In an all-out GM battle, the ol’ Vette shows who’s the boss, out on the drag stripby Khris Bharath, on LISTEN 05:04
The 1969 Chevrolet Corvette 427 L88 is a bit of a legend, isn’t it? It has to be one of the best Corvettes ever made. Its stomping performance continues to surprise people today as it did back nearly five decades ago. This video by Road Test TV of the L88 taking on some pretty potent competitors of its day is proof of what the ol’ Vette can do on the drag strip.
1969 Chevrolet Corvette L88
Aside from its classic shark body and side gills, the big draw on the Chevy Corvette fitted with the legendary Big-Block L88 engines are as rare as they get. Its 427ci or 7.0-liter V-8 was good for 430 horsepower and 450 pound-feet of torque or does it. Well, that is on paper.
Rumour has it that these things are capable of pushing out over 500 ponies. This particular car had the M22 four-speed manual a.k.a the Rock Crusher. Tipping the scales at just 3,200 lbs, just 69 examples were ever produced in this configuration.
1970 Camaro Z28
The first car to go up against the L88 was this 1970 Camaro Z28. Under the hood was Chevy’s small-block 350ci or 5.7-liter V- that put out 360 horsepower and 392 pound-feet of torque.
It was just over 100 pounds heavier than the Vette, but that really didn’t play out in the Camaro’s favor as the L88 punched in an impressive 11.72 seconds at 123 mph to complete the 1/4 mile while the Z28 did the same distance in 13.48 seconds at 102 mph.
1969 Chevelle SS396
Next up, is this 1969 Chevelle SS 396, a legend in its own right. This o particular car is rocking the optional L78/L89, which meant that the 360ci or 6.5-liter engine featured an aluminum head. Coming in at 3400 pounds, the Chevelle too was no match against the might of the L88.
The Corvette crossed the finish line in a consistent 11.72 seconds at 123 mph while the Chevelle was just over a second behind at 12.5 seconds at 114 mph to do the standing 1/4.
1972 Olds 442 W30
Third, in line was this fiery orange 1972 Olds 442 W-30. Under the hood is a 455ci or 7.5-liter V-8 that was rated for a net 300 horsepower and 410-pound-feet of torque. The Olds was also considerably heavier than the previous two cars. Having said that, it was a closely fought battle with the Vette.
Up until the mid-way point it looked like the Olds had un under control, but the L88 just about managed to beat it to the line. How close? The Corvette did the 1/4 mile in 11.88 seconds at 123 mph, while the Olds was close behind at 12.09 seconds and 115.47 mph.
1969 ZL-1 Camaro
The last car on this list was yet another car from the same year. A ’69 Camaro ZL-1. Under the hood lurks a 427ci or 7.0-liter V-8 that pumps out 430 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque.
At 3100 pounds, the ZL-1 is 100 pounds lighter than the L88. Will that help? We got the answer, moments later. It was all down to the reaction times on this pass. The Corvette, once again, managed a sub-12 second pass. 11.77 seconds at 122 mph against the ZL-1’s 12.04 seconds at 118 mph.
You can watch the L88 put out consistent 1/4 mile times in the high 11s. Its fastest 1/4 mile pass for the day was 11.57 seconds at 123 mph. Now obviously, I’ve only touched upon the basic specs in this post.
There’s so much more to these 1/4 mile times, like tires, compression ratios, and rear axle gearing. But, regardless the Pure Stock Class allows for very limited mods, to begin with, so this is as close to stock as possible and the L88 remains a dominant force.