1971 Corvette LS6 454
1971 Corvette LS6 454
The 1971 #Corvette LS6 454 was the top performer of all the Corvettes for the 1971 model year. As I discussed in my 2015 Annual issue of Corvette Legends Magazine, both the LS6 454 and the LS7 454 engines were cancelled as options for the 1970 Corvette. Fortunately, the Corvette engineers were able to get the LS6 454 approved for the 1971 model year with the same high lift solid lifter cam from the 1970 LS6 454, but with a lowered compression ratio that was designed to run with low lead or no lead gasolines. The drop in compression ratio reduced the factory horsepower rating from 450 to 425, and in spite of the power reduction, the automotive journalists really enjoyed the 1971 Corvette LS6. In fact, Car Craft magazine clocked their LS6 Corvette well into the 12’s at the drag strip with 4.11:1 rear end gears.
The Corvette LS6 differed from the Chevelle SS 454 LS6 from the previous year not only with the lowered compression ratio, but also by the fact that the Corvette ran aluminum open chamber L88 cylinder heads to reduce the weight over the front tires. In the late sixties and early seventies, the use of aluminum as a major engine component was considered exotic and was quite expensive compared to its cast iron siblings. This particular LS6 Corvette stickered out at just a little over $8400.00, which was a huge amount back in 1971. Unlike the L88 Corvettes from a few model years earlier, the LS6 Corvette could be ordered with power steering and this example was ordered as such. In addition, this LS6 Corvette is equipped with a 4-speed transmission, a 3.55:1 rear end ratio, power brakes, a rear window defogger, AM/FM radio, tilt telescopic steering column, deluxe leather interior, power windows and white lettered tires.
Only 188 Corvettes were ordered with the LS6 option that year. Duntov later admitted that perhaps the LS6 should have been built with cast iron heads as the older L72 and L71 Tri Power 427 engines, of which several thousand were sold each year those engine options were offered. As it was, the 1971 LS6 454 Corvette was the last solid lifter big block Corvette to the be built, and the last big block Corvette to be built with factory installed aluminum cylinder heads, which to this day still maintains itself on the list of must haves for Corvette collectors.