Not exactly true according to mustang sources. there was only 35 or so Pacecars at the track and they were obtained from production cars already at dealerships around the country. Only the 2 actual pace cars and the winners cars were specially prepared for use at the track.
In 1964, Ford had the Galaxie poised to pace the Indianapolis 500. That changed when Mustang madness swept the nation. But Ford had a serious problem: not enough Mustangs to meet consumer demand, much less the added demand of a racing event where more than three dozen convertibles were needed. Indy 500 officials from the period have SAID that those responsible for the pace car program at Ford were scrambling to find suitably equipped Mustang convertibles prior to the race. To pacify Indy officials, Ford shipped 35 '64 Galaxie 500 convertibles in March, which were replaced by Mustang convertibles early in May.
The 35 Wimbledon White Mustang convertibles varied in the way they were optioned because many of them were sourced from Ford dealers within a sizable radius around Indianapolis. Each of these convertibles was D-code 289-4V-equipped. Interiors were red, white, or blue vinyl. Some had Cruise-O-Matics while others had four-speeds. Each had the Indy 500 graphics made for Ford by 3M.
Ford shipped these convertibles to Louisville, Kentucky, shortly after the race and sold them to dealers with the highest bids. Alderman Ford in Indianapolis successfully bid on a dozen or so of the pace car replicas. Needless to say, these cars sold quickly. What makes them hard to track is their status as run-of-the-mill production units. No special DSO codes or paint color.
While they don't yet know enough about the 35 festival convertibles, they do know something about the three actual Holman-Moody-prepared pace car convertibles built to pace the race. One paced the race. The other two were backup cars. The cars were all painted Wimbledon White. On race day only 2 of these cars actually made the parade lap, as the third ran into mechanical difficulties. Their vehicle identification numbers were 5F08F100240, 5F08F100241, and 5F08F100242, indicating all were 260-2V convertibles. All had significant chassis preparation. Each was fitted with a Holman-Moody-prepared 289ci V-8 engine. Each of these Mustangs was fitted with grab bars and two-way radios. All three were produced as 260-2V convertibles and shipped to Holman-Moody. One of these cars survives today in Florida, owned by Bruce Weiss. The other two haven't been accounted for.
So, how do the approximately 190 Pace Car White Mustang hardtops fit into the pace car picture? For one thing, the pace car hardtop replicas really have little in common with the 38 Wimbledon White drop-tops at Indy. These pace car hardtops were Pace Car White (Color Code "C", 1964 only), had Trim Code 42 (white with blue appointments) interiors, and were equipped with the "F" code 260-2V V-8 with Cruise-O-Matic transmission. Note that none of these were actually at the Indianapolis 500, they were just replicas built for general use, just like the vast majority of the Z11's.
The hardtops were produced for the Checkered and Green Flag contests, which were dealer incentives designed to both promote the new Mustang and indicate the Mustang's status as the official Indy 500 pace car for 1964. Each sales district arranged its dealers into groups based on sales volume in the preceding 12 months. A sales objective for April 1964 was established for each dealer in each group. Dealers who exceeded their sales objective by the greatest percentage in its group qualified to compete against all other group winners in the district.
Ford had already decided the total number of winners because the pace car replicas were assembled consecutively in mid-April 1964. The total number of winners, by district, was also predetermined since each of the pace car hardtops had a standard two-digit DSO code on the warranty plate. There were five standard-order DSO code pace car Mustangs per sales district for a total of 180 units. Each sales district determined the allocation of winners based on the best percentage of sales. The very best were declared Checker Flag winners. Second Place winners were Green Flag contest winners. Ford was aiming for an even split between the two contests. But it didn't turn out that way.
Since each sales district had considerable flexibility in conducting their contests and determining winners, the number of winners of each contest was inconsistent among the districts. There were many ties between dealers, particularly small-volume dealers. This created logistics issues across the land. Ford had already produced 180 hardtops for the two contests, but they needed more as a result of the ties. Approximately 10 more Pace Car White hardtops had to be produced in early May to meet the need. They say "approximately 10" because it has never been determined with documentation how many were produced. This is based on available documentation that addresses winning dealers.
Because these additional pace car hardtops were ordered internally by Ford, with no idea who the winning dealers would be at the time, they were ordered as DSO 84 (Home Office Reserve) units.
Checkered Flag winners (105 of them) were invited to Dearborn, Michigan, to pick up their free Mustang pace car hardtops in a nice ceremony with then-Ford Division General Manager Lee Iacocca. Dealers had the option of driving their winnings home or having them shipped. Green Flag winners had to stay home and pay for their prize with a $500 discount.