1978 Corvette Pace Car Litigation Article - U.S.

The following aticle appeared in a 1978 issue of the Palm Beach Post - Times, West Palm Beach, Florida and describes the court ruling over litigation involving a law suit that an individual brought upon a Chevrolet dealership regarding the price of a 1978 Corvette Pace Car.

The Corvette mentioned below cost the individual approximately $1,500 in legal fees to prove that he was entitled to purchase the car based upon the verbal agreement he had with the selling dealership.

Judge:  Corvette's Price $14,702

By Ken McKinnon
Post Staff Writer

OKEECHOBEE - A circuit court judge yesterday ruled that Sebring automobile dealer Russ Albritton must sell a limited edition Corvette to a purchaser for the $14,702 list price.

Attorney Frederick Dahlmeir of Singer Island filed a suit in a similar case against Vero Beach Chevrolet dealer Fred Coyne Monday, alleging Coyne's company raised its asking price for the car to $25,000 after a salesman made a verbal agreement to sell for the list price.

Chevrolet manufactured 6,500 of the model to commemorate the 25th year that Corvettes have been in production.

The silver and black replicas of the pace car for Sunday's Indianopolis 500 are expected to become collector's items.

Albritton refused to release the car to his customer for the list price after he discovered the car could bring $20,000 or more.

"I read in Automotive News where a man said he had two of the cars for sale at $20,000 each," Albritton said. "I guess it's worth a court fight if you can make a $5,000-$10,000 profit. I was treated fair though. The judge was fair."

Dahlmeir's suit against Coyne Chevrolet claims the dealership returned a $1,000 check he sent to bind the verbal agreement between him and the salesman.

Okeechobee car dealer Willard Mays and Steve Watford, a salesman for Mays, bought two of the Indy pace car copies for just more than $30,000. They want $35,000 for each of them.

Watford said Stuart Chevrolet dealer John Jochem, wasn't aware of the car's potential worth when he sold it for $14,072.

"Jochem isn't too pleased with us," Watford said.

Kenny Ford, sales manager of Gilber Chevrolet in Okeechobee, said he has had only one offer for his limited edition Corvette. He refused the $23,000 offer, which would have given him a $12,000 profit.

"I don't know what they're worth," Ford said. "One sold for $23,000 wholesale at the West Palm Beach auction, and that's wholesale. If they're worth $23,000 wholesale, they're damn sure worth $25,000 retail. I'm just going to wait until after the race, to make up my mind what I'm going to do with the car."

Albritton said he believes Watford Mays and Ford will have to wait two or three years to get more than $30,000 for their Corvettes.

"Basically, there's nothing different about the car. It's a Corvette with the pace car decals and an oversized high performance 350 cubic inch engine," Albritton said.

"Chevrolet was making a silver anniversary edition Corvette when they decided to change its color, redesign it a little bit and go with the pace car idea along with the 25th anniversary idea.

"It's somewhat unique and there are only a few of them. Hence, it becomes a collectors' item. I really don't know aht the big deal is. But I never have been able to explain Corvette mania."