Dodge Viper Pace Car
Name: 1991 Indianapolis 500 Dodge Viper Pace Car
Year Built: 1991
Driver: Carroll Shelby
When Dodge was named the official pace car for the 1991 Indianapolis 500, the company intended to use the Dodge Stealth. That was until the United Auto Workers vigorously protested that both the Stealth and its sister car the Mitsubishi 3000GT were manufactured in Japan. Chrysler engineers had already been working for a couple of years on a high-performance 488-cubic-inch V10 sports car called the Viper, and while there were still no immediate plans for a production date, this unexpected dilemma caused them to press ahead with enhancements to the prototype and have it ready for May. They managed to get it done, but not by much. When qualifications began there was only one Viper on the grounds, and it was not until a couple of days before the race that a second Viper finally arrived as a “backup.” The cars received plenty of attention, and the Viper became available to the public on January 1, 1992. The pace car’s driver was the legendary racer-turned-car designer Carroll Shelby, who helped map out early concepts for the Viper and for whom the Ford Shelby Mustang is named.