer — just certain cars being where they shouldn’t be. The majority of pace cars have been GMs in recent years. Ford (Lincoln and Mercury included) has only provided 11 pace cars through the years.Here are the 10 worst Indianapolis 500 pace cars:2003: Chevrolet SSRThe 2003 Indy 500 pace car was not a car.Even a commercial directed by Michael Bay couldn’t garner sales for this ugly monstrosity. It’s a convertible pickup truck built on a Chevy Trailblazer EXT platform.And it’s not a car! But, it’s not the worst noncar to be an Indy 500 pace car.2001: Oldsmobile BravadaGrab some milk in Turn 3, please.This is the worst noncar to pace the race.It was the early 2000s. GM was rebadging every car they could with different brands to sell it to various demos. The idea to stop production of the Oldsmobile brand came just two days after the Bravada was released. It would be the brand’s last new model.A pace car should be a car.1991: Almost the Dodge StealthThe Dodge Stealth R/T Turbo was originally slated to be the 1991 Indianapolis 500 pace car .The Dodge Stealth was all set to be the pace car in 1991.But under those Dodge badges lies a Mitsubishi GTO, or 3000GT as it was known in the U.S.The United Auto Workers and many others didn’t like the idea of an import pacing the Indy 500. That said, Chrysler pulled the Stealth and replaced it with the yet-to-be-released Viper RT/10.The Stealth/3000GT was a great car with several technical innovations and 320 horsepower from a twin turbo V6. Later models would have four-wheel steering and adjustable exhaust. It was a great car. It was a car I loved as a teenager. It’s a car I’d still love to own. But, I get it. The Indy 500 pace car should be an American car. And I actually agree with that.1999: Chevrolet Monte CarloComedian Jay Leno rests against the 2000 Monte Carlo pace car Tuesday he will drive this May in the 1999 Indianapolis 500 Mile race.Car guy Jay Leno deserves better than this car’s 1990s GM plastic interior.In 1999, a gorgeous fourth-generation Chevy Camaro Z/28 convertible was the official car of the race and 500 Festival, but pace car duties went to a car more suited to lead the Brickyard 400. And in 2001, that’s exactly where a yellow Monte Carlo ended up.1984: Pontiac FieroThe 1984 pace car, a Pontiac Fiero, was the first four cylinder pace car since a 1912 when Indy’s own Stutz paced the race.The Fiero was the first four-cylinder pace car since the 1912 Stutz. And that’s fine. Lotus has proven in the past that a four-banger can be good. This engine was not good. And the production version was actually good for 140 less horsepower than the pace car.And they were known to throw rods and catch fire. So, there’s that.1986: Chevrolet CorvetteThis was a sad time for the Corvette.There’s a lot of hate out there for C4 Corvettes. But, there were some good models like the ZR-1 and the 1996 Grand Sport. The 1986 C4 was not one of these good ones. A victim of its era, this is a Corvette that churned out as much horsepower as a four cylinder Chrysler LeBaron pace car did the following year. Not until the 1989 ZR-1 did the Corvette become relevant again.1997: Oldsmobile AuroraOldsmobile Pace Cars past and present. The Aurora V8, front, is the latest Official Pace Car for the Indianapolis 500.This is what happens when Oldsmobile is the manufacturer of the “engine of champions” in the Indy Racing League. Olds’ Aurora V8 engine had never lost a race at the time. So, we were all graced with this.1962: Studebaker Lark DaytonaThis little car has one thing going for it; it’s a convertible. But you could say the same about a Geo Metro convertible.This underpowered compact convertible was completely out of place on a race track. It had all of 210 horsepower out of a V8.Studebaker’s beautifully designed Avanti was supposed to pace the race, but production was delayed and this was the stand-in.1985: Oldsmobile CalaisThe 1985 Indianapolis 500 pace car was the Oldsmobile Calais. The actual pace car was a convertible.The actual car used for the parade and race was a convertible version. Like the Beretta, it was never sold.My high school girlfriend had a Calais. Good memories. But a bad, boring 1980s car.1938: Hudson 112The Hudson 112 served pace duties for the 1938 Indianapolis 500.The Hudson was named after its wheelbase length because it had no other traits that stood out. That’s my conclusion. The side of the door says “official pacemaker,” but there are records out there putting the 0-60 time of this car anywhere between 30 and 40 seconds. I hope they took a few extra pace laps.A good deal in its day, you could buy one of these for $694 new.Not on the list, but bad for one reason:1971: Dodge ChallengerAl Unser waves in the victory parade beside mechanic George Bignotti, “Mom” Unser and Parnelli Jones.This is not a bad car. It doesn’t deserve to be on this list. It’s just associated with a bad memory.Eldon Palmer, a local car dealer, lost control of the car on pit lane with astronaut John Glenn and others riding along, crashed into a photographer’s area and injured 20 people. Doyel: The most infamous pace car in Indy 500 history Is there a bad Indy 500 pace car that stands out in your mind? Do you disagree with one of the cars I’ve listed? Let me know. I love cars and I love talking cars. Email me at [email protected] Follow me on Twitter: @joetamborello or on Instagram.Even with a Carroll Shelby-massaged turbo four, it’s still a LeBaron. 2003 Chevy SSR convertible pickup.