The Real Deal – 2000 Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS Pace Car
Article and photography by Richard Butschi
Many auto enthusiasts are drawn to pace car “special editions” produced by the various divisions of companies like General Motors. For example, most car folks easily recognize the iconic ‘78 Corvette pace car, done strikingly in black-over-silver paint with red accents and lettering commemorating that year’s Indy 500. Although these editions are produced in limited numbers, making them highly sought after, they are still facsimiles of the few versions that actually pace a pack of high-speed racers at a major event. Some of those that make it to the track are “festival” cars, used to parade celebrities during pre-race activities. And then there are the real deals – the pacers that actually have graced the banked curves of major tracks like Indianapolis Motor Speedway, during the competition. These are hard to come by.
Alan and Joy Oldfield, of northeast Cedar Rapids, have a collection of cars that include pacers, most of them Buicks, as Alan’s dad was a Buick dealer in Wellman, IA. The Oldfields’ first collector car was a 1957 Buick Roadmaster, tabbed a 75R 2-door hardtop done in Dusty Rose. The year was 1979. They were newlyweds living in Oklahoma with (as Alan puts it) “No garage, no driveway and no money.” The car cost $850 and his dad said he would cover half of it, so Alan had to borrow the $425, plus putting on some used tires to get it back to Iowa. Since then, they have collected three Buick pace cars – a ‘75 and ‘76 “editions”, and an ‘81 “festival” pacer. All three were commemoratives for the Indy 500. They have two ‘87 turbocharged Buicks – a white T-type and a black Grand National (both pretty rare), along with a ‘99 Riviera Silver Arrow Edition, 1 of 200 built commemorating the end of production of the Rivieras.
In 2008, Alan got wind of an ‘83 Buick pace car, slated to hit the auction block at Barrett-Jackson in Las Vegas. He wanted it badly, but it slipped through his fingers. The following spring, at the B-J Auction in Palm Beach, FL, he finally landed a “real deal” 2000 Chevy Monte Carlo pacer. Although not a Buick, as desired, this particular Monte is the #2 car of two used in the ‘99 Brickyard 400 NASCAR race in Indianapolis. The race was won by Dale Jarrett. The pace car was driven by Buster Auton, Track Inspector/Director of Transportation for NASCAR and responsible for getting up to 24 semi-trailers to the race sites each week. He was also honored as Grand Marshal in ‘99 and other years, along with the likes of Jay Leno, Dallas Clark (U of Iowa and NFL footballer), Hope Solo of the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team and tv/movie star/producer Ron Howard.
The Monte, dressed in Torch Red/Silver, is adorned with strobe lights mounted on the roof, rear deck and facsia. It has a hi-performance exhaust system, Tasmanian Devil graphics and lower body molding. It has been lowered over an inch, outfitted with a special leather interior and instrument cluster. The power train is a 3800 Series II hi-performance V6, making 300hp, with a 4T65-E transaxle, disc brakes w/ABS, custom 17” wheels and Goodyear Eagle F1 tires.
The Oldfields have taken the Monte to prestigious shows throughout the country. In 2012, at the Monte Carlo Owners Association show in Richmond, IN, they won both the Peoples’ Choice and Children’s Choice Awards. In Chicago, at the 2015 Muscle Car & Corvette Nationals (formerly known as the Vette Fest), they won the top “Gold Award” scoring 964 points out of a possible 1,000. Also that year, they won the Specialty Display Award at the Keenland Concourse in Lexington, Kentucky, which is a “by-invitation-only” show.
The Oldfields have added history to a car that came with significant provenance, but it also came with a disclaimer at the 2009 auction - “... not certified...and can not be driven on public roads.” But then it’s not likely that Alan and Joy were going to use it for vacationing or hauling groceries. Besides, the trunk is filled with electronics for the strobe lights.