Chevy Enthusiast via Hooniverse: The 1990 Chevy Beretta Convertible Indy Pace Car

Barrett Jackson Auction in 2009 with Chevy's Beretta Pace Car waiting to be sold.
This week, I decided to introduce you to my columns in Chevy Enthusiast Magazine, titled Weird and Wonderful Bowties. Yesterday, We discovered the all electric S-10EV, which was developed alongside the GM EV-1. Next up is the first Chevrolet Concept Vehicle that was drafted into use to pace the Indianapolis 500. Introducing the Beretta Indy Pace Car Convertible (that was killed before going into production). There was a time when the Indianapolis 500 was considered the crown jewel of motorsports around the world, and was a rival to the 24 Hours of LeMans and the Formula 1 Series. That was before the split between CART and USAC, which almost killed open-wheel racing in North America and paved the way for NASCAR’s ascendancy. Highly visible at each year’s race was the selection of the car used to pace the 33-car field, a selection often used by the Detroit Big 3 to promote new models. This is the story of one of the most obscure Indy Pace Cars: The 1990 Chevy Beretta Indy Pace Car Convertible, and the eighth Chevy to pace the Memorial Day Classic. This was the first Chevy Concept Car to pace the field.
Chevrolet General Manager, Jim Perkins, posing with the Pace Car.
Reports as to how many pace cars were built are conflicting. Some report three, while still others report five, but they all started out as Beretta Coupes. They were converted by the engineering firm Cars & Concepts, which fabricated a number of special editions and prototypes for the major Detroit car companies. They chopped off the top, engineered the chassis, and installed a “don’t-call-it-a-roll-bar” structure, along with a power activated top. Chevrolet spent a great deal of money to prepare the Beretta Convertible, but the rigidity of the coupe was lost when the top was removed, and no amount of modification to the underbody could help in regaining at least some of it back – which was rumored to be one of the reasons the production ragtop was scrapped. Once the convertible was killed, Chevrolet did produce 7,500 Beretta Pace Car edition coupes, available in Yellow (1,500) and Teal (6,000). These cars received color-coordinated alloy wheels, Indy 500 decals on the doors and some trim components from the previous year’s Beretta GTU. The Beretta didn’t share its platform with any other GM product except for its sedan sibling, the Corsica. So, will the Beretta Pace Car Edition become a collectible? I’ll answer that with another question: When did you last see one? In 2009 one of the original Pace Car Convertibles sold at the 2009 Barrett-Jackson sale, and sold for $22,000 with a scrap title, which is a far cry from its reported development costs of $20 Million. Read the current issue of Chevy Enthusiast by clicking here!

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