Home » You Can Buy The Most Eye-Searing Corvette Special Edition Ever Made

You Can Buy The Most Eye-Searing Corvette Special Edition Ever Made

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We remember some cars more than others over the years. It’s easier for models with particularly gorgeous styling, or a great engine, or the ones that did things differently. A good special edition model will sear those images deeper into our minds, and a garish one even more so.  This Corvette sits firmly in the latter category.

Up for sale at Hagerty with just 70 miles on the clock, is possibly the most eye-catching Corvette you could buy straight from the factory. It’s a 1998 Chevrolet Corvette Pace Car, a replica of the one that served with pride at the 1998 Indy 500. Since 1978, it’s been a proud tradition for Chevrolet, with the Corvette having served in this role a total of 19 times. It’s often been used as a sales tool over the years, by letting eager customers buy a car wearing the same stickers they saw on TV on the weekend. No lie, it sounds kind of fun, rocking up to the dealership to pick up a Pace Car of your very own.

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Indeed, the 1998 model is one of the standouts in the lineage by virtue of its polarizing looks. It wears a bold Radar Blue color, which is also referred to more realistically as “Pace Car Purple Metallic” in some documentation. This is contrasted with the eye-searing yellow decals, yellow wheels, and yellow “CORVETTE” windscreen banner. Oh, and don’t forget the yellow and black leather interior.

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It’s such a complete sticker pack that it’s kind of hard to imagine driving this around every day. It would literally look to civilians like you’d stolen the Corvette pace car from the Indy paddock. “We told the designers we wanted something that would grab people immediately, and they didn’t disappoint us,” said Chevrolet General Manager John Middlebrook when speaking on the car. A brief was issued and duly met, it seems.

Outside of the sticker pack, it’s pretty much a regular C5 Corvette; that is to say, it’s a rad, All-American sports car. You get an LS1 V8 under the hood good for 350 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque. This one was optioned with the six-speed manual, too, so there’s all the pleasure of three pedals to be had.

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Interestingly, these were also apparently the first Corvettes to get the Active Handling system. It’s basically electronic stability control, using accelerometers and other vehicle inputs to keep the car pointing where the driver wants it to go.  Motor Trend called it “Fangio on a Chip” during a 1998 review, which may have been over-egging it a little. With that said, though, the technology was pretty rad for the era.

These aren’t so rare that you’ll never see one again. Indeed, Ellingson Classic Cars in Minnesota was selling an auto-equipped model just this past November. In total, Chevrolet built 1,163 of these pace car replica models, with just 547 of them optioned with the six-speed manual transmission.

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Sadly, the one main problem with this example is that it simply hasn’t been driven or enjoyed. The car was first sold to an Ohio owner, who kept it for just over a decade, before selling to another local. In 2014 it then travelled to live with a new owner in Louisiana. In all that time, it racked up just 70 miles. The usual dealer pre-delivery jobs weren’t done, so there’s still plastic coverings all over the interior. Hilariously, despite all this care, there’s apparently some slight imperfections on the driver’s side of the hood stripe. The seller does note, however, that the car has regularly been started to keep everything in working order.

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Really, though, it’s a shame. Nobody has ever wriggled their butt in and properly nestled into those bright yellow seats. Nobody ever put the boot into the throttle to wring this thing out on the highway for a nice long drive in the sun. It’s like carving a particularly outrageous purple version of Michelangelo’s David and then leaving it under a dust cover for two decades.

Someone needs to buy this thing and enjoy it. Bidding currently stands at $23,000 with five days remaining. One suspects even with some big jumps, the final price won’t justify not driving this car for 26 years. Someone needs to buy this thing and let that V8 sing the song it was born to sing. Top down, revs up, point it at the horizon. Go.

Image credits: Hagerty

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Jac Camara
Jac Camara
2 months ago

I would daily this. Though I would prefer a coupe

SirRaoulDuke
SirRaoulDuke
4 months ago

I wouldn’t own it, but the few times I have seen one in person it made me smile, gotta love something so over the top.

Jj
Jj
4 months ago

This thing is worthless without its original delivery diaper!

