12-14 August 2010
1946 Lincoln Continental Indy 500 Pace Car
Sold for $104,500
- Confirmed by Indianapolis Motor Speedway to be the actual 1946 pace car
- Thoroughly restored and from a noted private collection
- Driven by Tony George at Indianapolis during vintage pace car event with Tom Carnegie in back seat
Proud and triumphant postwar America turned its patriotic eyes to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway over 1946's Memorial Day weekend for the first running of the Indianapolis 500 since the festival of speed took a hiatus for World War II. America's eyes were inevitably fixated on the gleaming 1946 Lincoln Continental that paced the race, a shapely convertible originally penned by noted Ford stylist Bob Gregorie at the request of Edsel Ford himself.
Yet the attractive yellow Continental almost didn't make an appearance. As the race was quickly cobbled together at the previously mothballed Speedway, Ford had to source a 1946 Continental from an Indianapolis-area dealership. Traditionally, automakers provided the track directly with a car to use for publicity, so going through a third party was quite unique.
Although several Continentals were used as event vehicles, only one '46 Continental lapped the historic 2.5-mile oval on its first postwar showing. After being driven by Ford president Henry Ford II during the race, the Continental was supposed to have been given to race winner George Robson. Unfortunately, the victor was tragically killed in a plane crash later in the year. Instead, the Continental passed through private hands, including former Indy 500 driver Roger Ward until it was eventually acquired by noted collector Jim Covert, who commissioned a thorough freshening of its older restoration in about 2007.
Although this is not the only Continental claimed to be the ’46 pace car, this is the only one recently used by the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and driven by former CEO Tony George in 2005 during the race festivities. Longtime Indy 500 announcer Tom Carnegie was driven by George in this car in a gathering of pace cars prior to the running of the 2005 race. Carnegie, whose voice is synonymous with the historic race, first served as public address announcer in 1946, the same year the Continental paced the race.
In very presentable condition throughout following the restoration work it received in the last five years, the 1946 Continental is again as it appeared at its first public outing. Driven by the CEO himself with none other than Tom Carnegie in the back seat, this Continental is rightly regarded by the Speedway as being the correct, authentic pace car from 1946. In fact, it was even displayed for a period of time at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum and is ready for continued parade and museum use.
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