When the gentlemen – and ladies – start their engines on Sunday, it will mark the 100th anniversary of the first running of the Indianapolis 500. To commemorate this event, we present these four cars, all currently for sale on AutoTrader.com, which have a real-life connection with the legendary "Brickyard."
The Car: 1982 Buick Riviera Convertible
The Connection: One of only two Buicks built by GM specifically for the 1983 Indianapolis 500.
This 1982 Buick Riviera is one of two cars General Motors built for the 1983 Indy 500. Of the two, one served as the official pace car, while the other – this vehicle – was used mostly for show and display. Despite being built more for show than for go, this former member of the GM Heritage Collection this is one of the rarest Buicks you're ever likely to see.
'It's not a common thing." says Nate Lagrou of Briggs Auto Lane in Manhattan, Kansas where the car is for sale.
While this Buick started life as a typical 1982 Riviera T-Type, it is actually built with parts from three different model years. First the 1982 car was converted into a convertible. Then the bodywork was modeled after the 1983 20th Anniversary Edition Riviera. Lastly the front end of the car features the grill and headlight frames from the 1984 Riviera.
The car also has a plaque inside commemorating its use as a show car at Indy, separating it from the hundreds of pace car replicas that were produced by Buick that year, and cementing its status as a collectible.
"Typically this kind of car is sitting under lock and key," Lagrou said.
Comedian Jay Leno owns the other car that actually saw track duty. It features a specially built twin-turbo, 450-horsepower V6 engine, and was piloted by former Indy racer and riding mechanic "Duke" Nalon.
The Connection: One of only 500 Corvette Pace Car replicas built in 2008, plus it's signed by two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Emerson Fittipaldi.
This 2008 Corvette is one of 500 built to commemorate the Corvette's choice as the official pace car of the both the 1978 and 2008 race. Each car was personally signed by two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Emerson Fittipaldi at the Bowling Green, Kentucky Corvette manufacturing plant.
Despite not being actually driven in the race, Fittipaldi's signature gives the car a real life connection to the Brickyard that not many can match.
"This one is different. It's a car that always captures people's attention," says Barry Konken of Jerry's Chevrolet in Beresford, South Dakota where the car is for sale.
Konken says that the dealership specializes in Corvettes and is always searching out perfect, low mileage cars, and this one fit the bill.
Like most pace car editions, this one is very well equipped with nearly every option available for the Corvette. For example this car has steering wheel mounted paddle shifters, which were only installed on 195 Corvette convertibles in 2008.
"These are pretty sought after cars. They're always desirable," Konken said.
The Car: 1991 Porsche 911 Carrera 4 Cabriolet
The Connection: Originally owned by Indy racer Michael Andretti.
Even casual racing fans know about the Andrettis. Mario Andretti, along with his sons and grandsons, is part of American auto racing dynasty. But historically the family has had limited success at Indy, leading some to believe they suffer from some kind of Indy 500 curse (referred to as "Andretti's Curse" or "Andretti's Luck").
But there's no curse on this well maintained Porsche located at Precision Imports in Springdale, Arizona. In fact Michael Andretti's name on the original title dates back to when the car was new.
"It's all original. Nothing has been changed on it," says Precision Imports' owner James Crowd.
Michael Andretti has had his share of bad luck at Indianapolis, and is considered by many Indy aficionados as the best driver to never win the race. For example he currently holds the less than enviable record of having led the most laps in the history of the race without ever taking the checkered flag.
Besides this 911, James Crowd says his dealership recently had another Porsche with a claim to Indy fame.
"We just sold a 911 GT3 that was owned by Dario Franchitti," Crowd said.
Franchitti won the Indy 500 in both 2007 and 2010.
The Connection: Custom built Mustang signed by four-time winner, and Indy legend, A.J. Foyt. Need we say more?
Racing icon A.J. Foyt's name is still synonymous with the Indianapolis 500 despite the fact that he hasn't driven in the race since 1993. He was the first person to win the event four times, and the larger than life Texan has also visited victory lane once as an owner.
In 2006 Heritage Customs of Arlington, Texas worked with Foyt to produce a limited run of A.J. Foyt Racing "Coyote Edition" Mustangs. The cars received extensive performance and appearance upgrades, and then got Foyt's signature on the dash.
"He's a legend," says current owner Dan Palya, who lives in the Dallas, Texas area, "and he was there when they built it."
Foyt, who won his first Indianapolis 500 50 years ago, will drive the pace car in this year's race.
Palya bought the car on a whim while visiting the dealer for routine maintenance.
"I went in for an oil change for my F-150 and saw it. I thought man that's cool," Palya said.
The Coyote Edition Mustang, which is being sold for Palya by Palomino Motors in Dallas, is even more special as it's certified as car number 001 – the first car off Heritage Custom's assembly line in July of 2006.