Ben
Ben
4 months ago

You get an LS1 V8 under the hood good for 350 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque. This one was optioned with the six-speed manual, too, so there’s all the pleasure of three pedals to be had.

*Laces up white New Balances*

Well akshuwally, a 98 would have had 345 and 345. They didn’t get 350 hp until 01, at which point the manual would have had 375 lb/ft (auto was 360).

Of course, this car is going to perpetually make 0 HP sitting in someone’s garage being wiped down with diapers. Sad.

Pedro
Pedro
4 months ago

Makes me want to spray on extra Axe, adjust my gold medallion, and look for the ladies!!! rrrrrrrrrrr

Andrea Petersen
Andrea Petersen
4 months ago

There is one local to me that I see at events a couple times per year and man, they are so painfully garish, I just can’t. If I owned it I too would probably put no miles on it as I’d be cringing too hard to drive it

Vic Vinegar
Vic Vinegar
4 months ago

I didn’t understand the appeal of these, or any Indy 500 Pace Car edition of anything, in 1998. I certainly wouldn’t pay a premium for a museum version today.

But I don’t hate Corvettes. I’m beyond being concerned with being lumped in with the Air Monarch, 1 of 23 built in January by 2nd shift who had a temporary shift supervisor with a particular good attention to detail crowd.

So maybe if it was a driver and was cheap enough, I could get on board for the novelty of driving around in a purple Corvette with yellow wheels. Get vanity plates that say GR1MIS or something.

Parsko
Parsko
4 months ago

I feel like I have seen this car in person. Possibly at Lime Rock???

V10omous
V10omous
4 months ago

This car looks great, not sure what you all are going on about*

*Note, this statement was made by an enormous MN Vikings fan.

SparkySparkington
SparkySparkington
4 months ago

Need for Speed III: Hot Pursuit, anyone?

Shop-Teacher
Shop-Teacher
4 months ago

High-school me LOVED these. Adult me … not so much.

DialMforMiata
DialMforMiata
4 months ago

This car was always destined to sit in someone’s garage with plastic on the seats (factory plastic, no less!) and an eternal double-digit odometer reading. The “Hot Wheels Energy” banner isn’t necessarily accurate though, as the average Hot Wheels will probably travel further in its life zooming across the living room floor than this thing ever will.

Chronometric
Chronometric
4 months ago

Nothing rankles like a Corvette Pace Car and this is peak Corvette Pace Car. Mostly it is the owners who have somehow been deluded into thinking they have the most special thing in the entire world.

Doctor Nine
Doctor Nine
4 months ago
Reply to  Chronometric

Mostly it is the owners who have somehow been deluded into thinking they have the most special thing in the entire world.”

Yeah, and they think their car is pretty special too… Hosers…

Mark Tucker
Mark Tucker
4 months ago

If you’ll excuse me, I’m off to open the few Hot Wheels I have still in the packaging…

Shop-Teacher
Shop-Teacher
4 months ago
Reply to  Mark Tucker

I actually opened a bunch yesterday! It feels so good!

My Goat Ate My Homework
My Goat Ate My Homework
4 months ago

Whew, thank jebus it still has the factory plastic seat bags. I was afraid this thing was actually driven.

Nsane In The MembraNe
Nsane In The MembraNe
4 months ago

I’m surprised it doesn’t still have the delivery diaper on. After all, Corvette owners are very familiar with diapers.

…I kid! Mostly.

Nsane In The MembraNe
Nsane In The MembraNe
4 months ago

I actually like it, specifically because it looks like a Hot Wheels car I would’ve had as a kiddo. I’ve also really come to appreciate the C5 in general. It’s a good example of the sort of stuff Toecutter is perpetually banging the table for. The low drag coefficient makes these things shockingly fuel efficient. People routinely get highway mileage in the 30s. And of course, praise be to the LS.

That being said, fuck the fact that this only has 70 miles on it. I hate the MR CORVETTE BEST CORVETTE/winga dinga BS that leaves so many of them mothballed. Guess what? Corvettes aren’t that special, and they aren’t supposed to be. They make tens of thousands of them and they’re meant to be an accessible sports car for the masses.

