How Many 1967 Pace Cars?
If you read almost any book or article on the 1967 Pace Car you will usually see the number of cars quoted as 103. I personally believe that there were at
least 200 built,and maybe over 600 more
built, although I have not heard of anyone
else with this opinion. Let me set out my
reasoning for you,and let's see if we can
add up the cars.
The number of Camaros used at Indy comes from a GM
interoffice memo detailing the
specificationsfor the vehicles to be used at
the race. Here are some excerpts from that memo. Let's add up the numbers.
First wehave the 500 Festival Committee
Vehicles, of which 43 are Camaros, numbers
1-43. The Speedway Vehicles include 10
Camaros, numbers 49-58, and 3 actual Pace
Cars, numbers 78-80. Many sources will give
the number of actual Pace Cars as 2, but there were 3 - number 78, number 79,
and number 80. They were identically prepared, with one designated to pace the race, one for backup, and the third, with a show quality finish, to be
presented to the winner. The specifications
for the 3 actual pace cars were set forth in
Engineering Build Order #98168. Then we have the40 "Brass
Hat" cars, of which 25 were Camaros. This equals 81 Camaro Pace Cars and replicas that were used at Indianapolis. These cars were later
sold through Indianapolis dealershipsas used cars. Some were purchased by the person
the car had been assigned to during the
monthat Indy for the regular GM Corporate
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. This makes 102 cars total.
information has come to light that indicates the 10 small block cars were
327's rather than 350's, but the were otherwise identical the the small
block pacer. Would a Pace Car Replica built by the factory still be
considered a genuine replica even if it had a different factory engine?
Some people say no, but I would say yes. In the total we now have to
include 396, 350,
and 327 pace Car Replicas.)
A.J. Foyt won the '67 Indy 500, but 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, they
were all built after the race, date code
06C. This brings our total to 103.
This number is what is usually quoted as the total number of
1967 Pace Cars, because this number can be verified (more or less) from Chevrolet memos.
Okay, so if this number can be verified, why
does every source say it is approximate?
Once we start digging further, and making
guesses as tothe number of additional cars,
it's all pretty much speculation - and the
numbers point tomany more cars, not less.
First of all, let's look at the build dates. The US Camaro Club
has published articles that say all Pace
Cars were built between 03C and 04D, except
for the Canadian Pace Cars built 06C. John
Hooper, in the 1967-68 Camaro Reference
Book, gives the dates as 03C to 06B, and the
Canadian cars also as 06C. Other sources
give pretty much the same dates. (The USCC
gives 06D in one article, but it's obviously
The Chevrolet memo setting out the specifications for the cars set
the deadline for the Indy cars as March 30, with formal delivery on April 1. Therefore, all
81 Camaros used at Indy were built prior to
the end of March, 03D. The Canadian vehicles
were built the third week of June, 06C, so
no matter whichbuild dates you use they all
point to some cars being built after 03D, either
through April, 04D, or June, 06B. The
question is how many.
John Hooper breaks down the build dates by assembly plant. He
indicatesthat Norwood built pace cars from 04A to 06B, and Van Nuys built them from 04A to
05D. According to Hooper, all L181A coded Los Angeles cars were built during this period,
which means none of them could havebeen used at Indy.
So where did these extra cars go? Chevrolet ran a special "Pacesetter"
campaign to mark the selection of the Camaro for Indy. Some sources say this only
included incentives on options, and not Pace
Car replicas. The text of the news release
doesn't really make this clear. It reads as follows:
"For Release: IMMEDIATELY
"DETROIT -- Chevrolet and its dealers are launching a
nationwide Camaro Pacesetter sales campaign
this month to mark the selection of the
Camaro as pace car for this year's
Indianapolis 500 race on Memorial Day.
"The campaign, running through June, will feature specially
equipped Camaros and Fleetside pickup trucks
at special savings. There will be special
advertising support in the various media,
including large newspaper ads, network
television and radio plus spot radio and TV
and dealer merchandisingand promotional
"During the Pacesetter event, Camaro buyers can get the
special hood stripe and floor-mounted shift for three-speed transmission at no extra cost with special
savings also available on Powerglideautomatic
transmission, power steering and power brakes.
"Also offered is a half-ton Fleetside pickup truck with
special savings when equipped with some of the most popular options and accessories. These include custom appearance items, pushbutton
radio, a larger capacity six-cylinder engine and heavy-duty suspension.
"4 -- 10 -- 67"
This memo is not very clear. It
does give incentives on options which you
could order on your Camaro, but it also
implies that there were "specially equipped" Camaros also at the dealer. These
could have been the Pace Car replicas. According to John
Hooper, dealers received these cars as a
special sales promotion and they were all
built at Los Angeles. However, any Norwood
production after 03D would have to be
included in the promotion.
