Keen readers will know that the Chevrolet Corvair was notorious for being incredibly unsafe at any speed. However, the American automaker decided to make a faster Corsa variant of the Corvair after the safety issues were resolved. The Petersen Automotive Museum recently pitted the vehicle against a 2008 Mazda MX-5 in a quarter-mile drag race for the ages.
Even though the rear-engined classic produces more power than the Miata – 180 horsepower (134 kilowatts) vs 166 hp (124 kW) – it’s clear that the latter has modern tech on its side. This is immediately apparent in the first run where the Mazda gaps the Corvair quite easily. Much to our surprise, both vehicles have very similar weight figures.
Gallery: Corvair V8 Rendering By Abimele Design
The second and final run between the two unfortunately produced another victory for the Mazda. While the Corvair was allowed to get rolling earlier than the Miata, it was still no match for the convertible. We’d wager that modern tires would have made a big difference throughout all stages of each race.
Despite the disappointment for the classic, the video ends with a demo race between an Audi RS6 – with Doug Demuro behind the wheel – and a Bugatti Chiron. From a standing start, the Quattro all-wheel-drive system on the RS6 was no match for the competition in the other lane. Of course, the Chiron would be more suited to a half-mile race, but it doesn’t change the end result.
It’s hard to say who was victorious in the second run with Doug, but the Bugatti was definitely closer at the finish. Semantics aside, every race shows how rapidly vehicles have improved in a very short span of time.