At the end of the day this is just a C5 with low miles, a weird color interior, and some stickers. If someone wants to drop $30,000+ on it that’s their prerogative, but IMHO C5s are best when they’re enjoyed. You can find decent enough manual examples in the high teens all day. Go get one of those, take it directly to your local track attack day, and have a blast.

My Goat Ate My Homework
My Goat Ate My Homework
4 months ago

I would love to have a C5 done up like a hot wheels car. That would be fun. But rather than buy this from an insufferable “collector” of “rare, limited edition only 650 made in this specific color/option combination of base model corvette” I would just wrap and plasti-dip a drivers version for easily half the cost. You can have someone reupholster the seats for maybe $400 if you want to go all-in (which really completes the look on a convertible like this).

Michael Fortenbery
Michael Fortenbery
4 months ago

There is a Hot Wheels C5 available, not the pace car. It’s just a regular C5.

Nsane In The MembraNe
Nsane In The MembraNe
4 months ago

There are Hot Wheels 6th Gen Camaros out there too that come in a ridiculous molten orange color. They’re cool as hell.

Jack Trade
Jack Trade
4 months ago

Not to be unnecessarily stereotypical, but the C5 is peak baby boomer. It came along when that generation was flush with cash and not a lot of required things to spend it on, and since the Vette was an icon of their youth, they figured this is thing is gold, Jerry, GOLD!

So they’re paid off, washed/started more than driven, and come with a hearty I know what I’ve got attitude. Which is why that model has a super high ask-offer price spread. Too bad, as they’re cool for what they are, and manual+popups does it for me any day.

Nsane In The MembraNe
Nsane In The MembraNe
4 months ago
Reply to  Jack Trade

Oh I agree. I try not to throw the OK BOOMER trope around too often because it’s overplayed and there are some rad Boomers who comment on this very site. But you are indeed correct, all Corvettes have a serious Boomer following and the C5 is kind of where it peaked.

The automatic take rate on C5s is downright criminal too. I don’t know the exact numbers but by the seat of my pants I’d say probably 2/3rds are automatics based on my experience. As you’re well aware I’m not one of those insufferable manual diehards and I daily an auto/will continue to do so as long as I live in DC but in a car like this that’s unapologetically impractical and dedicated solely to driving joy rowing your own is a must.

Especially considering this was back when GM was just putting truck transmissions in these as the auto option. It’s a slusher to the core…but unfortunately the manuals tend to be in the hands of the I KNOW WHAT I GOT crowd unless you can find one at a dealership.

Jack Trade
Jack Trade
4 months ago

Oh I’m absolutely convinced my generation (X) will soon be ranting “but it’s a gas engine…they don’t make these anymore. DON’T YOU GET IT?!” to which the younger generations will eye-rollingly reply “ok gramps…not interested in antiques….”

The boomers get a bad rap for being the first generation for which the internet enabled this type of thing.

But that said, those Vettes are like keeping Star Wars figures in their packages now (or even back in the ’00s)…they’re not going to be worth what you’re thinking, if only b/c everyone else isn’t opening them either.

My Goat Ate My Homework
My Goat Ate My Homework
4 months ago
Reply to  Jack Trade

There is a glut of 5-7k miles C5 automatics. Usually some variation of a (rare only 590 made with this exterior color and interior color plus this certain option package with heated seats and the optional floor mats for this year). If you can buy one out of a estate or from a widow you can pay market rate for it, take that plastic seat cover off and drive it.

Jack Trade
Jack Trade
4 months ago

I have to imagine there’s a ton of ’em sitting in the backs of garages, covers over them, that any number of widows will be glad to get rid of in the coming years.

Nsane In The MembraNe
Nsane In The MembraNe
4 months ago

Yeah but then you’d be stuck with an automatic C5. What good is The Lord’s Engine if it’s paired to a 4 speed slushbox?

