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Behold Your Key to the Camaro: Festival!

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On: Fri, Apr 15, 2011 at 3:03PM | By: Andrew W Davis

Behold Your Key to the Camaro: Festival!

I previously mentioned just how hard—or expensive—getting your hands on one of the 500 2011 Chevy Camaro RS/SS convertible Indy pace car replicas can be. I also told you how to order a “normal” Camaro convertible that’s as close to a pace car replica as you could replicate.

I have recently come into some information on how you could get your hands on something rarer and more authentic than a regular “replica” (just 50 exist). Best of all, it might not be too late to snag one.

How do you feel about visiting Indiana?

Though it is thought that the very first “pace car”—a Stoddard-Dayton Model 11-A Touring Car—was selected to lead the field of 40 starters in the first (1911) 500-mile race at Indy merely because it was there (it belonged to track owner Carl G. Fisher), over time having your car selected for this mission was a great honor.

But, it didn’t take long to become a very expensive one.

This is because you couldn’t send just one or two to serve as actual on-track pace cars. Eventually, carmakers started sending upwards to 50 cars to the track for use by officials, the press, and just about anyone else who happened to be within shouting distance of Indiana.

In 1969, for instance, Chevy provided every vehicle—trucks and support vehicles included—used by the track that year, apart from purpose-built vehicles like fire trucks (see photo).

Some of the trucks at the Speedway might be Chevys this year, too, but the one element they brought whole-hog into 2011—apart from repeating the car selection and outfitting, of course—is supplying a fleet of 50 “Festival Committee” cars for Indy-related use.

Identical in most every way to the 2011 Camaro RS/SS Convertible “replicas” I mentioned before, these vehicles have been provided by Chevrolet for use by Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) personnel, members of the media, famous and near-famous folks in town for the month of May, and anyone lucky enough to get on the list.

(One gentleman purchased his way onto it, paying $225,000 for Festival car “No. 1” at auction in January. In fairness, he also bought the right to—according to Barrett-Jackson, the auctioneer—“drive the car during a parade lap in front of the field of 33 starters shortly before the green flag flies,” whatever that means. And it was “for charity” or some such thing.)

Though the Festival cars are ten times rarer (and therefore possibly more valuable), "regular" buyers won't pay anywhere near that. Instead, GM is taking back whichever cars weren’t pre-purchased—or crashed by borrowers who took the whole “Indy” tie-in too seriously—and divvying them up to nearby Chevy dealers for sale just as they did the “replicas” (and every other Camaro).

The race isn’t until May 29th, but for every day you wait you run the risk of losing out the same way you did with the replicas. The next step then is to contact Chevy dealers in the IMS area to find one with a car you can buy.

I wish you luck, but ask that you don’t all call at once. And keep my name out of it. I don’t need to hear from every Indianan who couldn’t schedule an oil change for his Silverado because you guys tied up the phone lines…

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