The 1969 Pace Car

dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)The year was 1948, and the car chosendot_clear.gif (46 bytes) to pace the 42nd Annual Indianapolis 500 mile race was the Chevrolet Fleetmaster convertible, beginning adot_clear.gif (46 bytes) long line of Chevrolet cars at Indy. They returned in 1955 when a Bel Air convertible did the job. 12 yearsdot_clear.gif (46 bytes) later the brand new Chevrolet Camaro was chosen as the pace car, and it returned 2 years later with Jim dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)Rathmann at the wheel for the 53rd running of the Indy 500.dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)
dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)According to GM records there were a total of 3 Pace Cars and 130 Pace Car Replicas built for the 1969 Indy 500.dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)

500 Festival Committe Cars

  • 43 Pace Car Replicas,dot_clear.gif (46 bytes) all 350 automatics. These cars were used to ride Festival Queens and other dignitaries around the dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)track and nobody wanted a Queen to get tossed out of the car because someone without much dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)manual transmission skill popped the clutch.dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)

Speedway Vehicles

  • dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)2 Engineering prepared Pace Cars for the actual pacing dutydot_clear.gif (46 bytes)
  • dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)1 Pace Car with air conditioning and dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)power top, with show quality finish to be presented dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)to the winner of the 500 Mile Race. They specifieddot_clear.gif (46 bytes) the AC and power top because A.J. Foytdot_clear.gif (46 bytes) had turned down his car in '67 because itdot_clear.gif (46 bytes) didn't have these optionsdot_clear.gif (46 bytes)dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)
  • dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)7 Pace car Replicasdot_clear.gif (46 bytes)

Courtesy Cars

  • dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)5 Pace Car Replicas for USAC officialsdot_clear.gif (46 bytes)dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)
  • dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)75 Pace Car Replicas for VIP's and the pressdot_clear.gif (46 bytes)

dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)Camaros used by the Festival Commitee also had this decal. dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)They were gold and black with a clear center open section that showed dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)the color of the car. This decal was used in both 1967 and 1969. dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)The Festival cars were all 350 automatics and were used in the parades dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)and to carry the Queen and Queen candidates around the track on Saturday.dot_clear.gif (46 bytes) At the Queen Coronation Banquet the queen received the keys to car #33 dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)(or #34, depending on the source) as part of her winnings, dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)including a matched set of luggage. dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)
dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)In addition, Chevrolet created Regular Production Option dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)Z11 which allowed customers to order their own Pace Car replicas. dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)Unlike 1967, when they built 100 extra cars with different option dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)combinations and shipped them to various dealers, you could now order your Pace Car exactly the dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)way you wanted it. dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)Chevrolet announced the availabilty to their dealers through Product Change Bulletin No. 13,dot_clear.gif (46 bytes) dated February 4, 1969.dot_clear.gif (46 bytes) There were 3,675 produced in 1969. Although '69 Z11's are fairly easy to find, dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)almost all are 350 small blocks,dot_clear.gif (46 bytes) with only 34 or fewer 396 big blocks ordered. If you do find a big block dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)Pace Car the odds are good that it's one that went around the track! dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)

Special promotional models. The one with the trailer is extremely rare.

dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)The Z10 coupe was a limited production Southwestern Regional promotional cadot_clear.gif (46 bytes)r offered to a small number of dealerships in the Southwestern Branch Zone Office during the Indy season.dot_clear.gif (46 bytes) They were available in Texas, Wisconsin, Oklahoma, Arizona, and possibly other states.dot_clear.gif (46 bytes) The exact number built is not known, but it is believed to be between 200 and 300 at Norwood.dot_clear.gif (46 bytes) They appear to have been built between 04C and 05A.dot_clear.gif (46 bytes) Curiously, a lot of Z10's built in the fifth dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)week of April show 04L on the cowl tag instead of 04E. There is at least one Z11 with the same code.dot_clear.gif (46 bytes) There could be several reasons for this but the most likely explanation is that the stamping machine dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)was broken for a week and wouldn't stamp a "D". dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)Some 1970 Z/28s have a similar discrepancy, showing .28 instead of Z28, probably dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)because the die was broken that week. dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)

The Z10 and the Z11.

dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)The two actual Pace Cars were both specially prepared by Chevrolet'sdot_clear.gif (46 bytes) Engineering Division before the race. They were factory blueprinted 396-375HP L89 aluminum dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)head engines, although the heads were replaced with cast iron heads for reliability. dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)This means that the cars were actually detuned to the 325HP version. The engines were disassembled,dot_clear.gif (46 bytes) visually inspected, Zygloed or magnafluxed, and reassembled. The Turbo 400 transmissions got similar dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)treatment. dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)The cars received a 3.31 rear end and a special COPO torque converter. dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)All the F41 suspensiondot_clear.gif (46 bytes) pieces were magnafluxed, shotpeened, and heat treated. The drive shaft was balanced, and a dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)heavy-duty battery (RPO T60) and alternator (RPO K85). A heavy-duty air conditioning radiator (RPO V01) dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)and temperature controlled fan clutch was used, although the cars did not have air conditioning. dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)
dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)Other modifications included grab handles above the rear seat arm rests and dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)in place of the passenger sun visor, and flag pole brackets mounted at the rear bumper. dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)To accomodate dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)the brackets the exhaust system used 1968 exhaust tips instead of '69 tips. dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)The convertible top boot dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)received special fasteners to make sure it stayed in place at 130 mph. The cars also received factorydot_clear.gif (46 bytes) hood locks and a two-way radio. Four wheel disc brakes (RPO JL8) were installed after thedot_clear.gif (46 bytes) cars were delivered to the Indianapolis Chevrolet plant. dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)
dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)Luckily, both these cars survived. Car #1 is owned by Gary Nicol, and car #2dot_clear.gif (46 bytes) is owned by Mark Levi. The third car with the show finish was presented to Mario Andretti after his victory.dot_clear.gif (46 bytes) Mario gave the car to his brother Aldo who drove it until 1975. The car then disappeared, dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)but it is rumored to be in New Zealand.dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)
dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)According to the US Camaro Club, Classic dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)Industries' tech specialist Bob Brennen dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)had a conversationdot_clear.gif (46 bytes) a long time ago with a customer who dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)wanted to replace adot_clear.gif (46 bytes) console lid on a '69 Pace Car dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)that was being shipped todot_clear.gif (46 bytes) New Zealand. It seems the olddot_clear.gif (46 bytes) console lid had a big ugly metaldot_clear.gif (46 bytes) plaque with Mario Andretti's name ondot_clear.gif (46 bytes) it and something aboutdot_clear.gif (46 bytes) Chevrolet Motor Division giving it to him. dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)Bob says he saw dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)the plaque and it looked legit, dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)but he didn't see the car or get the VIN. dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)The original plaque looked like this.dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)

dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)Most of the Pace Car replicas were built in Norwood and dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)carried the Z11 identification on the cowl tag. The ones built at Los Angeles did not use the Z or X codes.dot_clear.gif (46 bytes) There is a lot we still don't know about Los Angeles tags, but thedot_clear.gif (46 bytes) documented LA cars have a P251 code. dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)
dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)Here are the relevant details to look for on your Pace Car.dot_clear.gif (46 bytes) If you do not know how to decode your cowl tag you may want to visit the Parts section before proceeding. dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)
dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)1969 Pace Cars are easier to verify than '67s, even though the cowl tag doesn't dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)provide nearly the amount of information that the '67s do. The reason is because of the Z codes. dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)If the tag says Z11 or Z10, it's a Pace Car. Los Angeles cars didn't use the Z codes,dot_clear.gif (46 bytes) but the only '69 dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)Camaros built in Los Angeles with the 720 Code Orange houndstooth interior, 50 Code Dover White paint,dot_clear.gif (46 bytes) and White Convertible top were Pace Car Replicas.dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)
dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)At a minimum, all '69 Pace Car Replicas should have the following: dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)

  • Body Style 12467 or 12437dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)
  • Z11 or Z10 Code (Norwood Cars)dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)
  • Dover White Paint Code (50)dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)
  • White Convertible Top Code (A)dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)
  • Interior Trim Orange houndstooth (720)dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)
  • A build date between 02D and 05Adot_clear.gif (46 bytes)
  • SS Equipmentdot_clear.gif (46 bytes)
  • RS Equipmentdot_clear.gif (46 bytes)
  • Style Trim Groupdot_clear.gif (46 bytes)
  • Handpainted Hugger Orange RS stripes over the wheel openingsdot_clear.gif (46 bytes)
  • Hugger Orange stripes (Z/28 Style)dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)
  • Special Ducted Hooddot_clear.gif (46 bytes)
  • Rocker panels painted white instead of blackdot_clear.gif (46 bytes)
  • The rear panel remained white on 396 cars instead of black dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)

dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)Not all Pace Car Replicas had the door decals installed.dot_clear.gif (46 bytes) dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)They were part of the package, but were shipped dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)to the dealer in dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)the trunk, and only installed at the customers request. dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)The absence of the Pace Car lettering does not mean it isn't an dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)authentic car. Of course, the engine should be correct and the dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)numbers should match the car. As with the '67 Pace Cars, theredot_clear.gif (46 bytes) could be thousands of individual option combinations otherdot_clear.gif (46 bytes) than the major ones listed. Figures from the United States Camarodot_clear.gif (46 bytes) Club Registry show some of the following:dot_clear.gif (46 bytes) dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)

  • Power Windows: 1dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)
  • Power Top: 10dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)
  • Air Conditioning: 2dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)
  • L48 350-300HP: 15dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)
  • L35 396-325HP: 2dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)
  • L34 396-350HP: 1dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)
  • L78 396:375HP: 1dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)
  • L89 396-375HP: 2 dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)These two cars were the actual Pace Cars, and both had cast iron heads installed on the L89 engines at the factory.dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)
  • Turbo 400: 14dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)
  • Turbo 350: 3dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)
  • M20 Transmission: 7dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)
  • M21 Transmission: 2dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)
  • M22 Transmission: 0dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)
  • Tilt Wheel: 6dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)
  • Factory Guages: 14dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)
  • Endura Bumper: 5dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)
  • Four Wheel Disc Brakes: 2 These were the actual Pace Cars.dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)

dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)At the time this data was current, dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)the USCC Registry had only 132 Pace Cars registered out of over 6000 built, so this is by no means a complete list but it does dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)show a representative sampling of the options. dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)If you own or discover one of these classic Pace Cars dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)pleasedot_clear.gif (46 bytes) register it with the U.S. Camaro Club. dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)You can get more information about the USCC and similar clubs on the Links Page. dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)