In the mid-'70s, emissions regulations caused engineers at General Motors and elsewhere to spin their wheels (without horsepower) trying to make old-technology engines burn clean. They did it by robbing vast amounts of performance. To keep selling cars, they had to offer something new to the public. It wasn't ponies, it was styling.
1978 was the 25th anniversary of the Corvette, and all 1978 Corvettes received 25th anniversary badges. The car had a new "fastback" rear window that provided better rear vision and more storage behind the seats. A 350 ci V8 was standard, and the base version produced 185 horsepower.
In 1978, the Corvette was also the official Pace Car of the Indianapolis 500. A sleek two-tone version paced the race at Indy for the first time and all 6,502 Chevy dealers were promised one replica. With a list price of $13,653, Pace Car replicas often sold for more than $20,000. (The base 1978 Corvette sport coupe was $9,351 and a total of 40,274 were built in '78.) Some "investors" paid $25,000 for a Pace Car, stored it away and are still dusting it weekly twenty-two years later.

Pace Cars over the last five years have brought as little as $8,000 for high-mileage beaters and as much as $30,000 for a low-miles, four-speed example with the optional 220-horsepower L82 engine. (That was the most powerful Corvette engine offered in 1978.)
Don't confuse the Limited Edition Pace Car replica with Corvette's optional two-tone Silver Anniversary paint scheme, which came with dual sport mirrors and aluminum wheels for an extra $399. About 15,000 Corvettes were delivered this way in 1978.
There are a few specific details to look for when examining a true 1978 Pace Car replica. First, it must have a 9 in the sixth digit from the end of the VIN. All Pace car replicas are numbered from 900001 through 906502.
Pace Cars had the following equipment: 1) Goodyear raised white-letter P255/60R15 radial tires on polished alloys with a bright red accent stripe near the rim of the wheel; 2) front and rear spoilers; 3) glass mirrored T-tops; 4) silver leather with matching carpet and door panels, with optional cloth inserts in the leather at no extra charge.
Possible problems on the 1978 Corvette Pace Car: rear-end components are susceptible to wear and can be costly; engine oil leaks are common; poor paint quality is to be expected. Replacing parts can be cheap or expensive, depending on the availability of NOS items, and whether you're willing to settle for an aftermarket imitation or have to have the real thing.
The Pace Car Replica is both collectible and affordable, a rare combination. Among the models from these relatively low-performance years, the Pace Car has shown significant appreciation, and is likely to continue doing so in the future.
When you start your Corvette search, be sure to make use of the many books and web sites that are out there to help you. And when you become a Corvette owner, a surprise bonus is the literally hundreds of Corvette activities there are, all over the world, that you can take part in.

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