We are all in for a treat with these two classic muscle cars racing head-to-head down the drag strip, but at the end, there can only be one winner.
Drag racing classic muscle cars never fails to draw the attention of car lovers young and old(er). In the video, we see a 1970 Plymouth Barracuda take on a 1969 Chevrolet Chevelle in a best of two-out-of-three drag race showdown. First, a quick rundown of the cars doing battle.
1970 Plymouth Barracuda
In 1970, the Plymouth Barracuda base model featured a 383 ci V8 paired with a four-speed manual transmission. The 1970 ‘Cuda in the Cars and Zebras YouTube video features the optional 426 Hemi V8, which produced 425 hp at 5,500 rpm and 490 lb-ft of torque at 4,000 rpm. As delivered from the factory, the optional “drag race friendly” three-speed TorqueFlite automatic transmission, with a 4:10:1 rear differential ratio, weighed in at 3,745 lbs with the driver.
Car Craft magazine tested a 1970 Hemi ‘Cuda at a drag strip and achieved a time of 13.69 seconds at 105.63 mph.
In 1970, a new Plymouth Barracuda cost $3,100 on the showroom floor, but adding the Hemi option added another $871. There were 666 1970 Hemi ‘Cudas produced overall, and of those, only 652 were hardtop models. This makes the 426 Hemi with automatic transmission equipped 1970 Plymouth Barracuda hardtop relatively rare and highly collectible.
1969 Chevrolet Chevelle SS
In 1969, the Chevrolet Malibu included the Chevelle lineup as well. The 1969 Chevelle featured several V8 engine options, including the $350 Super Sport or SS package, which included the 396 ci big-block V8. On top of the SS package, the 1969 Chevelle featured here has the L89 option, which in 1969, cost an additional $647 on top of the base $2,600 V8 Malibu price and the SS package.
The L89 optioned 396 ci V8 included four-bolt main bearings, forged crankshaft and connecting rods, solid valve lifters, a 780 CFM Holley carburetor, an aluminum intake manifold, and aluminum heads that shaved off 85 lbs on the front of the car.
With an 11:1 compression ratio, the L89 made 375 hp at 5,600 rpm and 415 lb-ft of torque at 3,600 rpm from the factory and featured either a manual four-speed transmission or a Turbo-400 automatic three-speed automatic like the Chevelle featured in the video. The featured 1969 Chevelle is rare, with only 67 L89 automatic transmission-equipped models produced.
Let’s Go Racing!
After introducing the cars, the video gets into the drag race we came to see, a “Best two out of three race” series. Round one sees the Chevelle winning with an ET of 11.76 at 117.98 mph, compared to the ‘Cuda’s 11.83 ET at 118.32 mph. Round two starts as the Chevelle jumps the start for a red light loss but still runs an 11.85 ET at 111.00 mph compared to the ‘Cuda’s better ET of 11.77 at 117.95 mph.
Tied at one race win each, the cars stage for round three. Round three ends with both cars running their best passes as the Chevelle runs an 11.73 ET at 118.85 mph and the ‘Cuda runs an 11.67 ET at 118.73 mph. However, even with the faster pass, the ‘Cuda jumped the start tree resulting in a disqualifying red-light start giving the Chevelle the win. Overall, this match-up ends with the Chevelle winning two out of three races for the overall victory, but bragging rights are up for debate.