View Full Version : 94 Pace Car info needed

04-19-2018, 10:52 PM
I am working to create databases for the various Indy 500 Pace Cars, Festival Cars, and Replicas for each year. I currently have most 2000-2017 years complete, just finished the Allante that paced the 1992 race, and am now working on the 94 Cobra Pace Car.

There are actually three types of cars: The Pace Cars were the actual cars at the track that either paced the race or were back up cars for the race. They were usually specially prepared cars and were equipped with extra safety equipment, light bars, etc. Engine and trans and brake mods were also common. Often there were three cars, with one going to the Indy Speedway Museum, for awhile in the late 80s early 90s one went to PPG and was "recycled" as a Pace Car for other races and was often repainted, new wheels, and even body mods. The third often went back to the manufacturer for their own collection. Some of these have been sold at auctions. The winner of the race did not receive an actual Pace Car.

The Festival Cars were provided for the track for local celebrities and track officials to use the month and week prior to the race. They often resembled the actual Pace Cars and are sent to the track in April to be prepped, photographed, and assigned drivers. Usually these are the same cars that would be sold at the dealers, which are known as "Replicas". Around 100 cars are supplied to the track to be Festival Cars, while any number could be made by the manufacturer to be Replicas. Sometimes the Replicas have a special paint code, interior, engine code etc. It may be part of the VIN, or a production code. Sometimes, such as the Allante that paced the 92 race, there is no distinction the car was a Replica. There are also cases where the actual Pace Car may be different than the Replicas, such as a 'Vette or Viper Pace Car and a Camaro or Stealth Replica.

When a car was used as a Festival Car it was assigned a driver to drive around the city as part of a way to promote the upcoming race. It was then used in the Festival Parade to carry the 33 drivers and their families. Sometimes in the early 90s each car was assigned a number, placed in the lower left windshield and behind the license plate. An actual Indiana license plate commemorating the 500 race was issued the car with the specific number.

For 1994, Ford was selected to provide the Pace Car. Five cars were sent to Jack Roush to be prepared or the race. As an automatic trans was required Mustang GTs were sent, all Rio Red with Saddle interiors and tops. Three were to be the actual Pace Cars and had upgraded brakes, trans, Cobra mods to the engine, plus the lightbar, strobes, etc. Cobra wheels and front bumper were also added. Two were to be used for display and touring duties and just got the front bumper and wheels, and strobe light-like bar. The three actual Pace cars were built November 3, 8, 10, 1993. The other two were built November 3, 8, 1993. They were shipped to Roush November 16. At the end of the race they were all retained by Ford. The three Pace Cars were titled on January 9, 1998 in Dearborn, MI while the other two were first titled in Allen Park, MI on June 6, 2001. The actual Pace Car driven by Parnelli Jones is currently for sale by Bob Perkins.

The five speed manual trans was a problem for the Festival Cars as many of the assigned drivers could not drive a stick. As a result, 103 Rio Red Mustang GT convertibles with a V8 and automatic were sent to Indy, for a total of 108 Mustang GTs. They were all exactly the same except one had 16" wheels instead of 17". (Don't know why). It was rumored they received the Cobra front bumper, but this is not fact as shown in the many pictures of Festival Week. They also did not have Cobra wheels. The VIN would contain "45T", though not exclusive to the Festival cars. They were built in batches as follows: Eight January 28-31, 1994. Ten February 4, 1994. Eleven February 5, 1994. Eleven February 7, 1994. Ten February 8, 1994. Fourteen February 9. 1994. One February 17, 1994. Eleven March 15-16, 1994. Twenty seven March 21-24, 1994.

1000 identical Replicas were made and sold to the public through the various Ford dealerships. These were all Rio Red with Saddle leather interior/Saddle top Cobra Convertibles, with the VIN identifier "45D". All were manual shift transmissions. The only way to get a Cobra Convertible for 1994 was a Pace Car Replica. The cars were to have a numbered plaque stating it was "# of 1000" and had some other authenticity paperwork as well. The sequence was not in the sequence of the cars VIN, but close as to the days they were built. Many of the owners did not get these plaques, and never even knew they were available. Also, early ads for the cars in various newspapers make no mention of the cars numbers, so I am not aware the exact time the plaques were sent out. The Pace Car decals are also slightly different on the Replicas. The "Flying Tire" on the Pace Cars and Festival Cars was white, while it was grey on the Replicas. Roger Penske has a Replica in his collection as his team won the race (I have the VIN but do not know the number). Al Unser also owns a Replica as he was the winner of the race (I have the VIN. He does not have a number plaque).

I have an almost complete list of build data on the cars. I have info on 965 out of the 1000 Replicas. 763 were between VINs 158000-158999. Build dates March 5 to April 14. 37 between 160000-160999. Build dates April 6 to April 14. 136 between 161000-161999. Build dates April 6 to April 22. 16 between 162000-162999. Build dates April 10 to April 15. 2 at 166xxx. 8 at 188xxx. 4 at 190xxx. I believe the missing VINs are above 162xxx, but there may be some below 158xxx. As you can see the cars were not sequential.

I have all of the 108 Festival Cars. They were delivered to Indiana through the Cincinnati Zone Office.

I need help with the following:

1) I'd love to find the remaining 35 Cobra VINs. Just the last 6 digits is all I would need as I can find the rest. I only have about 150 of the build numbers from the plaques given to the owners. If anyone has a list of car numbers matched to VINs it would be helpful. Or if you can send me info on any car you may know about.

2) I've found references of an "SVT Registry" on line, but the links are dead. Does anyone have access to this?

3) Does anyone know if the Indy Speedway Museum has one in their collection? They may have an actual Pace Car on loan from Ford, or maybe a Festival/ Replica.

4) Hertz had some rental cars in it's fleet, Rio Red with Saddle cloth interior and top, V6 automatic. Perhaps six or so. Anyone know anything about these?

This info will be shared. I currently have completed most of the years from 2000-2017 and a number of years prior to that. Here is a sample of a page I set up for the Cadillac Allante Pace Car from the 1992 race:


Thank you for any help you can provide.

Thomas M. Benvie
5 Sachem Rock Ave
East Bridgewater, MA 02333
(508) 378-1423