This Drag Race Between a 1974 Chevrolet Corvette And a 1976 Pontiac Firebird Formula Will Make You Sad About 1970s American Motoring - story fullscreen Fullscreen

This Drag Race Between a 1974 Chevrolet Corvette And a 1976 Pontiac Firebird Formula Will Make You Sad About 1970s American Motoring

Two mid-1970s American icons have a drag race. Prepare to mourn the death of classic muscle cars as both vehicles take ages to go down the quarter-mile

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We can all agree that muscle cars are one of the best things America has given to the world. However, it all went downhill after 1971 thanks to the fuel crisis. Carmakers were forced to de-tune their previously exciting vehicles, spawning a variety of fast-looking cars with a lackluster performance at best. Despite making next to no power, you could still drag race the cars, which is why Cars and Zebras has provided us with this drag race between a 1974 Corvette 350 and a 1976 Pontiac Firebird Formula.

1974 Chevrolet Corvette 350

This Drag Race Between a 1974 Chevrolet Corvette And a 1976 Pontiac Firebird Formula Will Make You Sad About 1970s American Motoring
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Try not to cry. For 1974 the Chevrolet Corvette was painfully nerfed. Its base 350 cubic-inch V-8 was rated at 195 horsepower. Luckily, this one has the optional 350 with a 9.0:1 compression ratio, which is good for 250 horsepower at 5,200 RPM and 285 pound-feet (386 Nm) at 4,000 RPM. On the plus side, there is a four-speed manual transmission with 3.73 gears. For all its fiberglass bodywork, the 1974 Corvette isn’t as light as it used to be – 3,750 pounds (1,701 kg) with the driver.

1976 Pontiac Firebird Formula

This Drag Race Between a 1974 Chevrolet Corvette And a 1976 Pontiac Firebird Formula Will Make You Sad About 1970s American Motoring
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If the Corvette’s performance figures made your eyes water, the Pontiac will make you burst into tears. Luckily, this particular Formula has the 400 cubic-inch V-8, as opposed to the base 350. However, thanks to a 7.6:1 compression ratio, it packs just 20 horsepower more. This makes for a whopping 185 horsepower at a “screaming” 3,600 RPM and 310 pound-feet (420 Nm) at 1,600 RPM. Like the “Vette”, it packs a four-speed manual with 3.42 gears. At 4,065 pounds (1,844 kg), it’s a good amount heavier than the Corvette.

The drag race

This Drag Race Between a 1974 Chevrolet Corvette And a 1976 Pontiac Firebird Formula Will Make You Sad About 1970s American Motoring
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The races looked more like two classic American cars cruising around. The first win goes to the 1976 Pontiac Firebird Formula, which manages a blistering quarter-mile time of 17.19 seconds at 72.52 mph (116.7 km/h). The Corvette, meanwhile, lags behind with a quarter-mile time of 18.28 seconds and a trap speed of 78.29 mph (126 km/h).

This Drag Race Between a 1974 Chevrolet Corvette And a 1976 Pontiac Firebird Formula Will Make You Sad About 1970s American Motoring
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Another race is in order, and this time, the cars switch lanes. This time, the Pontiac finishes in 16.63 seconds at 83.79 mph (134.84 km/h) versus the Corvette’s 17.26 seconds at 85.13 mph (137 km/h).

This Drag Race Between a 1974 Chevrolet Corvette And a 1976 Pontiac Firebird Formula Will Make You Sad About 1970s American Motoring
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While this drag race was definitely on the slow side, compared to what we are used to, it clearly represents an era of American motoring that’s best forgotten. On the plus side, these castrated versions of once great cars make for great projects. There’s plenty of room for an LS engine in there, which would turn either of these cars into 11-second drag slayers.


Dim Angelov
Dim Angelov
Born in 1992, I come from a family of motoring enthusiasts. My passion for cars was awoken at the age of six, when I saw a Lamborghini Diablo SV in a magazine. After high school I earned a master’s degree in marketing and a Master of Arts in Media and Communications. Over the years, I’ve practiced and become skilled in precision driving and to date have test driven more than 250 cars across the globe. Over the years, I’ve picked up basic mechanical knowledge and have even taken part in the restoration of a 1964 Jaguar E-Type and an Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint. Lately, I’ve taken a fancy to automotive photography, and while modern cars are my primary passion, I also have a love for Asian Martial Arts, swimming, war history, craft beer, historical weapons, and car restoration. In time, I plan my own classic car restoration and hope to earn my racing certificate, after which I expect to establish my own racing team.  Read full bio
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