The 1974 Corvette was out of Place in its Time but Still Thrived
The 1974 Corvette was part of a bleak time in history when OPEC decides to turn off its pipelines and create a worldwide energy crisis that would hit Americans especially hard. Surging fuel prices and long lines at the gas pumps due to waning supplies made gas guzzlers even less attractive than they had been in the years prior and it was this sort of unfortunate event that made the 1974 Corvette seem almost out of place for the time. Still the super car did eventually prove to thrive.
The 1974 Corvette is easily recognized as it was the first Vette to install the Federally mandated five mile per hour rear bumper. Like the 1973 Corvette’s front bumper, the 1974 Corvette’s rear bumper was coated in polyurethane and colored to match the car. This gave the car a better overall symmetric look and though there were now two bumpers, there was no decrease in aerodynamics.
The year of 1974 actually marked the end of many standards for Corvette and all other cars and certainly saw the ushering in of a new area. For example, all engines in 1974 were being manufactured to run only on unleaded fuel as that was going to be federally mandated in 1975 anyway because of the change to catalytic converters. For the Corvette in particular, the 1974 model year marked the last year that the Vette would sport a big block engine.
New for the 1974 Corvette was a performance package called the RPO FE7 Gymkhana Suspension and it would prove to be one of the best bargains in performance for the Vette ever. At only seven bucks more, the buyer could get higher rate springs, and special shocks which improved the handling exponentially.
Though only putting out a fraction of the horsepower from the past classic Vettes, the 1974 Corvette was still surprisingly quick. The L82 250 horsepower engine would take the 1974 Corvette from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 7.5 seconds and would produce speeds in excess of 125 miles per hour.
Though still a bit noisy, the 1974 Corvette had worked its way into being a true luxury touring car. Though a sports car also being a luxury car was usually an oxymoron, the 1974 Corvette had plenty of comforts to allow it this distinction.
With a sagging economy and gas prices that were not so friendly the 1974 Corvette still proved its worth. At the end of the model year run the Vette moved 37,502 units which was an unbelievable statement considering all that the country was going through. If the Corvette had become a shell of the once great muscle car of the past, you wouldn’t have known it. No matter what the conditions were, the fact was that a Corvette was still a Corvette and was to be coveted by all those who loved the Vette for what it had done in the past and ultimately what it might do in the future and nobody or nothing, not even OPEC, could stop it.