In 1978 the great American icon that is the Chevy Corvette turned 25 years old. While everyone was anticipating a limited edition to commemorate the Silver Anniversary, no one anticipated what was to come; two limited editions for the 1978 model year.
Before Bill Mitchell officially stepped down from his post at GM he would make the suggestion that the Silver Anniversary Corvette be painted in his favorite color. As it turned out that color was silver which just so happened to fit perfectly for the theme and thus the B2Z option package was born.
The limited edition 25th Anniversary paint was really little more than some striping, but it would prove to be a popular option. This special edition Corvette would be the first Vette to feature a two tone paint job since the 1961 rendition. The silver paint of the limited edition was on top of a brilliant gray and separated by a pin stripe. While the option was not all that expensive for Chevy to produce, they added a nice mark-up to the buyers tab.
The Silver Anniversary Vette also came with aluminum wheels and special mirrors that were referred to as “sport” mirrors. Really all this represented was another mark-up that need to be paid by the buyer.
While that special edition was indeed expected, what was a surprise to all those who loved the Corvette was the fact that the Indianapolis 500 would be paced that year by a Corvette and this gave GM another opportunity to cash in on a limited edition. The plan was to make only 2,500 replicas of the official pace car which would be 100 for each of the first 25 years of the Corvette. However, Chevy quickly realized that the number would not fly as they were near 6,200 dealerships nationwide. What was ultimately decided was that each dealership would receive at least one for the showroom which meant that the number of 6,200 would make up almost 15 percent of all the Vettes sold for the 1978 model year. While it was a special edition, the Corvette pace car replica of 1978 didn’t prove to be much of a “limited” edition.
In the same manner as the Silver Anniversary edition, the pace car replica was sold as on option package tagged RPO Z78. Its main distinction would also be two tone paint only in this version it was black over silver paint all separated by a red stripe. Each pace car replica also featured a spoiler on the front (similar to the Trans Am) and rear to give it further distinction. The interior would see all sorts of silver and gray accents that blended flawlessly to make a really nice look.
Even though the pace car replica was considerably more than the standard Vette on the sticker they all sold for over list price as they looked like an instant classic. This prompted the imposters to come out of the woodworks and had many 1978 Vette owners transforming their regular Vettes into pseudo pace car replicas.
While not the best special editions that Corvette had made any means they were nonetheless considered a success, especially the pace car replicas. This would leave many simply chomping at the bit in anticipation for the next special edition Corvette to come out and it showed the GM folks that they could indeed have two special editions in the same model year.