My Goat Ate My Homework
My Goat Ate My Homework
4 months ago

Yes, most all are automatic. (sadface)

Squirrelmaster
Squirrelmaster
4 months ago

Back when these were new and before Cars & Coffee was really a thing, I was at a local car get-together at the Waffle House next to I-10 and Hwy-6 in Houston and one of these rolled in. Not only did it have paper plates, but the owner was the stereotypical retired accountant in white New Balance shoes. While I love the C5, those yellow wheels and the stickers against the purple is horrendous. Loads of people went up to the owner to ask how much of a discount they gave him to take the pace car edition over a normal C5, enough that he got pissed off, jumped in his car, and then fried the still-new clutch trying to do an angry burnout as he left. Good times.

Nsane In The MembraNe
Nsane In The MembraNe
4 months ago
Reply to  Squirrelmaster

Corvettes=objectively great cars

Corvette owners=c r i n g e

Squirrelmaster
Squirrelmaster
4 months ago

That is the truth. I was doing my weekly perusal of local car listings and saw someone selling an ’86 C4 automatic. The car was in rough shape, most particularly the interior where the glass targa panel had allowed the sun to absolutely destroy every surface inside the car. The outside wasn’t nearly as bad, but there was little clear coat left on any horizontal surfaces. Also, it hadn’t run for a decade, and the sitting is apparently when the sun destroyed it.

Of course, the seller went on about how they have owned the car for 30 years, how it won car shows back in its day, and how it was “1 out of XX cars made that year with XX option “, thus justifying their $15k asking price. The only way the car could have been less desirable was if it was a few years older and crossfire injection instead of TPI. The seller was certainly reinforcing the stereotype…

Last edited 4 months ago by Squirrelmaster
Nsane In The MembraNe
Nsane In The MembraNe
4 months ago
Reply to  Squirrelmaster

There are always a few Corvettes when I go to the track and their owners are definitely an odd crowd. The C8 seems to attract new money/tech bro types in my experience, but everything before it seems to very much be a club of sorts.

They more or less just kind of hang out with each other and aren’t too interested in interacting with the rest of us. Most of them have a MY CORVETTE BEST CORVETTE BECAUSE (X) story, as is tradition…and they’re always perplexed when my crossover keeps up with them.

It’s similar at Cars and Coffee. There’s usually a singular gathering of Corvettes. Don’t get me wrong-I respect it and have love for the Corvette as an institution and package, but I’ve always been a little confused as to why they’re more or less treated like supercars among their fans.

They’re not that unique or special, and they’re not supposed to be. They’re supposed to be (comparatively) cheap American performance that sacrifices civility for being able to keep up with more exotic cars.

They deserve to be driven, and driven hard. That’s the point!

Squirrelmaster
Squirrelmaster
4 months ago

A few years ago when I was living on the West Coast, I had a coworker on the East Coast who was a great guy, but seemed very much like the type of guy who would drive a Prius or some other appliance-type of car. I flew into town to visit a client with him, and as I climb out of my rental he climbs out of a C7 Grand Sport Z07. I made sure to look down at his shoes, which were normal dress shoes, and point out that they are the wrong color, wrong brand, and wrong style. It took him a second, but he then glared at me until he couldn’t contain his laughter anymore and then said he at least knew his car wasn’t that special, he doesn’t take it to car shows, and he actually takes his to the track on a regular basis. He then commented that the worst part of owning a Corvette are the other Corvette owners who always try to one-up each other instead of simply enjoying the cars as a community.

Jj
Jj
4 months ago

Local ‘Vette owners have their own cruise night on Tuesday. Every other car goes to the Wednesday event.

I’m not sure when or why they split off, since both events are quite boomer-ific. The ‘Vettes seem to be draped in extra chrome, the Wednesday event is full of hot rods and muscle cars.

I have to wonder what will happen to all the muscle cars when their owners, well, no longer have a need for them. The vettes will get snatched up by someone and driven, but I really have no desire to own an old muscle car. They sound great but don’t drive very well. Many are built with malaise-era quality and most will get walked by a modern 4-cylinder.

It will be interesting to watch the muscle-car market for the next decade or so.

