Old-School Pure Stock Drag Race: ’69 Vette L88 Unleashes Its Fury Against The ’68 Super Bee
While the numbers seem to be stacked in the Vette’s favor, the real-world results are not what you’d expectby Khris Bharath, on LISTEN 04:48
Pure Stock drag races are fun. As the name suggests you have some pretty tight rules in order to qualify for this class. But I’m sure that it’s the most honest way to find out about the out-of-the-box performance of these old-school muscle cars. This duel between a 69 Vette and the 68 Coronet Super Bee sure does seem to fit the bill rather well. Let’s look at the baseline figures of both these cars.
The Super Stock Class
The primary idea behind this particular class of racing is to bring more people together, where folks don’t just compete but also end up having fun as well while they’re at it. Pure Stock Muscle Car Drag Race or PSMCDR has laid down a set of guidelines and rules that clearly define what can and can’t be changed in order for you to compete. You can take a look at these rules at length here.
1969 Chevrolet Corvette L88
In the silver corner, we’ve got a 1969 Chevrolet Corvette 427 L88. The C3, as many of you may remember, was really a tough act to follow, after the immensely successful C2 Stingray in the early 60s. Its classic shark body and side gills certainly helped it stand out. By the late 60s, the C3 became the poster car for many space enthusiasts as GM handed out three examples of the ’69 Vette dubbed the AstroVette to the crew members of the Apollo12 Space program.
Coming to the car that you see here, this particular example features an L88 427 cubic-inch under the hood. The 7.0-liter Big-Block Chevy V-8 mill put out a factory-rated 430 ponies but in reality, the engine made 530 horsepower and 550 pound-feet of torque. The Big Block is coupled to a four-speed manual gearbox. The C3 Vette tips the scales at 3,461 lbs.
Well, numbers seem to be stacked in the Vette's favor. My money is on the C3. Let's if that translates into the real world. The showdown took place at the Mid-Michigan Motorplex, up in Wyman.
1968 Dodge Super Bee
Meanwhile, in the blue corner, we have an equally stunning 1968 Dodge Super Bee. The Super Bee of course was Dodge’s answer to cars like the Plymouth Road Runner. Those examples sold as stripped-down racers managed to transform the humble Coronet 440 coupe into something far more lethal.
Mopar took care of the mechanicals. Under the hood of this example, you’ve got a HEMI-powered 426 cubic-inch that produces 425 horsepower and 490 pound-feet of torque. The V-8 is mated to a three-speed automatic transmission. The Super Bee tips the scales at 4,109 lbs.
We'll see both cars go head to head across two rounds. Let's see which one comes out on top in this 1/4 mile face-off.
The lights go out and surprisingly, it was not the Vette, but the Super Bee that got the better launch. You can clearly see its front-end lift-off quite a bit. Despite the added weight, the Super Bee managed to narrowly hold off the Vette. The Dodge did the standing quarter in 11.62 seconds (ET) at 108.78 mph as opposed to the Corvette’s 11.63 seconds at 122.21 mph. So that’s round one to the Super Bee.
Round two saw the two cars switch lanes to see if that made a difference. Well, the short answer is yes. The HEMI power helped the Super-Bee to build an even bigger lead over the C3 Vette this time round. It was easily a couple of cars lengths ahead of the Chevy by the mid-way point. The Super Bee demolished the 1/4 mile in 11.57 seconds (ET) at 105.78 mph while the Chevy managed 11.87 seconds at 120.43 mph.
Let’s Sum This Up
It’s a lot of fun revisiting and watching these old-school brutes being let loose on the drag strip. This particular showdown was a duel between two über cool and rare cars. If you are indeed a fan of this class, you can catch the action live at the annual PSMCDR event in September. Watch this space.