The Chevelle story started in 1964, with Chevrolet, part of General Motors, using their A body platform to produce a mid-sized car to compete with the Ford Fairline.
The car went through three generations of design from 1964 to 1977, with various different engine and transmission choices, but it is usually the 1970s Chevelle SS 454 model, which is aptly named, ‘the king of the road’ which grabs everybody’s attention.
The 1970s Chevelle SS 396 had the power, but was no longer the fastest kid on the block. Swing classic muscle car thinking, a bigger and more powerful version was produced for 1970 in the 454 model.
The 454 had 4.250 x 4.00 inch bore with LS5 and LS6 versions. The LS6 versions capable of a 0 to 60 time of 5.4 seconds and a quarter-mile of 13.81 seconds at 103.8 mph.
Base 454 V8 – LS5, 454 cid, 360Hp, LS6 454 cid/450hp.
Transmission options were one of three 4 speed types.
3,773 SS models were built in 1970, with the rarest being the convertible with the 454 LS6 engine option.
Of special note was the Yenko Chevelles, who developed his own optioned cars, one being to fit his Chevelles with a Chevrolet L72 427/425 hp cid V8 engine, amongst other options. These ‘Copo’ editions can reach anything up to a few million dollars at auction.
But what makes the 1970s Chevelle so special is the place it holds at the pinnacle of the Golden muscle car era.
When the term ‘there is no replacement for displacement’ was truly King, the 1970 Chevelle encompassed all the elements of this unique way of thinking.
But as gas prices rose and the oil crisis took hold, large gas guzzling engines were viewed as bad. The cars from then on thus become very neutered, which I think had a knock-on effect to all other areas of the muscle car era.
The Chevelle came out in various different forms, such as the El Camino and Malibu models, but the 1970 454 model still evokes the same feelings of horsepower and pride as the best of the muscle car era.
So the big question, why not a 2016 Chevrolet Chevelle?
Look at the popularity of the Dodge Charger and Challenger hellcat for example. If they didn’t currently exist, would we think those two models of cars will be as popular as Challengers or Chargers of the past? On paper most people would say no, but the reality is they have flown out of the dealerships, where Dodge cannot keep up with demand.
So Chevrolet, what are you waiting for?