1970 Corvette 454

Posted on 2017-10-03

1970 Chevrolet Corvette LS5 454

The 1970 Chevrolet Corvette had a few changes up its sleeve that year. The Corvette body saw replacement of the 4 side gills with an egg-crate vents on the side. The fenders were flared slightly to keep rocks from being kicked up and scratching the paint. The seats were redesigned again, this time to create more headroom.

The previously round dual exhaust outlets were made larger and rectangular in shape. Interiors were tweaked with redesigned seats and a new deluxe interior option combined wood-grain wood accents and higher-spec carpeting with leather seat surfaces. Positraction rear axle, tinted glass, and a wide-ratio 4-speed manual transmission were now standard.


The 350 cu in base engine remained at 300 hp and the L46 was again offered as a 350 hp high performance upgrade. New was the LT-1, a 350 cu in small-block V8 engine delivering a factory rated 370 hp. It was a solid lifter motor featuring a forged steel crankshaft, 4-bolt main block, 11:1 compression ratio, impact extruded pistons, high-lift camshaft, low-restriction exhaust, aluminum intake manifold, 4-barrel carburetor, and finned aluminum rocker covers. The new engine, making up less than 8% of production, could not be ordered with air conditioning but was fitted with a domed hood adorned with “LT-1” decals.

The 1970 had the engine enlarged. The "Big Block" (known as the Rat motor) grew to its largest displacement at 454 ci. Also, the new option LT1 small block produced 370 bhp. The 350 engine was much lighter than the 454 and provided almost as much power as the lower end "Big Blocks".


The RPO ZR1 option included the LT1 engine, M22 (Rock Crusher) transmission, heavy-duty power brakes, transistor ignition, special aluminum radiator, and special springs, shocks, front and rear stabilizer bars and metal fan shrouds. The relatively low production in 1970 was caused by a labor dispute that started in May of 1969. This dispute caused the 1969 production run to be stretched 4 months and the 1970 run to be cut short. Tuxedo Black was no longer available as an exterior color although there were probably a few cars that were painted black as special orders.


The 454 engine, as compared to the 427 it replaces, had a longer stroke (101.5 vs 95.2 mm), probably for better emission control as well as higher torque because it replaces a 427 that also developed 390 bhp. It is by far the most tractable big-engine Corvette unit we've tried; it idles fairly smoothly at 600 rpm with the automatic transmission in drive, but from outside the car there's still that monster rumble to let any and all know this is a big one.

Performance of the LS5 454 was hampered by the weight. Most with a little bit of extra equipment besides the options listed, weighed all of 3740 lb. But the 454 Corvette could still run ¼ miles in the high 13 teens at 107 mph.


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