1994 mustang cobra indy 500 ppg pace car

Ford Mustang Cobra (Red) – 1994 PPG Pace Car

An Indianapolis 500 pace car that actually paced the Indy 500.


Ford released a completely restyled car For the 30th anniversary of the Mustang, and was given the honor of pacing for the Indianapolis 500. This is one of 5 actual pace cars built for The 78th Indianapolis 500 in 1994. Ford would also produce 1,000 special edition replica convertibles for consumers. (Out of the 1,000 replicas, 122 were GT models (GT wheels and GT fog lights) that were used at the track as festival cars. The other 788 were SVT Cobra models with Cobra badging and SVT wheels.) This PPG Pace Car was not one of the replicas sold at dealerships.


Prepped by Roush (and signed by Jack Roush himself) this Cobra has an upgraded fuel cell and fuel system. A crash bar was also added in the rear to protect the fuel cell in a collision. A Halon fire suppression system is mounted in the trunk, as done on all PPG Pace Cars. Cables and mounts for various TV cameras are located in the car, as well as a peep-hole out the back side of the trunk for a rear-facing camera.

The actual Indy 500 Pace Cars (not the 1000 sold at dealerships) were equipped with an automatic transmission. Also, this car has no catalytic converters.  (The Green 1994 Cobra PPG Pace Car used in the CART Series, rather than the Indy 500, was equipped with a 5-speed transmission.) The roll bar with integrated strobe light is identical to the one used in the Green Cobra Pace Car and is not commercially available as many of the styling bars which are commonly fitted to convertible Mustangs.

All 5 of the actual pace cars cars came with front bumpers that extended out forward about 6″ more than the later production cars, because when they began working on the pace cars, the Cobra was not yet in production. The front bumper was a prototype that they later made 6″ shorter in mass production. The original 5 are VIN’d as GT’s not cobras. The wheel center caps on the actual 5 pace cars are stamped “*Caution* for prototype only” on the back. The tire graphic on the doors (replaced by “PPG Pace Car” on this Cobra) is white on the 5 actual pace cars and silver on replicas.

Current Status

With just 3600 miles on the odometer, this PPG Pace Car was purchased by a private collector in 2014.

  • Hey, that’s my car!! LOL.. I must have been out of town when my guys rolled it outside to photograph, and I just now stumbled upon this great website. One correction, I purchased the car in 2014… One of the better/smarter deals that I’ve stumbled into in a long time..

    • Thanks Rick! I’ll fix that date 🙂

  • There were actually 5 ‘94 Cobra (Mustang GT) pace cars. Two were used for media/promotion and only had cosmetic mods done at Roush. They were not numbered like the 3 race pace cars. Cars with vins ending in 113161 and 113163 were media/promotional cars, with 161 receiving a one off carbon fiber Cobra front bumper while the other 4 were done in fiberglass. The front bumpers are unique, and are about 6 inches longer than the production Cobra bumpers. The Cobra wheels on all 5 are stamped prototype as well.

    Vin 113165 was #3 and was the car driven by Parnelli Jones to start the race, then by Jim Rathman during the race. It resides in a private collection in Michigan. In addition to Rick Schmidt’s PC #1 and #3 mentioned above, car #2 resides within the Indianapolis Speedway museum.
    Although all the Mustang GT’s were sent to Roush Performance to be modified to look like Cobra Mustangs, Roush only performed those cosmetic mods.
    The three race pacers were then sent to Total Performance to receive the performance and safety upgrades needed for track duty.

    Of the two media cars, 113161 is known and in a private collection. Only media car 113163 remains unaccounted for, but there is speculation on its whereabouts.

    • Thank you for all of this information!

    • DAN I now own car #161 and curious where you was able to verify this information any help would be appreciated

      • Conversations with all the folks mentioned, as well as Thomas Benvie along with research done at the IMS archives. I own a F250 safety truck from the ‘94 race.

  • I have a 1994 Cobra Indianapolis Pace car replica with 2 small dings. Always garaged with40k miles. Any idea what t is worth?

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