The 1967 Pace Car

The year was 1948, and the car chosen to pace the 42nd Annual Indianapolis 500 mile race was the Chevrolet Fleetmaster convertible, beginning a long line of Chevrolet cars at Indy. They returned in 1955 when a Bel Air convertible did the job. 12 years later the brand new Chevrolet Camaro was chosen as the pace car, with three-time Indy winner Mauri Rose behind the wheel.
It is not known exactly how many pace cars were built, but the best number is approximately 82 for the race and 100 to perhaps as many as 560 for a special Camaro Pacesetter campaign. The number of race Camaros comes from a GM inter office memo detailing the specifications for the vehicles to be used at the race. Here are some excerpts from that memo. The specifications for the 3 actual pace cars were set forth in Engineering Build Order #98168.
The number of cars built for the "Pacesetter" campaign is not known and varies widely. Most of the books I have read put the total number at around 100, including the speedway 81 vehicles. Personally, I think the number was at least 200. I explain my reasoning here.
After the race was over many of our friends in the Great White North learned of the Pace Car Replicas, and weren't happy to have been excluded from the promotion, and they apparently knew who to complain to. Chevy ordered up 21 more cars under ordering code 80055, eleven 396-325HP Turbo 400's and ten 350 Powerglides. These were distributed to Canadian dealers who remain unknown.

Camaros used by the Festival Committee also had this decal. They were gold and black with a clear center open section that showed the color of the car. This decal was used in both 1967 and 1969. The Festival cars were all 350 automatics and were used in the parades and to carry the Queen and Queen candidates around the track on Saturday. At the Queen Coronation Banquet the queen received the keys to car #33 as part of her winnings, including a matched set of luggage.
The original #1 Pace Car used to pace the Indy 500 in 1967 was driven by racing legend Mauri Rose, and is now owned by Dan Young. The car is on display periodically at Dan Young Chevrolet in Indianapolis or at the Indy Speedway Museum.
A.J. Foyt won the '67 Indy 500, but according to USCC member Matt Murphy he turned down the car because it didn't have air conditioning or a power top! So Chevrolet decided to build another car for A.J., and it was produced in the same run of cars as the special Canadian built cars. Because they were all produced together they all got the special clear coat paint and the 0-1 code. In addition, and they were all built after the race, date code 06C.

It can be difficult to verify the originality of a '67 Pace Car, because unlike two years later when Chevrolet planned to sell thousands of replicas to the public the '67 cars were all extremely limited production vehicles with most of them to be used exclusively at the race. However, there are many details common to all pace cars, and can go a long way towards verifying the real thing. If you do not know how to decode your cowl tag you may want to visit the Parts section before proceeding.
An authentic pace car should have the following details:

  • Ermine White paint, code C-1 or 0-1. "C" specifies Ermine White, while "0" is the code for Special Paint, in this case a clear coat over the Ermine White. The code appears on Festival and Official cars. "1" specifies a white convertible top. (There is one documented car coded 0-4, signifying a blue top.)
  • Interior trim code 732, Bright Blue.
  • Rally Sport equipment.
  • Super Sport equipment.
  • "Bumblebee" nose stripe factory painted blue. The regular D91 stripe was black.
  • Blue RS pin stripes, factory painted.
  • Pace Car decals. These were originally shipped in the trunk and installed by the dealers in Indianapolis.

The Cowl Tag should show the following items:

  • Date Built: 03C through 04D, for the cars used at the race. There were also 21 Special Built Canadian cars, which would be 06C.
  • Paint Code: C-1 or 0-1
  • Interior Code: 732
  • Style Code:12637
  • Rally Sport Code: 3L
  • Super Sport Code: 4P, 4N, or 4K
  • Special Paint Stripe Code: - (a dash, indicating other than the standard white or black stripe.)
  • Special Fleet Number: Norwood cars-050A, 061A, 062A, or 070A. Los Angeles cars-L181A

The car must have all of these features to be an actual Pace Car or replica. Two of the most important matches are the fleet number and build date, because several dealers ordered Ermine White SS/RS Camaros with custom blue interiors, repainted the D91 stripe blue, and installed Pace Car decals to imitate the actual replicas. It is not known how many of these cars were ordered this way, and of course anyone with a '67 Camaro convertible could make it look like a Pace Car.
The other important thing to check for is the dash (-) coding. Every known, documented Pace Car is dash-coded unless they are 0-1 paint coded. Unless it can be proven otherwise, a C-1 Ermine White convertible with 732 Bright Blue interior trim and SS/RS options without the dash-coding is not a genuine Pace Car.

This is an example of a 1967 cowl tag, and it decodes as follows:

  1. Date Code: 03C- Third week of March
  2. R- This code appears only on Norwood cars, and indicates a special Blue interior. It is in the same location as the mysterious Los Angeles Code, i.e., J304,  indicating the car was the 304th built during the "J" period.
  3. Style Code: 67- Year of manufacture. 12667-Chevrolet Camaro Custom Interior Convertible
  4. Build Location: NOR- Norwood, Ohio
  5. Body Number: 93453- Fisher Body Number
  6. Interior Trim Code: 732-Z- Bright Blue, bucket seats
  7. Paint Code: 0-1 Special Paint (in this case, clear over Ermine White), white convertible top
  8. Options Code(s):
  9. E: Tinted Windows A01
  10. 2LG: 4-speed Transmission M20, Console D55
  11. 3SL: Interior Trim Group Z23, Rally Sport Z22
  12. 4P: SS350-295HP L48
  13. 5Y-: Deluxe Seat Belts A39, Special Paint Stripe
  14. 061A: Fleet Number Pace Car Code

Other than the preceding items common to all Pace Cars, there were any number of option combinations used. Figures from the United States Camaro Club Registry show some of the following:

  • C-1 Paint Codes: 44
  • 0-1 Paint Codes: 33
  • 0-1 Paint Codes, Canada: 21:
  • Power Top: 30
  • Tinted Windshield: 37
  • Tinted Glass (all): 6
  • Powerglide: 28
  • 4 Speed: 41
  • Turbo 400: 8
  • Console: 19
  • Rear Antenna: 19
  • Air Conditioning: 2
  • Rear Speaker: 2
  • 3 Speed: 1
  • Special Interior Group: 47
  • 350-295 HP: 49
  • 396-325HP: 22
  • 396-375HP: 5
  • Deluxe Seat Belts: 44
  • Appearance Group: 9

There are 98 cars registered with the U.S.C.C. There are no documented cars with the following options:

  • Power Windows
  • Fold Down Rear Seat
  • 8 Track Stereo
  • Style Trim Group
  • Rear Defroster
  • Floor Mounted Clock
  • Remote Mirror
  • Shoulder Belts

If you own or discover one of these classic Pace Cars please register it with the U.S. Camaro Club. You can get more information about the USCC and similar clubs on the Links Page.