The Spirit of ’76: Start Your Corvette Summer Now with this Stingray

1976 Corvette for sale

Prior to the third-generation Corvette, America’s sports car had seen frequent restyles and upgrades. In contrast, the ’68-82 cars saw only nose and tail revisions in ’73-74, and the addition of a glass fastback window in 1978. The slide into neglect didn’t end there. Having begun life offering a variety of powerful engines, by 1976, the poor C3s were suffering from deleterious power losses at the hands of the EPA and legislators in California, with further ignominy to come. On the track, none of that mattered, and John Greenwood’s maniacal, star-spangled take on the Corvette was winning races. And even when Greenwood’s cars weren’t winning races, they still looked and sounded more brutally violent than anything else on the track.

1976 Corvette for sale

Thankfully, the C3 was designed in the 1960s, when a big-block engine was still an object Chevrolet considered an important thing for a sports car to carry on its option sheet. So even if the full-plastic ’Vettes were sucking the wind of their immediate predecessors and only offered neutered 350- and 305-cubic-inch V-8s, the modular nature of Chevrolet’s parts bin, as well as huge aftermarket support for blocks both small and big, made injecting a shot of testosterone into your wheezing machine as simple as spending some ducats and turning some wrenches.

Which is apparently what a previous owner of this 1976 Corvette did. Under that high, cowl-induction hood sits a 454-cubic-inch V-8. For a child of the late-’70s/early-’80s, a 454 was about the baddest-ass engine ever, mainly because it was still available in trucks, and thus relevant in a young mind, while the 426 Hemi had vanished into the ether—an abstraction that only appeared as a collection of plastic parts to be snipped from a Revell sprue. And although Ford’s 460 could still be had, “four-sixty” just doesn’t have the palindromic snap of “four-fifty-four.” Heck, even the one-louder 455s from Buick, Pontiac, and Oldsmobile don’t have the same ring. As a displacement number, only Chrysler’s “440” sounds as mean.

And if you’ve got a 454 and a Corvette, you’ve gotta have sidepipes. So there are sidepipes. And because it’s the 1970s, you obviously need a chrome luggage rack. As one staffer noted upon seeing the car, “Strap a three-foot bong to the rack and hit the highway.” How’s a Sheboygan-to-Denver road trip sound this July? Scrape together $21,995, and the rest of the summer of 2016 could belong to you, your ’76 ‘Vette, and your cherished water pipe.

“The Spirit of ’76” is C/D’s 4th-of-July holiday-weekend series highlighting some of the most awesome cars for sale from our nation’s bicentennial year.

from Car and Driver Blog

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