Everything comes into focus when you get it out on the public roads. Compared to anything you might come up against — unless you’re unlucky enough to encounter a Cobra 427 — it’s the wildest, hottest setup going. With the normal 3.36 rear axle ratio it’ll turn a quarter mile that’ll give a GTO morning sickness, and still run a top speed of around 150 mph. The 327-engined version is still our favorite, but if you must go faster than anybody else, and you insist upon being comfortable, this is a pretty wild way to go.

The difference between this seven-liter street machine and all the big seven-liter super stocks is in size and proper suspension. All that murderous acceleration is balanced by excellent, almost-lightweight handling. It’s stiff and stable and it gets the power on the road — when the wheels stop spinning. First gear is apt to be all wheelspin if you’re not careful, and second is almost as bad. Even third can break the rear end loose, if you’re down below the 4800-rpm torque-peak, and there’s hardly a road in America where you won’t be — since that’s the equivalent of something in excess of 70 mph! Judicious applications of throttle will eliminate most of the spinning, but there just isn’t any way to avoid it in first.

The extra weight of this big engine doesn’t really seem to affect the car’s handling at all. There’s a general feeling of ponderousness that one associates with any of the bigger sports machines at low speeds, but when you’re going fast it’s quick and responsive. It is more difficult to accurately place it in a fast corner, but this is more due to its power steering than to its bulk.

There’s no sense even trying to make MGB or Porsche comparisons with this Corvette, because…well, because it’s so uniquely American. It weighs over 3300 pounds but it’ll do 140 before most European sports machines are out of second. It does not mince tidily around corners, but it gets around corners faster than most of its peers. It’s an American GT car, and it’ll hold its own in any company at any price.

The most fascinating thing about the continuing success of the Corvette, and the powerful appeal of this new seven-liter contrivance, is its relationship to the widely-publicized GM ban on racing. Many people thought that the Corvette would wither and die when it was no longer the car to beat in the races. To the contrary, they’re selling better than ever — and going better than ever as well. It’s a shame really, if they keep building them this good and this fast, they may never have to go racing again.

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