If you follow NASCAR or any other type of car racing, then you may already be familiar with the Indy 500’s longstanding tradition of introducing a different pace car just about every year to kick off the race. The official pace car of 1993 was the “new” Chevy Camaro Z28, which was selected to celebrate the launch of its fourth-generation model.
The Z28 wasn’t the only Chevrolet vehicle to be put on a pedestal this particular year. A special Indianapolis 500-edition shortbed C1500 pickup truck was also released to the public to commemorate the company’s participation in the big race. Only 1,534 of them were built and sold, and all of them sported the same very distinctive two-tone black and white paintjob adorned with multicolor logos and graphics to signify it as being part of the limited-edition run.
While these race-inspired Silverado pickups were hot commodities at the time of their initial release, they have since drifted into the realm of rarities. Vintage, limited-edition badged trucks tend to gain their own cult following these days, and this Indy 500 specimen is no different. Nostalgia rules the marketplace in today’s market, and nothing screams early ’90s vibes quite like colorful, striped graphics on an OBS Chevy truck body.
THE STARS ALIGN
These trucks pop up for sale every now and then in various conditions and price points, but they still remain somewhat hard to find below market value. Ty Zito of Prairieville, Louisiana, has been a fan of the Indy 500 Chevy truck for years but has always been hesitant to pull the trigger and purchase one. These pickups are sometimes placed on the chopping block by various automotive auction houses, but every now and then, one will surface on Craigslist for a steal. Ty had always kept his eyes on sales listings of these trucks, but having the disposable funds ready to strike when one pops up, as well as it being close enough to pick up, have proved to be the make-or-break factors of scoring one.
After years of searching, however, the stars aligned for Ty in Owensboro, Kentucky. An Indy truck was listed for sale at a price he was willing to pay. And while the drive was a little too far for him at that time, he lucked out when Chris Stafford of C/K Syndicate agreed to go fetch the truck on his behalf. Game on!
START WITH SUSPENSION
While the truck was in fair enough condition, it was in need of some serious TLC to bring back the luster of its glory days. Before anything was buffed or polished though, Ty first started to analyze what could be done to refresh the Chevy’s suspension.
Chris Stafford once again offered to be of service for this phase of the rebuild. He welded a notch under the bed before installing a coilover conversion kit and narrowed A-arms from Stone Fab, which would allow easy compatibility with front Aldan coilover units. A Belltech flip kit, sway bar, and Aldan adjustable shocks are responsible for dropping the rear to give the C1500 a much lower, aggressive stance for a modernized, custom appearance.
While upgrading the truck’s chassis, Chris also upgraded the front brake system with drilled and slotted rotors from Little Shop MFG. He went with the company’s rear disc brake conversion and master cylinder swap kit for all-around performance stopping power. To capitalize on the truck’s fully revamped chassis, a staggered set of Intro ID313 wheels and Lionhart tires were mixed in to give Ty’s Indy 500 pickup the updated, sporty appearance it so desperately deserved.
REWORK AND REFRESH
To keep the Chevy as original as possible where it counted the most, Ty kept the factory-equipped 350 V-8, but he had Joe Gerbitz and Mikey Stinson of 3rd Coast Customs perform a simple engine rebuild while cleaning it up cosmetically for good measure. New valve covers and an air cleaner were included in the cleanup process, and to add some extra performance gains, Brent Kelly at Exhaust Pros was asked to fabricate a custom 3-inch exhaust system. Other than that, the engine bay was kept relatively untouched, which is really all that was necessary to help preserve this historical pickup project.
Next, T.J. Maples and Joe Gerbitz of 3rd Coast gave the Indy 500 Chevy’s original paint a welcomed refresh. They also reworked the OEM grille and bumpers and replaced the truck’s lighting housings to give the Chevy a spruced-up shine from front to back. Again, there was no need to do anything more than simply restore the truck’s OG façade as its iconic factory style is what has made it as desirable as it has been for nearly 30 years.
When it came time to address the Chevy’s interior, Ty treaded lightly as to not destroy the natural styling within the cab. While he had no reason to suffer with the dated cloth upholstery and cracked plastics that do deteriorate over the years, Ty wished to create a familiar environment that even the strictest of purists could appreciate. Since Ty’s truck was equipped with a bench seat (only 414 of the 1,534 run were outfitted with factory bucket seats), Lawrence Bergeron of LB Upholstery suggested swapping the worn out bench with a brand new one from Snowden. He covered it in gray leather and suede upholstery that closely resembled the old material’s color. The door panels were also reupholstered to match.
Chris Stafford clocked back in for work inside of the cab by first installing a new dash and then creating custom kick panels that house Powerbass component speakers. A Sony head unit and a combination of amps and subs were also wired up to give the single cab a robust, well-rounded sound signal. While he was at it, Chris replaced the headliner and made new visors to complete the fully renovated interior space. It now looks as factory as you can get save for the Billet Specialties steering wheel and Dakota Digital VHX gauges—but even those blend in all too well.
It’s always cool to see these Indy 500 trucks pop up at shows, and it’s even better when the right sets of hands not only expertly restore them but also go the extra mile by adding subtle custom touches to elevate their original style and performance. Ty’s Chevy maintains the classic Indy truck appearance but has gained heightened appeal with its lower, more capable suspension, premium wheels, and its clean-as-hell interior space. The rebuilt 350 and restored exterior ensure that this commemorative edition Chevy will remain on the road and stay relevant for a long time to come.
1993 Chevy 1500 Indy pace truck
1993 Chevy V-8 350ci
Engine buildup/modifications by Joe Gerbitz & Mikey Stinson
Comps Cams camshaft
Ceramic coated headers
Custom 3-inch exhaust system by Brent Kelly at Exhaust Pros, McComb, MS
Edelbrock air cleaner
New valve covers
1993 Monster 4L60 transmission by 3rd Coast Customs, Mt. Hermon, LA
Chassis & Suspension
Frame modification by Chris Stafford at C/K Syndicate, Tylertown, MS
Stock 1993 chassis
Weld-in notch under bed
Stone Fab coilover conversion w/ narrowed A-Arms and front sway bar
Aldan American coilovers up front, rear adjustable shocks
Belltech flip kit and rear sway bar
Rearend narrowed 3 inches by Jeremy at BH Fabrication
Wheels, Tires & Brakes
22-inch Intro ID313 wheels
285/35/22 Lionhart LH-TEN tires
Little Shop MFG drilled and slotted front brakes, rear disc brake conversion, NBS master cylinder swap
Body & Paint
Summit White and Tuxedo Black by T.J. Maples & Joe Gerbitz @ 3rd Coast Customs
Slosh Tubz faux metal wheel tubs and fillers
OEM grille and bumpers restored
Classic Parts of America stock style replacement headlights
Interior & Stereo
Shop: Lawrence Bergeron @ LB Upholstery, Kentwood, LA
Bench seat from Snowden custom seats
Gray leather and suede upholstery
New dash, dyed panels, custom kick panels and stereo install by Chris Stafford @ C/K Garage
Dakota Digital VHX gauges
Billet Specialties steering wheel
Sony head unit
Powerbass component speakers, subwoofers and amps