Mecum Auctions Selling Penske Collection

Mecum Auctions 37th Original Spring Classic

Mecum Auctions will hold Dana Mecum’s 37th Original Spring Classic auction from May 10 – May 18 in Indianapolis, IN at the Indiana State Fairgrounds. The auction company is estimating that 3,000 vehicles of various types will cross their auction block over 8 days.

Mecum is well known for selling collections of cars that impress even the most discerning enthusiast and the Spring Classic will be no exception. Along with the return of a previous auction highlight known as the Apex Collection and an impressive array of Saleen-modified cars from the Jason Dietsch Saleen Collection 17 cars are being offered from Team Penske’s collection, many of which are related to their stunning track record of 19 wins at the Indy 500.

This is the car that was awarded to Rick Mears following his victory in the 1979 Indy 500 and was acquired by Penske from Mears some time in the early 1990s. It presents very well in unrestored, essentially original condition – the only exceptions being the replacement radiator core and replacement heater core.

It’s powered by the 5.0L V8 which is paired with a four-speed manual transmission. Keeping with its racing-inspired looks, it’s equipped with a sport-tuned suspension as well as power steering and power disc brakes.

These cars were actually quite popular when Ford introduced the Pace Car option. Although it was only available for one year, Ford sold more than 10,000 of these – but only this one has the provenance of being awarded to the winner of the Indy 500.

Only 999 examples of the Mustang SVT Cobra Pace Car Convertible were produced by Ford and this one shows just 430 miles since new. It features the SVT-style white gauges as well as decals indicating that it’s the Pace Car edition.

This is the 31st example built by Ford and presents in unrestored condition, looking just as good today as it did during the first of its 430 miles.

It’s powered by a 5.0L V8 that produces 240 horsepower and is paired with a five-speed manual transmission delivering all that power to the streets. Notably, the pace cars used during the 1994 Indy 500 were actually equipped with four-speed automatic transmissions.

It also features air conditioning, keyless entry, power windows and power locks, as well as power disc brakes.

This ’89 Pontiac Turbo Trans Am 20th Anniversary Pace Car Edition was acquired by Team Penske in the early 1990s and presents in unrestored condition, showing just 685 miles since new.

It’s powered by a turbocharged 3.8L V6 that’s matched to a four-speed automatic transmission and features a boost gauge as part of the turbo package. It’s equipped with air conditioning as well as power steering and power disc brakes as well as a high performance fuel system.

A copy of the window sticker is included with the car which indicates that the power windows and power locks are original, as well as the limited slip differential.

Chrysler produced four LeBaron pace cars for use during the 1987 Indy 500. This 1988 Chrysler LeBaron Pace Car Edition is one of 1,000 built to commemorate the actual pace cars.

It’s powered by a 2.2L inline-four cylinder engine that’s turbocharged and paired with an automatic transmission. It features a suspension tuned for touring usage along with power steering and power front disc and rear drum brakes.

It has all the hallmarks of a car built in the late-80s that was intended to look like the future had already arrived. Plenty of digital displays and leather bucket seats.

The one being offered by Mecum Auctions from the Team Penske Collection has belonged to Penske since it was new and covered all of 228 miles in its entire existence. It may not be the image that springs to mind for most when thinking the words “pace car,” but there’s someone out there who dreamed of owning one of these when they were new and this is as close an opportunity to that as anyone will get.

This is another car that was awarded to Rick Mears, this time upon his victory at the 1984 Indianapolis 500. Pontiac sold 2,000 Pace Car Edition Fieros, all of which were powered by the 2.5L inline four-cylinder engine that produced all of 92 horsepower, known as the “Iron Duke” motor.

It was the first pace car at the Indy 500 with a four-cylinder engine in seven decades and, notably it was the only mid-engined pace car until the 2020 Corvette.

The Pace Car Edition Fiero included bodywork that would go on to become standard on the GT trim level for 1985, which is one reason these are sought after by collectors. In 2020 we saw these changing hands for $10,000 to $16,500, the higher price being one with only 535 miles on it.

The one being offered by Mecum Auctions has seen some more usage than the example that went for $16,500 four years ago – it shows 6,207 miles since new. It was acquired by Team Penske in the early 1990s, directly from Rick Mears. It presents nicely in its unrestored condition and, although it doesn’t have the power to match its looks, it certainly looks like the mid-engined American sports car of our dreams. Well, our dreams circa the early 1980s.

This 1985 Oldsmobile Cutlass Calais Pace Car Edition is unrestored and shows just 1,220 miles since new. It’s been with Team Penske since 1985 and is one of about 1,000 that were built in tribute to the actual pace car, which was heavily modified.

In 2019 Mecum Auctions sold one of the two genuine pace cars that were built for use on the oval for $49,500. Prior to that sale the car had been on display at the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Museum.

Certainly the car being offered by Mecum Auctions from the Team Penske Collection won’t fetch that sort of price, but we can look back to December of 2023 to see one of these Pace Car Edition models selling for $8,750 at auction. We wouldn’t expect this to bring anywhere near the equivalent value of a Cutlass 4-4-2 from 1985, but the Penske name carries some intrinsic worth so it will be interesting to find out what it takes to bring this car to a new home.