Sunday 8 May 2016
The Chevrolet Chevelle is a mid-sized muscle car which was produced by Chevrolet in three generations for the 1964 through 1977 model years. Part of the General Motors (GM) A-Body platform, the Chevelle was one of Chevrolet's most successful nameplates. Body styles include coupes, sedans, convertibles and station wagons. Super Sport versions were produced through the 1973 model year, and Lagunas from 1973 through 1976. After a three-year absence, the El Camino was reintroduced as part of the new Chevelle lineup. The Chevelle also provided the platform for the Monte Carlo introduced in 1970. The Malibu, the top of the line model through 1972, replaced the Chevelle nameplate for the redesigned, downsized 1978 models.
The 1968 Chevelle got an all-new distinctly sculpted body with tapered front fenders and a rounded beltline. The car adopted a long-hood/short-deck profile with a high rear-quarter "kick-up". While all 1967 Chevelle models rode a 115-inch (2,900 mm) wheelbase, the 1968 coupes and convertibles now rode a sporty 112-inch (2,800 mm) wheelbase. The sedans and wagons turned to a 116-inch (2,900 mm) span. Tread width grew an inch front and rear. Hardtop coupes featured a semi-fastback, flowing roofline. Top-trim models (including the SS 396 and new luxury Concours) featured GM's new Hide-A-Way wiper system. Lesser Chevelles would get that change later. The Super Sport (SS396 sport coupe, convertible, and El Camino pickup) became series on its own. Chevrolet produced 60,499 SS 396 sport coupes, 2,286 convertibles, and 5,190 El Caminos; 1968 was the only year the El Camino body style would get its own SS396 series designation (13880). Black-accented Super Sports rode F70x14 red-stripe tires and carried a standard 325-horsepower 396-cubic-inch Turbo-Jet V8 engine below the special twin-domed hood; 350 and 375-horsepower 396 engines could be substituted at additional cost. The SS 396 sport coupe started at $2,899 - or $236 more than a comparable Malibu with its 307-cubic-inch V8. All-vinyl bucket seats and a console were optional. Three luxury Concours options became available in March 1968 for the 4-door sedan, the 4-door sport sedan and consisted of special sound insulation, and a deep-padded instrument panel with simulated woodgrain accents and all-vinyl color-keyed interiors. These Concours options (ZK5, ZK6, and ZK7) should not be confused with the two Concours station wagons. Also new for 1968 was the elimination of the term "sedan" for the 2-door pillar body style. This was now called a coupe (or pillar coupe) while the 2-door hardtop remained a sport coupe. These coupe/sport coupe designations would continue into 1969 as well. The Concours Estate Wagon was one of four distinct Chevelle wagon models. A one-year Nomad, Nomad Custom was offered. Regular Chevelle engines started with a 140 horsepower (100 kW) Turbo-Thrift six or the new 200 horsepower (150 kW) Turbo-Fire 307 V8, but stretched to a 325 horsepower (242 kW) version of the 327-cubic-inch V8. Manual transmission cars got GM's "Air Injection Reactor (A.I.R)" smog pump, which added complexity under the hood. New Federal safety-mandated equipment included side marker lights, as well as shoulder belts for outboard front seat occupants on cars built after December 1, 1967. There were 1968 SS427 chevelles sold on Indian Reservation's territory to bypass the GM rules that prevented a car from having more than 1 H.P. per 10 pounds of weight limit (exception was the Corvette).
In 1970, sheetmetal revisions gave the bodies a more squared-up stance following the coke bottle styling, interiors were also redesigned too. The 1970 Chevelle shared many sheet metal body parts with the 1970 Buick Skylark GSX, both are GM automobiles and have interchangeable sheet metal. They're also the only 2 high performance muscle cars to share the same roofline. The 1970 Chevelle came in sport coupe, sport sedan, convertible, four-door sedan, a couple of wagons, and coupé utility (the El Camino) body styles. Only 3 of these (Malibu sport coupe, Malibu convertible and El Camino pickup) were available with a choice of one of 2 SS options; RPO Z25 with the SS 396 (402 cid) engine and RPO Z15 with the new 454 cid engine. The base model was now simply called Chevelle (which causes confusion) in lieu of the former base 300 Deluxe, and was only as a Sport Coupe or four-door sedan. Up in Canada however, the base series retained its 300 Deluxe name, with appropriate badging on each front fender just behind the front wheel well. The hardtop, convertible, and sedan received the upgraded sheetmetal but the station wagons and El Camino retained the previous year sheetmetal panels (which went on for the next 2 model years).
Station wagons were the entry level Nomad, the Chevelle level Greenbrier, the Malibu level Concours and an upscale Concours Estate. New options included power door locks and a stalk-mounted wiper control. Engine choices ranged from the standard 155 horsepower (116 kW) six-cylinder and 200-horsepower 307-cubic-inch V8, to a pair of 350 V8s and a pair of 402 engines. RPO Z25 SS equipment option included one of these 402 cid engines but was still marketed as a 396. The second 402 cid engine was available under RPO, rated at 330 hp with single exhaust, and was available in any V8 series except an SS optioned Malibu or El Camino. 1970 also saw the introduction of the 454 cid engine and was only available with the RPO Z15 SS Equipment option. The base 454 cid engine was rated at 360 hp (which was also available with cowl induction) and the optional LS6 version at 450 hp. There were 4,475 LS6 Chevelles produced, of which 137 are currently registered on the National Chevelle LS6 Registry.
The SS 396 Chevelle included a 350 horsepower (260 kW) Turbo-Jet 396 V8, special suspension, "power dome" hood, black-accented grille, resilient rear-bumper insert, and wide-oval tires on sport wheels. Though a 375 horsepower (280 kW) cowl induction version was available, few were sold in favor of the newly introduced 454 engine in the October/November 1969 timeframe. The LS5 454-cubic-inch V8 produced 360 horsepower (270 kW) in standard form and a cowl induction version was also available. The LS6 produced a claimed 450 gross HP in solid-lifter, high-compression guise. It has been suggested that the LS6 was substantially "under-rated" and actually produced something on the order of 500 horsepower (370 kW) as delivered from the factory. Recent engine dyno tests have proven that the 1970 LS-6 engine makes over 450 hp and 500 lb/ft torque in stock configuration (stock compression ratio, stock camshaft, stock intake and exhaust manifolds). Super Chevy Magazine conducted a chassis dyno test of a supposed production-line stock 1970 Chevelle and recorded 282 peak HP at the wheels. This test that was not done under SAE standards. The engine was said to be correct but is not confirmed. Current 1/4 mile times and MPH of a 1970 Chevelle equipped with 100% factory stock LS-6 engines and modern tires are turning very low 12 second times (13.07) with trap speeds of 112+ mph.
"You can make our tough one even tougher," the brochure explained, by adding Cowl Induction to either the SS 396 or the SS 454. Step on the gas, and a scoop opened "to shoot an extra breath of cool air into the engine air intake....like second wind to a distance runner." Neither functional hood lock pins nor hood and deck stripes were standard with either SS option, but were part of the optional ZL2 cowl induction hood option. The 454 cu in (7.4 L) LS5 V8 was rated at 360 hp (270 kW).
- engine: V8
- capacity: 5700 cc
- horsepower: 175 HP
- gearbox: 3+1
- top speed: 180 km/h