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IROC-S Pace Car #001
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
After years of research and chasing leads, all of my IROC-S El Camino Pace Car questions were answered with one 30 minute phone call to Mr. Terry Rutherford, a former executive with Choo Choo until 1990. Mr. Rutherford was a wealth of information and was kind enough to take time out of his day to tell me everything about the 1985-1986 IROC-S Pace Cars; he was the person at Choo Choo who actually designed the IROC, so no one knows more about them than him. I listed our conversation in Q and A form below, paraphrasing what Mr. Rutherford said. This thread is long (as we had a long talk), but it is very informative if you are interested. Enjoy.

Q: If it is said that only 15 IROC’s were built, why have I found IROC’s without number plaques, that were built after #15?
A: Some dealers sent plain white Choo Choo El Caminos back to Choo Choo to be converted to IROC’s. These un-numbered IROC’s are still authentic, but unfortunately there is no real way to authenticate them. In actuality, around 20 IROC’s were built.

Q: How many IROC’s actually paced IROC races?
A: Only the first prototype IROC-S (#001) paced the races in 1985. Several other IROC’s (unknown which ones) were loaned to the IROC series for track service duty.

Q: I found a 1986 Super Chevy magazine article that says IROC-S #001 was equipped with an all aluminum 350, but it now has the stock 305 in it…was that incorrect information?
A: No, the Super Chevy article was right. Before it was given to the IROC series, Choo Choo removed the 305 out of #001 and put in the all aluminum 350 that is currently in the 1986 Indianapolis Track Service El Camino. When #001 was retired as a pace car and Chevy wanted Choo Choo to build the Indy El Camino, the aluminum 350 was removed from #001 and installed in the Indy El Camino, then the 305 was reinstalled in #001.

Q: Why does #001 have a sticker on the dash that says “Not Street Useable,” and why does it not have a Choo Choo re-cert decal in the door?
A: Because the original motor was pulled out of #001 and Choo Choo installed the 350, #001 was voided of all factory warranties and was technically not street legal.

Q: #001 has special Goodyear tires that are serial numbered and have the lettering upside down with “NOT FOR SALE” stamped on the sidewall. Why is this?
A: Those were special tires installed by Goodyear at the request of the IROC series. The lettering is reversed so that when the Elky was on an elevated display, the lettering was right side up at eye level. They were not meant to be sold.

Q: Why are the graphics on #001 hand painted, whereas the other IROC’s have smaller decals?
A: #001 was the prototype; it was not economical to hand paint the decals on the other cars.

Various other facts from Mr. Rutherford:
- Neither IROC-S #001 nor the Indy Track Service El Camino were ever meant to be sold, however plans changed when Choo Choo as a company was sold.
- The red and blue paint on #001 is a custom candy, whereas the other IROC’s received similar GM colors that were not candy.
- #001 and the Indy Elky both have the same Suntune oil pressure gauge on the dash because they both had the all aluminum 350 in them.
 

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E-Man,
Great information and a very enjoyable thread! Liked it alot!

Doug
 

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Thanks for the information. How did you come to acquire #001? Did you have any problem registering it with the "Not Street Useable" sticker on the dash?
 

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IROC-S Pace Car #001
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675 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the information. How did you come to acquire #001? Did you have any problem registering it with the "Not Street Useable" sticker on the dash?
I bought it in 2008. Believe it or not, we found it on autotrader at a dealer in Michigan. The dealer had bought it at a classic car auction after a wealthy car collector passed away. #001 and the Indy El Camino were owned by the same guy, and they sat right next to eachother in his garage. It only had 640 miles on the odometer and was still on the Manufacturers Certificate of Origin and had never been titled. No, we didn't have any issue registering it. We're planning on taking it up to the November Turkey Run at Daytona Speedway this year.
 

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IROC-S Pace Car #001
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675 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
I registered #001 for the Turkey Run at Daytona in November. I had to get approval from the shows admin because they don't accept vehicles post 1980 without pre-approval. We'll probably trailer it up early Friday morning. Any other members going?
 

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IROC-S Pace Car #001
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675 Posts
Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
Here is an article about #001 from the February 1986 issue of Super Chevy magazine.

The second attachment works, but I can't get the 1st attachment to open, sorry Im not the most computer literate person.
 

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IROC-S Pace Car #001
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675 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
Special thanks to Mr. Terry Rutherford and the E-Man for that great lesson in El Camino History! Do you think we can get Mr. Rutherford to register as a member of NECOA and share more of his unique knowledge??
I'll send him an email right now asking...Ill keep you posted.
 

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Administrator
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Thread Moved

This is not BS. I moved the Thread to "Site Topics" and gave it a "STAR" review................Ken :beer:
 

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IROC-S Pace Car #001
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675 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
Special thanks to Mr. Terry Rutherford and the E-Man for that great lesson in El Camino History! Do you think we can get Mr. Rutherford to register as a member of NECOA and share more of his unique knowledge??
He said he's busy with other things right now, but he appreciated the invite and may join in the future.
 

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Executive Committee Board Member
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727 Posts
Best to you and your Dad.... I wish I was gonna be in FLA for the Turkey Run.

Be sure to post lots of Pics

And thanks for sharing the Super Chevy article and the Terry Rutherford conversation (you said it was long... not long ENOUGH for me!)- I always read your posts with interest and admiration
 

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IROC-S Pace Car #001
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675 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
I found some new info. Two weeks ago I went to the Turkey Run car show at Daytona Speedway and spoke with Mike Goodman, President of Honest Charley Speed Shop. Im sure most of you know, Honest Charley basically absorbed Choo Choo Customs when Choo Choo went out of business years ago. Goodman was an executive at Choo Choo before becoming president of HC. Mr. Goodman was very eager to help me find some information after I told him I owned the IROC-S pace car Elky. When he went back to Tennessee after the show, he searched through all of the old Choo Choo archives and found me original studio photographs of my IROC, as well as the original letter from 1984 from a GM executive that requested my IROC to be built.

In June of 1984, a red and white IROC El Camino display vehicle was show-cased at the Michigan International Speedway, along with several IROC Camaros to promote the I.R.O.C. racing series. This IROC Elky was not a pace car, rather it was a display vehicle used only at this event in 1984 to create a buzz (you can see a pic of this display IROC Elky on the iroc-s.com site, home page half way down on the left side). P.A. Miller, Jr (General Motors Truck Manager in 1984) was so impressed by the response to this display IROC Elky he sent a letter (attached below) to Choo Choo Customs requesting that a series of IROC El Camino's be created to be sold for the 1985 model year. After this letter was sent; my IROC-S #001 was born to pace the 1985 Michigan International IROC race, and 14 replica IROC's were created to be sold. I also attached an original photo Mr Goodman sent me that shows my #001 being completed at the Choo Choo factory before it was sent to Michigan to pace the race. You can see several other 1985 Choo Choo vehicles in the background.

Mr Goodman went out of his way to find me all of these pictures and documents to help me out, and I will continue to show him and Honest Charley my gratitude with my business. They are very good people over there.
 

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