A Stock Drag Race Between Two Unlikely Muscle Cars Ends With David Beating Goliath - story fullscreen Fullscreen

A Stock Drag Race Between Two Unlikely Muscle Cars Ends With David Beating Goliath

This classic muscle drag race between a 1965 Chevrolet Chevelle Malibu SS and a 1967 Dodge Coronet R/T Convertible proves even the base muscle cars were fast enough

Classic car drag races never get old as we are always curious to see how different versions of 1960s and 1970s muscle cars perform on the drag strip 50 years after their production. This Cars and Zebras drag race is between two unlikely cars. We say that because both the 1967 Dodge Coronet and 1965 Chevrolet Chevelle Malibu SS are relatively base versions so, naturally, we were curious how they would perform over a quarter-mile.

1965 Chevrolet Chevelle Malibu Super Sport

A Stock Drag Race Between Two Unlikely Muscle Cars Ends With David Beating Goliath
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In 1965, the SS moniker did not mean much as even a base, 120-horsepower inline-six Chevelle could have the Super Sport appearance package. This one, however, has a 327 cubic-inch L74 V-8. This means a 10.5:1 compression ratio, 300 horsepower at 5,000 RPM, and 360 pound-feet (488 Nm) at 3,200 RPM.

Power is sent to the rear through a two-speed PowerGlide automatic with 3.55 gears. According to the narrator, the PowerGlide may have only two forward gears, but needs only 25 horsepower to spin, meaning very little powertrain loss.

1967 Dodge Coronet R/T Convertible

A Stock Drag Race Between Two Unlikely Muscle Cars Ends With David Beating Goliath
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Factory R/T badging always spells big engine and when it comes to factory MOPARs, it doesn’t get much bigger than the 440 cubic-inch Magnum V-8. With a 10.1:1 compression ratio, the mighty pushrod was conservatively rated at 375 horsepower at 4,600 RPM and 480 pound-feet (651 Nm) at 3,200 RPM.

Power hits the road through a three-speed TorqueFlite automatic, which needs 45 horsepower to spin. The Coronet features a not very drag-race-friendly 2.96 gearing. Being a convertible, it’s also a bit heavier – 4,012 pounds (1,820 kg).

The drag race

A Stock Drag Race Between Two Unlikely Muscle Cars Ends With David Beating Goliath
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As always, it’s best out of three, quarter-mile drag races from a standing start. The first run clearly shows how important gearing is. The long-legged Dodge Coronet may be a relaxing drive on the highway, but that doesn’t win drag races. The less powerful Chevelle Malibu SS wins, crossing the line in 14.18 seconds at 97.42 mph (156.78 km/h) versus the Coronet R/T’s 14.80-second time at 94.31 mph (151.77 km/h).

Race two was a bit closer, but it confirmed what was already obvious. The Malibu’s shorter gearing helped it reach the quarter-mile first, with a time of 14.30 seconds at 97.03 mph (156.15 km/h) versus the Dodge Coronet’s 14.61 seconds at 94.70 mph (152.40 km/h).

In the end, these are two very different setups that excel in completely different aspects. This drag battle, however, is won by the car with the smaller engine, but shorter gearing.


Dim Angelov
Dim Angelov
Born in 1992, I come from a family of motoring enthusiasts. My passion for cars was awoken at the age of six, when I saw a Lamborghini Diablo SV in a magazine. After high school I earned a master’s degree in marketing and a Master of Arts in Media and Communications. Over the years, I’ve practiced and become skilled in precision driving and to date have test driven more than 250 cars across the globe. Over the years, I’ve picked up basic mechanical knowledge and have even taken part in the restoration of a 1964 Jaguar E-Type and an Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint. Lately, I’ve taken a fancy to automotive photography, and while modern cars are my primary passion, I also have a love for Asian Martial Arts, swimming, war history, craft beer, historical weapons, and car restoration. In time, I plan my own classic car restoration and hope to earn my racing certificate, after which I expect to establish my own racing team.  Read full bio
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