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1974 Chevrolet Corvette Drag Races 1976 Pontiac Firebird, Instantly Regrets It

The 1973 Oil Crisis and the new emissions regulations that came with it quickly turned muscle cars into mundane vehicles that barely delivered 200 horsepower by the late 1970s. That's why drag races involving Malaise-Era cars aren't exactly exciting. Well, here's an exception that includes a pair of upgraded cars from the mid-1970s.
1974 Chevrolet Corvette vs 1976 Pontiac Firebird drag race 6 photos
1974 Chevrolet Corvette1974 Chevrolet Corvette1976 Pontiac Firebird1976 Pontiac Firebird1974 Chevrolet Corvette vs 1976 Pontiac Firebird drag race
This duel sees a 1974 Chevrolet Corvette and a 1976 Pontiac Firebird get together for quarter-mile glory. And it's an unfair battle on paper. That's because this Corvette came with a 350-cubic-inch (5.7-liter) V8 rated at 250 horsepower and 285 pound-feet (386 Nm) of torque from the factory.

The Firebird, on the other hand, features a notably larger, 400-cubic-inch (6.6-liter) V8. But because it was built in 1976, the mill was chocked with a 7.6:1 compression ratio and delivered only 185 horsepower. It does fair better in the torque department, though, laying 310 pound-feet (420 Nm) on the ground.

Both cars are fitted with four-speed manual gearboxes and similar rear ratios, meaning it all comes down to output figures and curb weights. The Corvette clearly wins the power battle with an extra 65 horsepower, while the Firebird benefits from an extra 25 pound-feet of twist. However, that advantage is canceled by the extra 300 pounds (136 kg) it needs to move.

All told, the Corvette should have no problem winning this race, right? Well, not exactly.

While they may look stock on the outside, these cars participate in the Pure Stock Muscle Car Drag Race series, which allows a long list of upgrades under the hood. And they usually generate far more oomph than their stock siblings, with some cars pushing more than 600 horsepower.

It's not the case here since these cars aren't notably quicker than stock, but based on what you will see below, the Pontiac seems to have more oomph to work with.

The Firebird takes a comfortable win in the first race, covering the quarter-mile in 17.19 seconds, more than a second quicker than the Corvette. The second race is a tad closer, though, and both cars post notably quicker times. While the Firebird wins with a 16.63 benchmark, the Corvette follows with a 17.26-second sprint.

Yes, it's slower than the usual classic car drag race we usually cover, but it's entertaining nonetheless. And I bet you didn't expect to see the Firebird taking the win. The footage was shot at the 2021 Pure Stock Muscle Car Drag Race event, and you can watch the drama unfold by hitting the play button below.

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