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1986 Corvette Indy 500 Pace Car

1986 Indy 500 Pace Car Corvette

Corvette investigated the possibility of reintroducing a Corvette convertible and an internal group determined it was feasible and would be more cost-effective if it were a Chevrolet-designed and built vehicle rather than an after-market conversion. With that, build plans were put in place for a reintroduction of the convertible for the 1986 model year.

But unlike prior generations when a convertible Corvette cost less than a coupe, the 1986 Corvette convertible cost an additional $5,005. Unlike the C2 and C3 chassis and body structure, the C4 was not originally designed to be a topless car. Coupe to convertible conversions usually have the characteristic cowl shake and sometimes ride more like wiggle wagons where the driver can actually see the dash shake on bumpy twisty roads. The solution for the C4 was to add a large X-brace to stiffen the chassis.

The second piece of big news for 1986 was that a Corvette would pace the Indy 500 for the second time. Retired General Chuck Yeager was enjoying celebrity status as a result of the book and movie, “The Right Stuff.” But Chevrolet was still smarting from the heavy criticism over the ‘78 Corvette Pace Car debacle and seemed to go in the opposite direction. Rather than producing a set number of pace car replicas, all 1986 Corvette convertibles were designated as a “Pace Car Replica” and came with dealer or customer applied decals for the doors.

Although the Indy Pace Car was painted yellow, convertibles could be ordered in other colors as well. And for 1986, 7,315 of the newly reintroduced convertibles were ordered, nearly 21 % of total Corvette production. All convertibles included the Official Indianapolis 500 graphics in their cars and could be installed by the owners if they liked.

All convertibles were considered “pace cars” regardless of the color of the car. The actual Indy 500 Pace Cars were all yellow and 732 yellow convertibles were sold for the year. No special embroidery, wheel centers, stripes, spoilers… just a set of decals. Consequently, of the six Corvette pace car replicas offered from ‘78 to ‘08, the ‘86 model is the least valuable. Most of the ‘86 Corvette convertible “Pace Cars” never had their decals applied.

Corvette convertibles of various colors were sent to the Speedway that year to perform duties of Official Event vehicles. The convertible and coupe carried different VIN number ranges, so the last six digits of the VIN also identity the build sequence of the car in the convertible range (900001-907315).

Corvette exterior colors were

  • Silver Metalic
  • Medium Gray Metallic
  • Medium Blue Metalic
  • Yellow
  • White
  • Black
  • Gold Metallic
  • Silver Beige Metallic
  • Copper Metallic (only 4 total cars built)
  • Medium Brown Metallic
  • Dark Red Metalic
  • Bright Red.

Two-tone combinations were:

  • Siver and Gray
  • Gray and Black
  • White and Silver
  • Silver Beige and Medium Brown
  • Silver Beige and Black

Several of the graphic pieces that came with the cars also varied in color, primarily to accent the body color of the car.

Color choices were:

  • Gold (with black *70th Indianapolis 500°)
  • Gold (with gold “70th Indianapolis 500%)
  • Gold/Gold (for black cars only)
  • Silver

Interior trims came in Blue; Black; Bronze; Graphite; Medium Gray; Red; Saddle; and White.