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1976 Riviera Indy Festival Car


tbenvie
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Still researching the various indy pace cars.  Now looking at 1976.  The Buick Century was the actual Pace Car and about 1290 Replicas were made for sale by dealers. Is there a Registry anywhere for these cars?

Also, there is a group that began in 1957 called the "500 Festival Associates".  they not only promoted the race, but in an effort to get the visitors downtown they began a Festival Parade, Festival Queen, and a number of other events. There were 33 Festival Directors in the group-to equal the amount of drivers in the race.  In 1959 they were given the use of 25 Buicks by a local dealer to use to promote the events-though they were various models and colors, not the same as the Pace Car.  In 1960 each of the 33 Festival Directors received an Oldsmobile for the month of May. Once again they were not just Ninety Eights, but other Olds models.  This is the beginning of the tradition where the Festival Directors (and the Queen) would receive a car, now known as "Festival Cars".  Over the years the 500 Festival Directors would receive a car but they were not always like the Pace car-for instance in 1978 the Corvette was the Pace car, but there were only four at the track: two actual Pace cars, a display car, and a car to be given the winner (The winner often did NOT receive the actual Pace Car as is commonly believed).  The 500 Festival Directors each received a Camaro for the month.  But there are other cars used as well, often called "Track Cars".  These go to dignitaries, local officials, and track officials. In 1978 these "Track cars" were Monte Carlos.

 

In 1976 the Pace Cars and Track Cars all looked alike, but the 500 Festival Directors each had a Riviera with the Pace Car decals.  I can find no info on these cars. Does anyone have or know who may have the Car Assignment Sheets for 1976 with the kist if cars, VINs and names of who received the cars?    I have been able to find the 70, 71, 73-75, 78-80 sheets so I am hoping these are still out there.     

Here are some pictures from the 500 festival Parade with the Riviera Festival Cars.   At most, there would only be 41 of these based on other years.

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Two things to point out in the photos.  The round gold decal on the door designates the car as a "500 festival Director" car.  these only go on the cars assigned to these people, They do NOT go on the other cars used at the track.  The second round decal on the rear quarter panel is the Bicentennial Log for our countries 200th birthday in 1976. 

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After the race the cars were purchased by local sealers through the Zone office. It appears from this ad the decals were removed from the Riviera so most people may not even be aware of these cars.  In 1992 Cadillac removed all the decals from the Festival Allantes and I have been able to find the VINs of these cars-not one of the current owners I was able to contact knew the past of their car. In 1997 Olds did the same thing with the Auroras. I have that VIN list and about 70% of the cars have already been junked-probably because nobody knew the history of the car. 

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I really like the 76 Free Spirit Century's. I was very close to buying one but it was in the middle of an August heatwave and it had no Air Cond. I never thought to even ask until I looked under the hood and noticed no A/C compressor. Canadian delivered car, so it must have been an oddball!

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