Car number 3.When Corvette was chosen to pace the Indy 500 in 1995, the C4 platform was nearing the end of its run. The biggest, or at least most visible, change for '95 was in the front fender "gill" air vents. It was still a potent performer, however, and little modification was needed to make Corvette Indy-ready. The three Vettes that were prepared to actually pace the race had their exhausts "opened up," which allowed the 300-horse LT1 to gain a healthy chunk of power and made things a bit louder. The stock springs were modified to create a stiffer ride, and also to lower the car an inch. These three Vettes also received a rollbar, and the necessary strobe lights were incorporated into it.
But as many of you may know, those three actual Pace Cars were not the only Corvettes "working" the race. Eighty-seven Pace Car Replicas were delivered to the race directors, where they were at the disposal of those high enough on the dignitary food chain. After the race, The General reclaimed the cars, which were subsequently delivered to Chevrolet dealers for sale to the public. Which brings us back to Colonel Peterschmidt's Pace Car. The sequence number signifies that it was the fifth Pace Car Replica built, and the Indy Track number identifies this car as the one used by Indianapolis Mayor Steve Goldschmidt during the 79th 500. Of the first four Indy Track cars, three were used by the George family, owners of the Indianpolis facility, and the other by Goldschmidt. The car saw duty in the numerous parades and festivities that were part of the biggest race of the year, and also provided His Honor with one really cool ride.
Although he already had a Pace Car, Frank Fopiano couldn't pass up the opportunity to lay his hands on this piece of Indy-and Corvette-history. And in a gentleman's agreement the like of which we don't see many of these days, Frank said, "I'll take it," Peterschmidt sent it, then Frank sent a check. It didn't take long to sell the "other" Pace Car-in fact, all it took was an announcement at a Las Vegas Corvettes Association meeting, and a deal was made.
Needless to say, Frank is thrilled to have his own little chunk of history. While he gets curious stares and non-committal comments like "nice paint job" from the uninitiated, those in the know appreciate what he has, making ownership of this beauty even sweeter. Another person who appreciates what Frank has is the car's former owner, Colonel Peterschmidt. The Colonel plans to retire to Las Vegas once his tour of duty is up, and sold the Vette to Frank on the condition that Frank let the Colonel come over and wax it. It's a deal Frank readily agreed to, and with two owners who love '95 Pace Car Replicas looking after it, we're sure this one will be looking sharp for a long time to come.