1968–1972 Chevrolet Chevelle - Second generation
The 1968 Chevelle got an all-new distinctly sculpted body with tapered front fenders and a rounded beltline, a long-hood/short-deck profile with a high rear-quarter "kick-up". The 1968 coupes and convertibles now have 112-inch wheelbase. The sedans and wagons were 116-inch. Hardtop coupes featured a semi-fastback roofline. Top-trim models featured new Hide-A-Way wiper system. Chevrolet produced 60499 Super Sport 396 coupes, 2286 convertibles, and 5190 El Caminos. The SS 396 sport coupe started at $2,899. All-vinyl bucket seats and a console were optional. Regular Chevelle engines started with a 140 horsepower Turbo-Thrift six or the new 200 horsepower Turbo-Fire 307 V8, but stretched to a 325 horsepower version of the 327-cubic-inch V8. Manual transmission cars got GM's Air Injection Reactor smog pump. New Federal safety-mandated equipment included side marker lights, as well as shoulder belts for outboard front seat occupants on cars built after December 1967
1968 Chevy Chevelle SS 396 Sport Coupe
1969 Chevy Chevelle SS 396 Coupe
1969 Chevelles showed only minor changes, revised front-end styling. A single chrome bar connected quad headlights, and a slotted bumper held the parking lights. Taillight lenses were larger and more vertical, flowing into the quarter panels. Front vent windows began to fade away now that Astro Ventilation was sending outside air into several Chevelle models. The Super Sport option included a 325-horsepower 396-cubic-inch V8 beneath a double-domed hood, along with a black-out grille displaying an SS emblem and a black rear panel. More potent editions of the 396 engine also made the options list, developing 350 or 375 horsepower. A few hundred Chevelles managed to acquire a 427-cubic-inch V8, ordinarily installed only in full-size models. New round instrument pods replaced the former linear layout. Chevelle options included headlight washers, power windows and locks, and a rear defroster. All '69 Chevelles got a new locking steering column one year ahead of the Federal requirement, and headrests required for all cars sold in the U.S. after January 1969
1969 Chevy Chevelle SS 396 Sport Coupe
1970 Chevelle SS Sport Coupe
1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS 454
The muscle car era peaked in 1970, and that year's Chevelle SS offered up to 450 horsepower, a rating not seen again for decades. Available exclusively in combination with Chevelle SS and El Camino SS packages, the 454-cid LS-6 V-8 was Chevrolet's most powerful regular production big-block V-8 ever. In street tune, the 450-horsepower V-8 could propel the midsize Chevelle to 100 mph in about 13 seconds. Thanks to such performance, original and unmodified LS-6 powered Chevelles are avidly sought by muscle car collectors today.
Look for: Horizontally split grille with SS badge at center, flanked by quad headlamps. Rectangular taillights mounted in the rear bumper. SS badge and 454 engine designation on the front fenders (used with both 360-hp LS-5 and 450-hp LS-6 454 V-8).
1970 Chevelle SS Sport Coupe
The 1970 Chevelle came in sport coupe, sport sedan, convertible, four-door sedan, a couple of wagons, and the pickup (El Camino) body styles. Only
3 of these were available with a choice of one of 2 SS options; RPO Z25 with the 396 (402) engine and RPO Z15 with the new 454 cid engine. The
SS options were limited to the Malibu 2-door sport doupe, convertible, and pickup. The base model Chevelle was now named Chevelle in lieu of the
former base 300 Deluxe and was only as a sport coupe or 4-door sedan. New options included power door locks and a stalk-mounted wiper control.
Engine choices ranged from the standard 155 horsepower 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 was available under
RPO LS3, rated at 330hp, and was available in any V8 series except an SS optioned Malibu. This year also saw the introduction of the 454 cid engine
and was only available with the RPO Z15 SS Equipment option. The base 454 engine was rated at 360hp and the optional LS6 version at 450hp.
1971 Chevy Chevelle SS 454
1971 Chevy Chevelle SS 454 Sport Coupe
The 1971 Chevelles got fresh front-end styling that included large Power-Beam single-unit headlights, a reworked grille and bumper, and integral park,signal marker lights. New dual round taillights were integral with the back bumper. Because SS models suffered heavy insurance surcharges, Chevrolet introduced the "Heavy Chevy" at midyear available with any V8 engine except the 454, which was exclusive to SS models. The Heavy Chevy (RPO YF3) was ONLY available with the base Chevelle sport coupe (13437) and was primarily a dress up option and even it was limited to options available on the standard Chevelle sport coupe; no carpeting, no bucket seats, etc. For 1971, the SS option was reduced to one RPO code, RPO Z15. This RPO code required any optional engine and transmission available in the Chevelle lineup. Since the 307 V8 was the standard base V8 in 1971, it could not be ordered with the SS option; one had to order one of the two 350 V8 engines (L65 or L48), the LS3 402 or the LS5 454. The minimum Chevelle SS engine was a two-barrel 350-cubic-inch V8 rated at 245 gross (165 net) horsepower. Optionally available was a four-barrel carbureted version of the 350 V8 rated at 275 gross (200 net) horsepower. The 402 cid big-block engine continued to be optional but was only available in one horsepower rating, 300 gross (270 net) horsepower; and the base LS5 454 V8 with 365 gross and 285 net horsepower. Chevrolet specifications for 1971 included both "gross" and "net" horsepower figures for all engines. The SS option could be ordered with any optional V8 and became more of a dress-up option than a performance option. GM mandated all divisions design their engines to run on lower-octane regular, low-lead or unleaded gasoline. To permit usage of the lower-octane fuels, all engines featured low compression ratios (9:1 and lower; well below the 10.25-11.25:1 range on high-performance engines of 1970 and earlier). This move reduced horsepower ratings on the big-block engines to 300 for the 402 cubic-inch V8 but surprisingly, the LS5 454 option got an "advertised" five-horsepower increase to 365. The LS6 454 option, which was originally announced as a regular production option on the Chevelle SS for 1971, was dropped early in the model year and no official records indicate that any 1971 Chevelles were assembled with the LS6 engine. It's also interesting to note that both 350 V8 engines as well as the single 402 V8 engine were available without the SS option as well; only the LS5 454 V8 required the SS option.
1971 Chevy Chevelle
1972 Chevy Chevelle SS 454 Convertible
1972 Chevelles wore single-unit parking/side marker lights on their front fenders, outside of a revised twin-bar grille. All Malibus had concealed wipers. The SS equipment option remained the same as in 1971, any optional V8. The 1972 Chevelle series had wide enough appeal to qualify as America's second-best-selling car. Base versions again included a four-model wagon series. Upscale versions were Malibus including the convertible models. More than 24,000 Malibu Sport Sedans were built, with a standard 307-cubic-inch V8 rated at 130 horsepower. With that V8, the Malibu Sport Coupe was the top seller by far starting at $2,923. Powertrain options included the 175-horsepower 350-cubic-inch V8 and 240-horsepower 402-cubic-inch, 454 that managed to put out 270 horsepower. Chevelles sold in California could not get the 307 V8 but carried a 350-cubic-inch engine instead. Through the 1970s, California cars often had different powertrains than those marketed in states with less-stringent emissions regulations. 1972 is the last year popular for Chevelle car collectors. The 1972 Chevelle SS had a top engine rated at 270 net hp. All other engines on the SS roster were unchanged from 1971.
Chevy Chevelle Second-generation