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This Red '73 Begs Mercy for Its Original 454 Big-Block, Deserves a $16K Chance at Life

“There’s no replacement for displacement” is the catchphrase used as a forced-induction-curse-fending mantra by segregationist gearheads convinced the Earth is a four-barrel-carbureted V8. Agreed, their creed might hold water under certain circumstances. But does anyone remember the saddening 70s and boring 80s? Detroit sure does, and that memory is about as enthusiastic as a wake for an annoying aunt’s cat.
1973 Chevrolet Corvette 454 V8 6 photos
Photo: craigslist.org
1973 Chevrolet Corvette 454 V81973 Chevrolet Corvette 454 V81973 Chevrolet Corvette 454 V81973 Chevrolet Corvette 454 V81973 Chevrolet Corvette 454 V8
For the piston-worshipping ultra-fundamentalist enthusiast, the eighth decade of the last century of the past millennium is the supreme crank damnation. The federal government brought Horsepower wars between manufacturers to an abrupt cease-(combustion-)fire. Consequently, engines – big and small in the block – lost almost every cubic inch of pedal appeal.

Curiously, engine sizes didn’t diminish, but performance nose-dived so hard it could have been measured in groundhog-power, thus sparing the mighty horse from a dishonoring association with pushrods.

We probably will never experience a similar incident to what motoring radicals had to endure when the legendary machines of the late sixties and 1970 got axed by anti-hydro-carbon countermeasures. Take Chevrolet as an example: after taunting the V8 universe with the L-88 and the ZL-1 deities, the carmaker had to settle buyers’ craving for motoring with dismal replacements.

1973 Chevrolet Corvette 454 V8
Photo: craigslist.org
As if the federal blow on exhaust pipe fumes wasn’t enough, 1973 brought another life sentence: changing engine output specification to net ratings. That wasn’t a direct intervention on performance, but the psychological effect was devastating. Suddenly, Detroit muscles were bleeding horsepowers, and sales brochures had to pair over-seven-liter displacements with shameful go-fast numbers.

Since we mentioned 1973, here’s one victim of that double-impact year. A big-block Chevrolet Corvette with a 454 plant under its cowl. Sadly, it’s not the mighty LS6 – it couldn’t be – but the decrepit LS-4. This big 7.4-liter V8 would be Corvette’s last big-block song, which didn’t last long. At the end of 1974, it was gone forever.

Luckily, there are cars from that era that have made it to 2023 to tell the sagging truth about the Malaise Era. This red 1973 Corvette was born half a century ago and has managed to hold on to its factory-installed LS-4 motor to this day.

1973 Chevrolet Corvette 454 V8
Photo: craigslist.org
When it left the factory, this final-generation big-block Corvette (one of 4,412 454-cars assembled for the model year) bragged with 275 net hp (278 PS) at 4,400 RPM and 380 lb-ft of torque (515 Nm) at 2,800 RPM.

Its current owner has decided to let go of the classic. Initially acquired as a project, the Corvette has received new suspensions with recessed trailing arms, new headers, and 2.5-inch (63.5-mm) exhausts. As the seller claims, this veteran ‘Vette needs plenty of tender loving care – the paint, body, and interior need work (the gallery could give a better glimpse of its condition).

The car is said to be run and drive, but its polished alloy wheels haven’t seen much road life in recent years. The vehicle is advertised by a seller from Bend, Oregon, but is sold on a clean California title for the asking price of $16,500.

The demoted 454 V8 is linked to an automatic transmission (the three-speed Turbo-Hydramatic), but we don’t know if its numbers match the chassis and engine. The car is listed on Craigslist with approximately 74,500 miles on its tab (almost 120k kilometers).
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About the author: Razvan Calin
Razvan Calin profile photo

After nearly two decades in news television, Răzvan turned to a different medium. He’s been a field journalist, a TV producer, and a seafarer but found that he feels right at home among petrolheads.
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