In 1964, General Motors produced its first Chevrolet Chevelle as a mid-size car. With the Chevelle, GM intended to rival the Ford Fairlane and regenerate some of the enthusiasm Chevy enthusiasts had for the 1955 to 1957 Bel Air models. The Chevy Chevelle is one of GM's most successful vehicles, enjoying a long production run from 1964 until 1977.
Chevelle options varied greatly, with models ranging from budget-friendly family cars to the powerful muscle cars, but even the family cars were exceptionally sporty in style.
The 1964 to 1972 Chevelles were available in a two-door coupe, a pillared sedan with two doors, a four-door sedan, a pillarless hardtop with four doors (referred to as a "Sport Sedan"), a convertible, a two-door station wagon and a four-door station wagon.
The second generation 1973 to 1977 Chevelle models were pared down to just a convertible, a four-door station wagon, a four-door sedan and a two-door coupe.
The Chevelle also came in Super Sport (SS) models for the power-hungry drivers. The SS 396 first became an option package for this model in 1969, but was increased to 402 cubic inches by the end of the year.
Horsepower went way up in 1970, ranging from 350 to 450 horsepower. Chevelles could go from 0-to-60 in just about 6 seconds and the quarter-mile could be reached within 14 seconds.
Under the hood
Along with myriad of body styles, the Chevelle came with 11 engine choices. Basic engines included the straight 6-cylinder and upgraded from there to a series of V8 engines with various displacements.
The legendary 454 V8 generated up to 450 horsepower, allowing cars to reach a top speed of 108 mph. This engine was popular with drag racers and street racers.
In 1971, the muscle car era was starting to come to a close because of the new government emissions and safety regulations. Horsepower plummeted and sales soon followed. GM finally decided to drop the Chevelle line and replace it with the Malibu in 1977.
The 1970s were good for Chevelle when it came to the NASCAR circuit. The Chevelle was so popular with drivers and so successful on the racetrack that Chevy was inspired to develop a new front nose for the model in 1975. That development helped pave the way to the highly aerodynamic cars of today.
In 1969, retired racecar driver and Chevy dealer Don Yenko developed a high-performance Chevelle that featured a Chevy 427 V8 and various racing-style options. This rare car can now fetch anywhere from $275,000 to $2 million depending on its condition.
Other Chevelle styles are also popular with today's car enthusiasts, reaching as high as $100,000 for a fully restored Chevy Chevelle remains one of the most dominant and most sought-after muscle cars in American automobile history.
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