Original 1964 Mustang Indy 500 Pace Car at Auction

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1964 Ford Mustang Indianapolis 500 Pace Car

One of the most historically significant pace cars starts at seven figures on Hemmings.

Iconic. Priceless. Legendary. These are words that get thrown around all too often when we talk about classic cars, and Mustangs especially. With the passage of time, the meanings of these words have been diluted to empty adjectives, thrown around with all the grace and precision of an eight-pound sledgehammer.

This 1964 Mustang we found on Hemmings, however, all of those things in the truest sense. In fact, it is one of the single most significant Ford Mustangs ever built. This is not a replica — this is the real 1964 Ford Mustang convertible that paced that year’s Indianapolis 500.

1964 Ford Mustang Indianapolis 500 Pace Car

Built during the first hour of Mustang production in 1964, this car, along with two others, was hastily assembled with leftover 1963 Falcon parts before being shipped to Holman Moody for additional upgrades. The 260 cubic inch V8s were swapped with detuned 289s from the GT40 project in order to maintain a speed of 140 miles per hour.

With only two of the three pace cars completed, the third was scrapped, while the completed cars were shipped to Indianapolis to pace the 500. Upon arrival, only one car was capable of fulfilling its pace car duties, driven by Ford scion Benson Ford.

1964 Ford Mustang Indianapolis 500 Pace Car

After that fateful race day, the car’s history took an interesting turn. It served as a pace car at Sebring International Raceway in Florida until 1974, locked in a storage unit and preserved until its rescue by a Mustang Club of America board member in 1991.

A careful, sympathetic restoration followed, painstakingly documented as great pains were taken to preserve as many original parts as possible. All in all, this car maintains over 90 percent of its original parts, with the remainder being date-coded NOS originals or custom fabricated components to match the unique, early-production prototype parts seen on the first Mustangs to roll off the line in Dearborn, Michigan.

1964 Ford Mustang Indianapolis 500 Pace Car

With a $1.1 million asking price, it’s clear that this is not just any Mustang. We think it’s one of the single most important pieces of Mustang history and belongs in a museum, where the Mustang faithful like us can appreciate it.

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Longtime motorcyclist and automotive journalist Cam Vanderhorst is a regular contributor to Harley-Davidson Forums, Ford Truck Enthusiasts, Corvette Forum and MB World, among others.

When he's not busy working on his Harley-Davidson bike, the vastly experienced writer has covered an array of features, reviews, how-tos, op-eds and news stories for Internet Brands' Auto Group and is also a co-founder and co-host of the popular podcast Cammed & Tubbed.

Check him out on Instagram at: Camvanderhorst.

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