Background car news

Spotted: the official pace car of Indianapolis 500 … from 1956

May 24, 2024


We came across this DeSoto in the direction of Mainz near Frankfurt. The car appears to have been sold by RD Classics. So possibly the car here is on its way to its new owner. But exactly what kind of car are we dealing with here? As mentioned, this is a DeSoto Fireflite. Just under 400 of these were produced in this version at the time. How many copies of these remain is unfortunately unknown. Collectors make a conservative estimate at about 35. This car is still in absolute new condition and comes from Missouri.

DeSoto Fireflite Pacecar Indy 500 1956

The official pace car of the 1956 Indy 500

In 1956, the DeSoto Fireflite was appointed the official pace car of the Indy 500, a major race in the United States. For this event, the Fireflite convertible was chosen in a unique color scheme: brown and white. That combined with a soft top in matching colors. Also note the gold wheels. The interior of the car is finished with gold vinyl upholstery and brown fabric inserts.

DeSoto Fireflite Pacecar Indy 500 1956

Features of the DeSoto Fireflite

Under the hood of this Fireflite Indy 500 Pace Car is a 330 cu (5.4-liter) Hemi V8 engine with 256 horsepower. This allowed the Pace Car to reach a top speed of 230 mph. Of course, the V8 engine is mated to an automatic transmission. According to RD Classics, the car is also equipped with power steering, power brakes, a power convertible top, a power front bench seat, power windows, a DeSotomatic steering wheel clock, a gold-colored radiator grille, original gold turbine-style hubcaps and – yes – a HiFi record player. Bizarre how modern those American cars from the fifties already were. Hopefully the new owner will cherish this DeSoto. But we are confident of that.

DeSoto Fireflite Pacecar Indy 500 1956