1ST PACE CAR REUNION
you weren't there, you should have been! It was the largest
assemblage of Indy Pace Cars the world has ever seen! I lost
track of the exact number in all the different events, but
upwards of (22) '95 Pace Cars were on hand for the Pace Car
Reunion / Celebration at Indianapolis and Bowling Green, held
October 10-14. There were a like number of '78s and even more
'98s, a few '86s, and (2) '90 Festival Corvettes. The Museum
doesn't count cars, just people, and the official head count
was 246! This included a group of some 40 enthusiastic folks
from an east-coast car club, so I estimate that there were
nearly 100 of all years of our cars present during the long
those who missed it, here's a rough account of what went on.
first meeting point was Indy itself, the Indianapolis Motor
Speedway and the mecca of U.S. auto racing since the early
1900s. We gathered at the Brickyard Crossing, a hotel just
a stone's throw from the track itself and directly accessible
were awakened by a steady rain on Thursday, October 11; but
most of us, undaunted, lined up in the Crossing parking lot
for our lap around the track. (As we waited for our turn to
move on the track, I wondered how many cars, besides my #216,
were being driven in the rain for the first time!!) We were
warned that 30mph was max for the lap, and a couple of drivers
('98 hotshots, I believe) were severly chastised for lighting
up their tires along the way. At the end of the lap, photo-op
time, still in the rain, but a gorgeous shot of all 5 Pace/Festival
Car examples, with all of us in the background at the front
entrance to the Museum.
the next morning, still dodging rain clouds, the Caravan staged
for the trip to the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green,
some 230 miles down I-65. Folks ended up in clusters of cars
and cars-in-trailers, and most of us made it to the scheduled
guided tour in the assembly plant in the early afternoon.
and below: Arriving at the NCM and receiving our next instructions.
Where do they find this stuff??
Another photo-op in the NCM parking lot, and Below; Arriving
at the Corvette Assembly Plant for our guided tours..
highlight of the day was the road trip through town and out
to Wendell Strode's (NCM Executive Director) house-cum-farm
for a BBQ dinner. The rain stopped for a while by then, and
we were able to park on the gorgeous lawns of the historic
next day was my favorite; I got to be a "celebrity choice
judge", and my choice was one of Paul Barth's 4 Pace
Cars. Paul was asked to send his all-years' examples up from
St. Louis, and they were displayed beautifully in one of the
Museum's "avenue" alcoves. Spotless they were, pristine
low-mile examples of the very best of our cars. Paul's '86
is a story in itself, rescued back from Canada at a high degree
of difficulty, a car in which once sat Princess Diana on a
voyage from the UK.
above: Paul Barth in the lobby of the NCM.
highlight; The Reunion banquet with an auction that raised
some $ 3,000 for the NCM. (Stu Robbins contributed the shirt
off his back for this event.)
that evening, we finally formally organized all of the "Corvette
Indy Pace Car Registries" under a single umbrella, "The
Chevrolet Corvette Pace Car Registry". Stuart Robbins
will coordinate the '78s, Ralph Christ will be in charge of
the '86s, Richard "Rick" Berry will do the '98s
(Ralph and Rick have all 4 years'), and I will continue with
the '95s. Paul Barth was named interim Treasurer.
Above, the "Founding Fathers" - from left to right:
Ralph Christ, Stuart Robbins (back to camera),
Rick Berry, and Noel Osborn.
all wanted for a long time to get together on this project,
but at over 14,000 total Pace Cars, it's a daunting task for
any one of us. This was the first time there's been the opportunity
to lay the groundwork for a consolidated effort to unite all
Pace Car owners, while still maintaining an individual approach
to owners of each year. This consolidation will also make
it easier for the NCM and other organizations to relate to
us as a unit.
first act as a unit was to pledge the placement of a brick
set to the Musuem commemorating the Pace Car Celebration.
We hope to schedule our Reunions every two years, so watch
for information on our next event during 2003!!
Noel Osborn (95 #216)