454/4-Speed: 1974 Chevrolet Corvette

As the 1970s rolled on, tightening emission laws were biting hard into performance figures of American cars. However, when a big-block equipped Corvette from this era surfaces for sale, it will still generate plenty of interest. That’s the case with this 1974 Corvette, which features a desirable 454ci V8 and 4-speed transmission. It is located in Old Bridge, New Jersey, and is listed for sale here on eBay. Bidding has rapidly pushed on to $7,100, and with the reserve now met, it is a car that is destined to head off to a new home. In addition to the spirited bidding, there are also 99 people who are watching the listing.

The owner doesn’t believe that the paint on the Corvette is original, but that it has undergone a repaint in its original Medium Red at some point in the past. It isn’t perfect, but there are only some pretty minor marks and chips to be seen. I would describe it as being of good driver quality. The owner doesn’t mention any issues with rust or rot, so it is entirely possible that this is a pretty solid car.

The interior is in keeping with the rest of the car in being of presentable driver standard. The seats feature black leather upholstery, and I tend to agree with the owner that it does appear that the driver’s and passenger seat have been swapped at some point. That would help to explain the significantly higher levels of wear on the passenger seat as opposed to the driver’s seat. Still, swapping them back and fitting new covers would not be a difficult job. The owner also notes that the carpet is worn through on the driver’s side, but that the hole is covered with a mat. If the next owner chooses to swap the seats, fitting some new carpet at the same time wouldn’t be a big or expensive task. The rest of the interior appears to be quite presentable, although some items are showing a bit of wear. The next owner could choose to either address these small issues or just leave it as it is. The Corvette is also fitted with factory air conditioning, but this will require a recharge.

The beating heart of the Corvette is a numbers-matching 454ci V8, backed by a 4-speed manual transmission. With 270hp on hand, the Corvette was capable of accelerating from 0-60mph in 6.4 seconds and could cover the ¼ mile in 14.9 seconds. This was a long way short of the times produced by a similarly equipped Corvette of only a few years earlier but were still impressive figures for a car of this era. The good news here is that the Corvette is said to be in sound mechanical health. It runs and drives really well, with no problems or vices. In the owner’s own words, it’s a case of “just step on the gas and hang on!” Sounds like fun to me.

This 1974 Corvette might not be an immaculate example, but its strong point is that it is a big-block survivor that can be driven and enjoyed exactly as it is. Quite often, a driver-quality car can be a better bet for a potential buyer than a concourse example, because these can be driven and enjoyed without that morbid fear that it might wind up with the occasional chip or scratch. I can’t see why this one couldn’t be returned to that sort of state, but I also can’t see a lot wrong with driving and enjoying it exactly as it is.


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  1. rpol35

    Looks like the original two-piece rear cap (1974 only) has been replaced by a later, single piece cap – some may prefer that change. The front chin spoiler is wrong but that can be removed if desired.

    ’74’s with a 454 CI engine are pretty rare (last year) and it’s really unusual to find one where the engine appears untouched/unmodified.

    Good find!

    Like 7
  2. Jf85tr99

    Probably the most H/p you could get in an american car that year besides maybe a SD455 Firebird. What a sad fall from 4 years earlier when cars like the Buick GSX could be had optioned from the factory with 550+H/p. This looks like a great driver, rip any smog eqpt left off and have fun. GLWS


    Like 3
    • JoeNYWF64

      For the ’73-4 sd-455 to turn a high 13/low 14 qtr mile with 8.4 to 1 compression!!!! & heavy power sapping turbo 400, it’s gotta be puttin out more than 290 hp. Astonishing that Chevy, with its greater resources & staff did not bother to massage its 454 to compete. Or maybe Chevy couldn’t? – since the 454 required an air pump even outside California, while, oddly, the pontiac v8’s did not.
      Also odd neither engine got chrome valve covers.


    I don’t think the seats have been swapped. If you look at the left side bolsters on both seats you will notice the wear on the drivers side where all seats wear out. None of that on the passenger seat.

    Like 1
  4. gbvette62

    The interior’s pretty tired, and I don’t like the Pace Car spoiler on the front. One of the “454” hood emblems is broken, the “Stingray” script’s missing from the left fender, the rear bumper is a 76-79, it has an aftermarket radio and a Hurst shifter, but it is nice to see that no one’s ever screwed around with it under the hood.

    74 454 4 speeds ran high 14 second quarter mile times. I like 74’s, in 1980 I bought a 74 L-82 4 speed for my fiance (now wife). On paper, the 454 with it’s 270 hp, compared to the L-82’s 250, was slightly quicker, but in the real world they were pretty close. While the 454 had more horse power and torque, the L-82 was lighter and had a better rear gear (3:70 vs 3:55 for the 454), making the performance pretty close. With just a few simple mods (blueprinted Q-Jet, recurved distributor, removing the A.I.R. pump, etc), our L-82 ran mid to low 14’s.

    One nice thing about the 74’s is that they were the last year with a true dual exhaust system. Starting in 75, all cars had a catalytic converter and single exhaust.

    Like 5
    • MFerrell

      So ’74’s had fiberglass floor pans?

      • gbvette62

        Steel floors were first used in the Corvette in 76. This was done in an effort to reduce the heat coming into the interior from the catalytic converters installed in 75’s.

        Like 2
  5. Scott

    It’s a solid driver but beware of rust. Close look at the pics reveal a lot of it and that is only what can be easily seen. Even the pivot bolts on the seats are rusty. This is a great candidate for a restoration seeing how it has not been too badly molested and nothing apparent to the engine. If the price goes much higher it simply won’t be feasible. The very best of luck to its new owner, a great find !

    Like 2
  6. canadainmarkseh Member

    I’ve always liked the c3’s they are my favourite corvette. I worked with a guy at my last job that had one of these and when his wife caught him cheating on her she took an axe to his vette and 2 Harley’s. we’re talking holes everywhere. They were all write offs. He kept the car and the bikes and spent the next several years restoring all three. When they were done you couldn’t tell they were ever damaged. A warning to guys with wondering eyes.

    Like 6
  7. TimM

    Nice car and with a cam, headers and some intake work you can boost the horses up pretty quick!!!!

    Like 3
  8. 1966coupe

    Among other things the quad monza mufflers are not original to the car despite what the seller says.

    Like 1
  9. moosie moosie

    New York State inspection sticker along with a New York State registration sticker on the windshield but New Jersey license plates, must be a flipper, not that I think there is anything wrong with being a flipper. But how well do you know the car you are selling ? I’d buy it in a heart beat if my situation were different, for sure !

    Like 1

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