Welcome to the 400 hp league! The 1970 Dodge Challenger RT and the 1969 COPO Camaro ZL1 scream for a battle of the super muscles
Gearheads adore seeing two muscle vehicles that are purportedly evenly matched go head to head to see who is the best. We’re moved by clashes like the one between the 1970 Dodge Challenger RT and the 1969 COPO Camaro ZL1. This is yet another skirmish in the never-ending battle for performance dominance between Mopar and GM. It’s the subject of several internet debates and sidelong glances at car shows. That’s what the film that goes with this story is all about, as two classic American muscle vehicles go head to head.
Unless you’re a Ford fan, everyone will have a pick in this race, but things don’t usually go as planned. That’s particularly true because you have two muscle cars that appear to be quite evenly matched on paper, especially because they’re both competing in the Factory Stock class.
The 440ci V8 with Six Pack in the Challenger RT produces 390-horsepower and 490 lb.-ft. of torque, according to the factory. Meanwhile, the COPO Camaro ZL1 boasts an aluminum 427ci V8 that produces 430 horsepower and 450 lb.-ft. of torque, according to the manufacturer. Both of these vehicles have a three-speed automatic gearbox, which is disheartening but places them on par. In addition, the Dodge has 4.30 gears vs 4.10 in the Chevy, giving it some advantage.
Given that neither of these historic American muscle vehicles has been extensively modified, both should be pretty heavy. However, this aspect may be the determining factor in the winner. Because the COPO Camaro ZL1 is equipped with an all-aluminum engine, it weighs only 3,400 pounds. Surprisingly, the Challenger RT weighs 3,571 pounds. Sure, the Chevy has a slight advantage here, but not quite as much as you may think.
At the end of the day, throwing down on the track is the only way to discern which car is quicker. That is demonstrated in the footage, which is rather entertaining to watch. Enjoy.