Mustang Indy 500 Pace Cars: 1979 Pace Car

Timeline: 1979 Mustang | 1964 Pace Car | 1979 Pace Car | 1994 Pace Car

1979 Pace Car

Ford produced 10,478 pace car replicas for the 1979 model year that were based on the Mustang that paced the Indianapolis 500 for that year. They were based on the standard hatchback model and all used the same styling cues that were on the actual pace cars. Pewter and black paint with orange and red stripes made the car standout in a crowd.

Jack Roush was commissioned to modify the real pace car engines with such items as high-performance cylinder heads and a Boss 302 camshaft and crankshaft. The exterior was slightly different and had a T-roof--an option not available on production cars until 1981.

Among the differences between the pace car replica and the standard Mustang were a raised non-functional cowl induction style hood, a front fascia with three horizontal grill bars and a lower front air dam, front Marchal fog lamps, rear spoiler, TRX handling package with metric wheels and tires, black Recaro front seats with black and white checkered inserts on both front and rear seats, and "black chrome" dash inserts with a dash plaque. The buyer had the option of having the decals installed on the car or just left in a box. The available engine choices were the 5.0L V-8 with 139 horsepower (with either a 4spd or automatic) or the 2.3L turbo with 140 horsepower (4spd only). All of the pace car styling cues were later used on the 1980 Cobra, even the Recaro seats were made an option. All of the pace car replicas were to originally come with a pace car jacket, although most never made it to the customers.

The 1979 Pace Car was infamous for a post card promotion Ford had, where "OFFICAL PACE CAR" was written on the side of the car. For more information on Indianapolis 500 Pace Cars, visit

More Mustang Pace Cars:
1964 Pace Car | 1979 Pace Car | 1994 Pace Car