1970 Dodge Challenger vs. 1969 Chevrolet Chevelle Drag Race (Video)
The Chevrolet Camaro is GM’s most celebrated muscle car from the late 1960s, but the Chevelle is nothing to sneeze at either. Also offered with big-block engines, the midsize was just as capable at the drag strip. And this classic drag race between a 1969 Chevelle and a 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T proves just that.
The Chevelle in question is an SS396. If you’re familiar with GM badges from the muscle car era, you probably already know this means there’s a 396 L89 V8 under the hood. That’s a 6.5-liter big-block rated at 375 horsepower and 415 pound-feet (562 Nm) of torque back in the day. This L89 also came with aluminum heads.
Fitted with a three-speed automatic transmission, the 3,690-pound (1,674-kg) coupe was originally tested in the low 14s at the drag strip. Does it have what it takes to win against a 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T?
This Mopar is very similar as far as specs go. Fitted with a 440 (7.2-liter) six-pack V8, this R/T hits the drag strip with 390 horsepower and 490 pound-feet (664 Nm) of twist. All that oomph travels to the rear wheels via a three-speed automatic. On paper, the Challenger is a bit more powerful and a bit lighter at 3,644 pounds (1,653 kg). Interestingly enough, 1970 testing placed the R/T in the 14.4-second bracket, a bit slower than the Chevelle SS396.
But things are a bit different now. Both cars are notably faster down the quarter-mile, and the result is a bit surprising compared to period testing.
Specifically, the Challenger runs the sprint in just 11.66 seconds, to go with a trap speed of 117.07 mph (188.4 kph). The Chevelle is only a tenth-second slower at 11.79 seconds, while its trap speed is just a tad below the Mopar’s at 116.55 mph (187.56 kph). It is a tight photo finish that sees the Challenger R/T win, but I’m pretty sure the Challenger could take it home faster if given a rematch.
Drag race aside, both cars are fine examples of properly maintained classic muscle cars with shiny paint jobs, perfect chrome, and clean engine bays. The metallic blue paint on the Chevelle is gorgeous too, but nothing beats a classic Mopar in Plum Crazy.