1998 Indianapolis Pace Car Convertibles

The 1997 model year remains the single most radically changed Corvette in history. Even with the transition from the C1 to the C2 in 1963 and the C3 to the C4 in 1984, the same engines were carried over from previous years. But with the introduction of the C5, everything was new—frame, body, engine, and transmissions, which were now transaxles.

So the C5 had the greatest possibility to become a major disaster if the build quality was not up to snuff. For the most part, the team at Bowling Green did a good job on quality control. However, the early C5s still have their Achilles heels. To give us some perspective, we’ll look at two 1998 Indianapolis Pace Car-edition C5 rag tops—a used and abused fright pig and a low-mile cream puff.

1998 Indianapolis Pace Car Convertible

Chassis number: 1G1YY32G3W5

Highly scuffed and polish-scratched paint job on most surfaces. There are also several paint cracks on both fascias from light collision impacts. The door-to-body seals are starting to curl over and get loose. The door glass doesn’t seal well to the top weatherstrip, as it contacts the top fabric on the upper rear corner of the window on the passenger’s side. While it seems to run out fine, there were tire pressure monitor alarms on all four corners. Moderately cleaned-up engine bay, untouched undercarriage. The right side stock exhaust outlets are bent inboard about five degrees. Some heavy wear to the top is apparent, but it’s still waterproof. Body panel gaps are nothing to brag about. No front license plate frame or cover plate. Dealer-applied plastic carpet protectors can’t cover the fact that the interior has a great deal of wear for a 51,000-mile car.

The 1998 Pace Car has to be the most garish Corvette ever, especially with those hideous yellow alloys. This was also something of a local fright pig, having been at several Mecum Kansas City auctions, plus a few others. Bought by an out-of-town dealer, who snapped up a couple of newer Corvettes as well. This car was declared sold for $22,838 at the Mecum auction in Kansas City, Missouri, on December 1, 2007.

1998 Indianapolis Pace Car Convertible

Chassis number: 1G1YY32G3W5117387

An 18,191-mile car, all-original except for fuel rail covers painted body color, taillight O-ring seals, Interstate battery, and sound deadener pads between the seats and the top compartment. Apart from the IPC package, there are no other options on the car. Like-new paint and decals. There is some light fogging of the front turn signal lenses. The original Goodyear EMT tires are right down to the wear bars. Very clean engine bay, and you can tell it’s always been that way. Also, there are no GM Campaign (recall) stickers in the driver’s side wheelwell top, or actually anywhere in the engine bay. Clean undercarriage shows minimal use. The yellow leather shows only light soiling and wrinkling, along with the floor mats. Overall, well-preserved.

The fact that there’s no obvious proof it hasn’t been updated with any of the recalls from this era would be the only thing that would make me a bit leery. If it was truly going to be a future Bloomington Gold Survivor, the owner shouldn’t have put so many miles on it, or should have at least taken off the run-flats and used aftermarket wheels and rubber. The consignor wanted $34,000, which isn’t far out of line, but both he and the final bidder couldn’t meet in the middle. This car did not sell for $30,000 at Kruse’s Fall Auburn Auction in Auburn, Indiana, on August 30, 2008.