Dark Metallic Green
Black
454 V8
3 Speed Automatic

I think most folks will agree that the era of big block muscle ended in 1974. There were a few hold-outs of the horsepower wars, but their days were clearly numbered. This 1974 Corvette represents the last of the big block Corvettes—only small block cars have been built ever since (even the mighty C6 Z06 with its 427 cubic inch V8 is still a small block). Unleaded gas and tightening emissions controls conspired to end the era of massive engines and their limitless torque curves. And the writing was already on the wall—only 3494 LS4 big block Corvettes were built in 1974, making them the rarest of all big blocks, save for perhaps the first year, 1965, when the 396 debuted.

This 100% matching numbers 1974 Corvette packs that LS4 big block and wraps it in a gorgeous code 48 Dark Green Metallic package. With only 29,609 original miles, it's a solid, well-presented Corvette that beautifully represents the end of an era. It has been extensively refinished recently, and presents as a top-notch driver that can be proudly shown at just about any show you attend.

Starting with a solid, original car, it was completely stripped and refinished in September 2010 because the original paint was finally showing its age. The urethane bumpers were replaced front and rear, and any flaws in the fiberglass substrate were expertly repaired. David Johnson of Avon Lake, Ohio undertook the body restoration single-handedly, and his fastidious nature and expert workmanship is evident on every square inch of the body. The car has never been hit or in an accident, and the only repairs involved the usual Corvette issues that come with age. Note that the doorjambs were left in their original state, showcasing not only the quality of the original paint job, but the fact that the new PPG 2-stage urethane matches that Code 48 Dark Green Metallic exactly. The wave-free shine and lack of orange peel suggest that Mr. Johnson spent a lot of time color sanding and buffing the finish, and there can't be many 1974 Corvettes around that look better.

Of course, while the car was disassembled, it was the perfect opportunity to replace all the weather seals and window channels, so now the car seals up like a new car and feels tight and quiet on the road. Any trim pieces that were not up to the standards set by the new paint were replaced with NOS replacements or top quality reproductions. There's a new windshield up front, and everything has been expertly polished and detailed.

The 1974 LS4 454 V8 churns out a respectable 270 horsepower, and in this car, it is 100% matching numbers throughout. The engine has been removed and the engine bay detailed, but never disassembled or rebuilt. As a result, all the original stampings and factory indicators are still present, proving that this is a matching numbers piece. Chevy Orange covers the engine, and the chrome pieces (some original and some aftermarket) add a much-desired bit of sparkle to the engine bay. Satin black was used on the engine compartment itself, and provides the perfect canvas for the bright engine. The original Rochester Quadrajet carburetor (code 7044225) is still in place with the correct date codes and stampings, as well as the original air cleaner housing and snorkel, which were often the first things discarded by a new Corvette owner in the 1970s. You will also notice a lack of emissions gear—1974 was the last year of true dual exhaust, as in 1975, single exhaust with a catalytic converter became standard equipment on the low-compression small block-only 'Vettes.

Backing up the big block is the original, matching-numbers TH400 3-speed automatic transmission. There's a reason you find these transmissions behind everything from street rods to 8-second drag cars, and that's because they're virtually indestructible. I personally like the automatics in these cars, especially the big block cars, because it fits their grand-touring character (and when you stomp the loud pedal, you're going to need both hands on the wheel anyway!). Like the engine, this one has never been rebuilt and it shifts and performs like new. The rest of the chassis is in good condition, having just come from the RKM Performance Center restoration shop where quite a bit of detailing and new parts were installed. Among the items replaced were the brake calipers, E-brake cables, brake pads, and shock absorbers, as well as a new battery behind the seats. The rally wheels were refinished in correct GM Argent Silver paint and wear NOS trim rings and center caps. 1974 was the second year that radial tires were available on the Corvette, and this one wears a set of modern 245/60/15 white letter radials.

The code 400 black interior was originally vinyl, but has recently been upgraded with full leather seat covers in the original pattern. Aside from the seats, however, everything is what you would expect from a low-mileage original car. The newer black carpets are clean and were properly installed with new sill plates, the dash pad is excellent, and the door panels are good save for some minor cracking on the driver's side armrest (which is typical of these cars). The gauges are all functional and original, showing only light age on the faces and chrome. An aftermarket stereo head unit lives in the dash, but an original AM/FM unit is included with the car, just in case you want to take it back to 100% original condition in there. The original steering wheel is excellent, and new Corvette logo embroidered floor mats have been installed to add a little flash to the otherwise monochromatic passenger compartment. The trunk features more new carpet, a new trunk mat, a new tire well liner, as well as an original style spare and jack assembly.

Documentation includes an original owner's manual and production fact sheet.

It would be a mistake to overlook the potential that cars like this big block '74 Corvette represent. No, they're not going to be six-figure nest eggs any time soon, but they are great-driving cars that are a lot of fun and which hold their value extremely well. This one is exactly right for Corvette hobbyists—drive it, show it, enjoy it, and it will pay you back in the future by holding its value no matter what. The color makes this one special—I'm so tired of orange and white and silver ones—and the quality of the work will make it stand out at any show you attend. It's a great way to get into the hobby with some of the greatest enthusiasts on Earth, and some of the most active clubs anywhere. Enjoy the last of the big blocks in style and call today!

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