The “454” emblem on the hood of this 1974 Corvette tells you all you need to know about this car up for sale on craigslist.com out of the Los Alamitos, California area – southeast of Los Angeles.
That year was the last time such a big block engine would be resting in the front end of any Corvette, at least from the factory.
Only 3,494 such engines left the St. Louis factory that year as the nation had begun moving in the direction of more fuel-efficient powerplants in the midst of the OPEC oil embargo of October ’73.
I was a high school student when the ’74s came out, and I remember thinking the rubber bumpers were the coolest thing around even though nowadays the chrome bumpers of the ’68-73 cars are preferred by more enthusiasts. Chevy was forced to change to the new style of bumpers because of the federal 5 mph bumper standard, with the process arriving in two stages – the front in ’73 and the rear in ’74. You can tell a ’74 from a ’75 because the ’74 was a two-piece rear bumper, with a seam down the middle splitting the Corvette emblem between the “V” and the “E.” The ’75 became a one-piece bumper.
Of course, the oil crisis forced lots of changes for the automotive industry, most notably a decrease in power output. Despite having a 454 engine, this ’74 Corvette produced just 270 horsepower and was capable of doing the quarter-mile in about 14 and a half seconds.
This example is said to be a one-owner car with one repaint in the original Corvette Orange, a color that just says the ‘70s to a lot of folks. While photos don’t always tell an accurate story, the paint appears to be more than acceptable, though if you look closely around the radio antenna and around the rear of the luggage rack, there appears to be some sort of fading or discoloration going on. It could be just the way the light is reflecting, but it would bear closer examination.
For a 47-year-old car, the interior, said to be original, still looks to be in pretty good condition, but the silver leather is a curious choice. Black or saddle would seem to have been a more appropriate choice for an Ontario Orange exterior.
The engine bay is said to have been disassembled for radiator replacement and detailing, with all bits either rebuilt or replaced, powder coated or painted. Unfortunately, reassembly is still required, but the seller promises that the car remains driveable for loading onto a trailer. Apparently, he doesn’t want to work on the car anymore, as health and storage issues are noted as the reasons behind the sale.
The mid-70s weren’t a particularly memorable time for Corvettes, looking back, but to those of us who grew up during that time frame, we still have fond recollections of these cars. Maybe we just didn’t know any better, that much better days were ahead for our favorite car, and that’s why sales remained strong, with some 37,502 units produced for ’74.
What do you think?
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