Depending on your source, proposed production estimates for pace car replicas ranged from 300 to commemorate the '53 Corvette to as high as 1,000 cars, but none of these accounts come near the final figures. As interest and public demand grew, so did GM's production numbers, and Chevrolet ultimately built two different special editions. The Indy Pace Car Corvette turned out to be two-tone black over silver with red accent stripes, and 6,502 were built-offering one to each and every Corvette dealership (plus some extras). The Limited Edition Indy package (RPO Z78) was assigned its own VIN number sequence-another Corvette first-and featured a special silver interior with new high-backed sport seats, unique front and rear spoilers, 15-inch alloy wheels with 255/60-series Goodyear tires, and removable tinted glass T-top roof panels. The full array of '78 options were standard.
The original two-tone Indy Pace Car paint scheme-light silver uppers with dark silver lowers-grew into the RPO B2Z "Silver Anniversary Paint" option. This anniversary package included the same sport mirrors and alloy wheels as the Pace Cars. It was available with red, oyster, or black interiors and whatever option combinations desired. There was no limit to the silver anniversary paint, and 15,283 Vettes rolled out of St. Louis with it.
Corvette certainly made a statement on its silver anniversary. It promised that passion and performance were not entirely forgotten. Despite a slight dip in total production figures from 1977, Chevrolet still built 46,776 Corvettes in 1978-the fourth highest quantity ever, behind 1979, 1984, and 1977 respectively. As we look back now from the sports car's golden anniversary, we know the promise was true.
Editor's Note Our thanks go to Corvette Mike in Anaheim, California, (800-327-VETT) for providing the flawless, all-original 230-mile '78 Pace Car shown here.