Nsane In The MembraNe
Nsane In The MembraNe
4 months ago
Reply to  Jj

That’s a really good question. For what it’s worth I’m in my early 30s and I truly have no interest in classic muscle cars or hot rods either. I get the old school appeal, but they’re miserable to actually live with. I’m not sure if this is the case for you, but I know for me the more modern takes on the pony cars have kind of ruined the classic muscle car archetype to me.

I’ve driven a couple Gen 6 Camaros and they’re legitimately amazing sports cars. The current top dog Mustang is handling focused and has historically good braking…and if you still want the classic muscle car vibe and to go fast in a straight line there are plenty of reasonably nice modern V8 Challengers out there.

Hell you can get a post refresh 5.7 with a clean Carfax in the high 20s at this point and 6.4s in the mid 30s all day. They’re comfy and surprisingly practical. I agree with you, I really don’t know why you’d want to roll around in a rattly malaise era boat that weighs 5,000 pounds, gets single digit fuel economy, makes maybe 2-300 horsepower, and will try to wrap you around a tree when the modern takes do everything better.

I think it’s a time and place thing. If you lived through it then the nostalgia makes them very appealing. But if you didn’t then they’re kind of just expensive and needlessly compromised. I definitely get the appeal of a muscle/pony car but if I wanted one I’d just get a modern one that I won’t hate driving every day.

Last edited 4 months ago by Nsane In The MembraNe
Jj
Jj
4 months ago

I’m quite a bit older, empty-nest aged. I grew up with 3rd gen f-bodies and fox body Mustangs. I remember when you’d be considered some sort of wizard for getting one of those cars into the 12’s. Today, you’re a tune on an Elantra away from those ETs.

Something surprising about the older muscle cars is that they really weren’t very heavy. ’64 Nova SS weighs about 2700 pounds. You could strap a bison to the roof and it would still weigh less than a current pony car.

I am the target market for 80’s nostalgia, but I have no real interest in owning pony cars of that vintage.

Last edited 4 months ago by Jj
Nsane In The MembraNe
Nsane In The MembraNe
4 months ago
Reply to  Jj

Yeah, my Kona N will run in the 13s completely stock. It’s pretty crazy how accessible speed has become.

Michael Beranek
Michael Beranek
4 months ago

The C5 is awesome. This paint/sticker job is not.
Wrap it with something, get some rims, and hope nobody notices the seats.

MATTinMKE
MATTinMKE
4 months ago

It’s not an attractive car, but it deserves to have been driven.

Gilbert Wham
Gilbert Wham
4 months ago
Reply to  MATTinMKE

It’s a hilarious car. Someone ought to drive the shit out of it till it’s good and ratty, and then give it to me, at which point it’s ridiculous colour scheme can be considered Punk as Fuck, not OK Boomer. It’s for the public good, really.

Lizardman in a human suit
Lizardman in a human suit
4 months ago
Reply to  Gilbert Wham

Funny, I was thinking I should buy it and daily drive the $#%÷ out of it. After I do burnouts and ruin those ancient tires. When I look at used corvettes, I tend to respect the people that trade in vettes that have more than 100k miles in less than 10 years. Funny part is, milage doesn’t affect resale on vettes that much. So why worry about it? Buy it, drive the bejebers out of it, love it! Besides, the thought of “ruining” a “special edition” sounds fun. And hell, I’m doing the collectors a favor. One less pristine corvette makes theirs more valuable.

Gilbert Wham
Gilbert Wham
4 months ago

Well, quite. They should be thanking you for your service.

67 Oldsmobile
67 Oldsmobile
4 months ago

I would totally buy this,its the perfect drivers car. It is a shame that nobody has actually driven this before as it probably wouldn’t affect the value all that much.
Regarding the price,its probably a bit on the steep side,but it should last a while.

Angry Bob
Angry Bob
4 months ago
Reply to  67 Oldsmobile

There are so many low mile C5 Corvettes out there that mileage has a drastic effect on sale price. I put 120k miles on mine and almost had to give it away. Which is a shame because it’s basically a lowered Tahoe and will easily go 300k miles with basic maintenance.

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