Chevy Chevelle Through The Years

Car fans from the sixties through today can recognize the throaty rumble and clear lines of the classic Chevy Chevelle. From its introduction in 1963 to the last model year in 1977, GM dressed the Chevelle in basic trim and fancy style and created sporty coupes, sedans, and wagons to reach out to a diverse customer base. The Chevelle's heritage also bridges the development of American automobiles from the heavy steel of the 1950s to gas shortages and compact care popularity of the late 1970s.


What inspired the creation of the Chevelle?

The Chevelle arrived as a new offering during the first wave of auto downsizing in the early 1960s, inspired by offerings such as AMC's Rambler and Chevrolet's own Chevy II. It filled the gap between the Chevy II and ongoing full-size Chevrolet model production and, though simple in design, was expanded into a variety of models including sport and wagon versions and even a convertible. It was based on the A-platform construction model which used technology from the full-sized line to create compact vehicles.


What models used the same A-body platform?

A-platform or A-body construction was used to create a number of classic rear wheel drive and some later front wheel drive GM cars. In addition to the Chevelle and its successor the Malibu, the Monte Carlo, Tempest, and LeMans were A-body vehicles. Other models include the GTO, Grand Am, Grand Prix and models familiar in more recent years such as the Cutlass, Skylark, Century and Regal.


What models of Chevelle were available?

Chevelle was available in 2-door hardtop, coupe, sedan, and convertible. Four-door models included a sedan, a hardtop and a station wagon version. There was a two-door station wagon and a unique utility vehicle in coupe format. There was a car for every type of buyer and now a vehicle for every type of collector, from classic muscle cars to funky "El Camino" utility vehicles. With common drive trains and construction, they are easy to work on and restore.


What does the famous "SS" designation represent?

The Chevelle SS heralded GM's entry into the muscle car market. SS models were available from the beginning in 1964 as a separate style from GM, with SS packages available for the Malibu. A '57 Chevy 283 engine was available as part of the SS package as well as a four-gauge cluster and dash-mounted tachometer on the Malibu SS. The SS models were a significant portion of Chevelle production from the outset, and GM showcased several of its high-horsepower engines as options.


What do the Chevelle and the Malibu have in common?

The Malibu was the top-of-the-line model of the Chevelle line through 1972, and when Chevelle production ended in 1978, the Malibu name carried on and is currently still part of GM's production in new formats. Malibu SS models were produced in Canada after the designation ended in the U.S. in 1965.


What happened in 1968 that made such a difference in the Chevelle?

The second generation of the Chevelle began in 1968 and introduced a sculpted body with tapered fenders. The long hood-short tail design reflected the emphasis on muscle car engines, and while the sedan and wagon continued with the standard wheelbase, it was slightly shortened on the coupe and convertible. Camaro influences added flow to the bodywork, and the Chevelle joined the design styling of a classic generation of cars which included not only the Camaro but the Ford Mustang.


What do the dual racing stripes on some later models indicate?

Dual racing stripes and a scooper for cowl induction arrived on the 1970 model Chevelle. This distinctive appearance has made the '70 Chevelle a popular star in movies and television shows.


What are some of the key models of Chevelle over the years?

Looking more like a family sedan than the car it was to become, the 1964 Chevy Malibu SS for a short while hid a 365-hp power plant under the hood for a classic "sleeper" effect. The 1970 Chevy Chevelle SS 454 had the stripes, the styling, and horses (450, underrated) to spare in one of the classic Chevelle presentations.

Get the latest vehicle news, advice & deals.