Watkins Glen Pace Cars

When Watkins Glen came out of receivership in the early eighties, Ford signed on as the major sponsor and provided two SVO Mustangs in sequence as pace cars. The 1984 model was only there for a very very short period of time... I understand that something major had gone wrong with it. I worked events at the Glen and various other tracks in the East those years, specializing in grid so that I could be close to the racecars. I helped with SCCA events, IMSA events (particularly the 24-hour showroom stock endurance events), and others. I wanted to be close to the cars, and this was the place to be.

The second SVO was an 85.5 model, in white. I did get a "pace" ride at speed a few times and saw it in use for a few years. It was usually the same guy driving it - he was very smooth and always on the right line - while simultaneously tracking the traffic behind him (I may have a picture taken inside the car somewhere - I will have to go thru some old negatives to find it one of these days).

I was interested in the car and made inquires before it was finally sold - my dealer (Rick Muck @ Muck Motors) was connected extremely well with Ford and brokered a deal for me. However, I unfortunately turned it down. It was 100% stock, other than the pace lights. Although it did have to go back to the dealer regularly for brake pads et al. An engineer at Ford later claimed that they developed the pads on this 85.5 that later became the Crown Vic police package (they were never offered on the SVO, but were functionally interchangeable). Those pads and some new aluminum pistons for the calipers (stock SVO used fiber pistons that didn't last very long) were the hot ticket for upgrading the SVO brakes when they surfaced again years later in the SVO catalog (and were used in the '87-93 Saleens).