“Wild man’s world is crying in pain,
What you gonna do when everybody’s insane?”
That lyric from a “classic” rock tune from the 1970s seems appropriate today. Does anyone know what song it is? It is only very recently that I have realized how much I like it. No, its identity is not revealed here or here.
By this time in 1971, which was already the 1972 model year for automobiles, cars had begun to be de-tuned. Horsepower was given as a net and not gross figure, which exacerbated the perception that cars were becoming less powerful, although that perception was truth, unlike many other instances. Of course, emissions standards and the dictates of insurance companies were the drivers (no pun intended) for these changes.
For example, the most powerful big-block Corvette engine was rated at 425 HP for model year 1971. The next year, that figure dropped to 270 HP. Again, much of the difference was simply a change in the way horsepower was reported, but not all of it.
The 1972 Corvette was also the last of the C3 generation with chrome bumpers front and rear. Less well known is that it was also the last C3 to feature a removable rear window. The picture below is (I hope) a 1972 Corvette convertible:
In 1981, the only engine available in the Corvette was rated at 190 HP/280 LB-FT of torque. That was the last year in which every Corvette sold was rated at under 200 HP. I doubt anyone could have foreseen a day when Corvettes would be available with 600+ HP off the showroom floor that also made much better gas mileage and had fewer emissions than their ancestors. For the nth time, history is replete with examples of the folly of human beings trying to predict the future.
This passage about 1970 from The Genuine Corvette Black Book has long intrigued me:
“An LS7 rated at 460 HP (or 465 HP) was planned and appeared in order guides. It was the big-block version of the LT1, including aluminum heads. A ZR2 package with the LS7 was also planned…The LS7 and ZR2 were cancelled and it is thought none were delivered to retail customers.”
The LS6 option in the 1970 Chevelle was a 454 cubic-inch engine rated at 450 HP, the highest “official” HP rating from any American manufacturer during the original muscle car era (1964-1971). Does anyone know anything else about the LS7? This brief piece discusses the engine, but doesn’t provide too much information.
These automotive “almosts” are very interesting to me. Once again, whatever actually happens is not the only thing that could have happened.
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