This 1965 Indy 500 Pace Car is an Unexpected eBay Find
If you count off the Indy 500 pace cars since the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing” began in 1911, you’ll tally up 13 Corvettes and nine Camaros. That’s quite a lot of performance Chevys, and that doesn’t even include the lone SSR, Monte Carlo, Beretta, Bel Air, and Fleetmaster that paced the race as well. Count up the total number of Plymouths however and, well… you’ll be left with one. The 1965 Plymouth Sport Fury. The big 426ci V8-powered Plymouth glided around the track ahead of the race cars, driven by Chrysler-Plymouth general manager P.M. Buckminster, and it would have looked something like this. Of course, this isn’t that car. Instead, it’s part of the long tradition of pace car special editions and one of either 1,500 or 1,900 (sources disagree) built for Chrysler-Plymouth dealers in the US. Five decades later, these cars are a bit slim on the ground, nevertheless this one recently popped up for sale on eBay. RELATED: Is this 1964 Ford Mustang Pace Car Worth the Huge Price?
Colloquially, these Plymouth Sport Fury convertibles are referred to as pace car “replicas.” They came equipped with Plymouth’s optional 383ci V8s, three-speed TorqueFlite automatic transmissions, a blue interior with bucket seats, rear fender skirts, and the unmistakeable side script proudly proclaiming it to be a pace car of the "FORTY-NINTH ANNUAL INDIANAPOLIS 500 MILE RACE - MAY 31, 1965.” Discretion was not a factor in buying one of these cars.
Interestingly, there were also 35 “genuine” 1965 Indy 500 Plymouth Sport Fury pace cars, which were built specifically to be dealership display items. Weirdly enough, you can tell those cars apart from a “replica” (for the most part) depending on the location of the lettering. The 35 pace cars featured lettering on the top of the rear quarter panel, while the replicas featured the script down the middle.
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That said, it’s not a foolproof formula. This car isn’t one of those original 35 cars; it’s claimed to be a restored replica that just so happens to have been refinished in the style of the former 35 cars rather than the latter replicas. A few other non-original details would appear to be a new Magnaflow exhaust and aftermarket wheels in place of the authentic (and hub-capped) rolling stock.
Still, the price for one of these Indy 500 replicas? Just shy of $25,000. Care for something a bit newer? There is also a 2017 Chevrolet Camaro 50th Anniversary Edition, which resembles this year’s pace car (minus the Abalone White paint).
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Via Car and Driver