When Chevy built the Z10 Pace Car Coupe as a special
regional promotion in 1969 it is believed
they built between 200 and 300 at Norwood.
You would expect Chevy to build more cars
for a nationwide promotion, but then again,
they didn't try to sell as many '67's either.
You can make a good case for at least 100
extra pace cars from this alone.
Since Chevy built all these cars for promotion, as opposed
to letting the customer order them as they
did in 1969, it would be reasonable to
assume that they built these cars according
to some kind of a schedule to meet deadlines
and shipping dates. If Chevrolet built 81
cars in Norwood during the last two weeks of
March - about 40 per week - and 22 cars in
Los Angeles during the third week of June, then
mightn't they have also averaged at least 20 cars per week through April (04D), for an extra 80 cars? And maybe even an additional six weeks production through the second week of June (06B) for another 120 cars? That would
equal around 200 cars in addition the103, making 303 total.
And this ignores the fact that two assembly plants were running, and Norwood produced over twice as many cars as Los Angeles did. If John Hooper's facts
are correct, then Norwood produced pace cars for the 10 weeks from 04A to 06B - 400 cars
at 40 cars per week - and Los Angeles for
the 8 weeks from 04A to 05D - 160 cars at 20
cars per week - then we are looking at 560
extra cars, plus the 81 Indy cars built in
March and the 21 Canadian cars and the one
for A.J. Foyt built in June, for a total of
663! That's a long way from 103.
Thanks to the US Camaro Club, there is one more indicator to look at. The USCC has a registry for Camaros, which amounts to a large database of
information. From this they can extrapolate statistical data on these cars. As of July,
1992, in their special Pace Car Issue of the
magazine, they had 98 pace cars registered.
What are the odds on having virtually every
single Pace Car replica,98 out of 103, still
around? Not only are they in existence, but
also owned by members of the USCC, and also
registered with the USCC! I'd say it's
There were 3,675 Pace Car Replicas sold in 1969, not counting the actual Indy cars and the Z10's, yet the USCC had only 103 registered in 1992 - roughly
2.5% of all Pace Cars made. It's not likely
that they would get over 95% of the '67's
and only 2.5% of the '69's. If you take the
build date end of 04D, for an extra 80 cars,
that's still 53% of the total, still very
high. A build date end of 06B, for an extra
200 cars total, would still leave around 32% of the cars still around and on the registry, whichstill seems high. The highest estimate, 663 cars total, would leave 14%. This is starting to sound a lot more realistic.
Finally, of the 98 cars registered, only 8 were built in March, so only 8 of these 98 could be part of the 81
Indy cars. That leaves 90 cars which
couldn't have been used at Indy. They have
all 21 Canadian cars registered, so that is at
least 69 extra cars if they have every
one in existence registered!
So there is the dilemma. My best guess is about 200 - 400 cars total, but my opinion isn't cast in stone. If you have another guess, or any other
information, please email me.
I spoke with Matt Murphy of SLP Engineering at the US Camaro Club Nationals in
July, 1997. He has gathered a lot of
information about the 1967 Pace Cars and his father worked at Dan Young Chevrolet in Indianapolis where the actual festival cars
were prepared. He shed some light on many
questions which puzzled me, and he agrees that the number of cars and replicas is probably over 350.
To begin with, although the deadline for
delivery of the Festival cars was April 1,
the cars continued to be delivered through May 1, 1967. He also gives the total number of Festival cars used at Indy as 110
because more Camaros were being assigned to
VIPs and they needed more than the original number. If you add these 110 cars with the 21 Canadian cars we get 131. There were also
"dealer cars," the Pace Car Replicas I speculated as being at the dealer during the Pacesetter
sale along with the other
Pacesetter options. According to
Matt, the way the system worked was that the people in charge of these promotions
would get on the phone to their best dealers
and let them know there was a special promotion coming. In this case,the dealers were informed of the Pace Car
Replicas and given a chance to order them during
the winter of '67. The ratio of Dealer cars to Festival cars is about 2:1, so this points to about 220 Dealer cars, for a
total of around 330.
Once the Pacesetter campaign was underway
many dealers tried to order more cars, and
many dealers who hadn't ordered any tried to get a few. The factory, however, was not interested in building any more cars, so
the dealers had to come up with their own. They
ordered white SS/RS 396 and 350 convertibles with blue tops and stripe delete. Then they painted the blue nose stripe at the
dealership and ordered the door decals through their parts departments. There are also dealers who skipped the stripe delete
option and just repainted the nose stripe. These would not be considered genuine Pace Car
Replicas, even though the only changes made
by the dealer were the color of the nose stripe and the decals, because they would not have the fleet codes or
How many dealer-duplicated Pace Cars is a
matter of speculation, but figure at least 20
or 30. That puts the total number in the 350
range, and it is perhaps much higher.