1971 Hemi ‘Cuda Races 1969 Camaro ZL1

May 27, 2021 2 min read
1971 Hemi ‘Cuda Races 1969 Camaro ZL1

Which do you think will charge into victory?


A lot of people wonder which would win in a race: the 1971 Plymouth Hemi ‘Cuda or the 1969 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. It’s a natural thing to think about, considering both represent a particularly potent spec geared specifically at getting down the track faster than the competition. That’s exactly what we get with the include video, which is great. Seeing two rare muscle cars created during the horsepower wars duke it out on the drag strip sure is a special treat.

See how modern muscle cars do in drag races here.

Of course, when it comes to rarity, the ’69 Camaro ZL1 wins hands down. Sure, not many people ponied up the several hundred dollars for the Hemi ‘Cuda option, but it was a much more popular model by far. The ZL1 set buyers back by an astounding $4,160 back in the day, so it was far too rich for most enthusiasts, no matter how dedicated they were to Chevrolet. That’s why a mere 69 of the cars were made, so you don’t see many around.

image credit: YouTube

When it comes to the ‘Cuda, it of course hits hard with a 426ci Hemi V8, which is supposed to have 425-horsepower and 490 lb.-ft. of torque from the factory. However, that’s underrated by a good bit. A TorqueFlite 3-speed automatic transmission means the driver can’t screw up a run with a messy gear change, even if that does mean less fun and potentially worse acceleration. Unfortunately, we don’t know what the rear gears are for this Mopar. Tipping the scale at about 3,721 lbs., this ‘Cuda is a fairly lightweight fish.

image credit: YouTube

As for the Chevrolet, it’s powered by a 427ci ZL1 V8 rated at 430-hp and 450 lb.-ft. of torque. Just like with the ‘Cuda, those ratings are well below the reality. Also, the Camaro features a TH400 automatic transmission, so at least these two cars are fairly matched in that respect. Just like on the Plymouth, the rear gears on this Chevy are a mystery. The Camaro ZL1 gets a slight advantage since its curb weight is about 3,500 lbs.

Both cars appear to be stock, but there might be some non-obvious engine modifications. After all, the Hemi ‘Cuda is apparently kicking out 1000-hp, and that’s without forced induction. But wait, the Camaro ZL1 has also been modified so the engine is making over 700-hp

It feels like this could be anyone’s race, but ultimately only one can win. Which do you think it will be? Check out the video to see if you were right, then leave a comment to let us know if you guessed right.

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