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    Chevrolet Chevelle (2nd gen) 1968-1972

    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.

    1969 Chevelles were billed as "America's most popular mid-size car." They showed only minor changes for 1969, led by 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 Chevelle lineup slimmed down to Nomad, 300 Deluxe/Greenbrier, Malibu/Concours, and Concours Estate series, the base 300 series was history. No longer a series of its own, the SS 396 turned into a $347.60 option package for any two-door model. That meant not just a convertible, sport coupe, or pickup, but even the pillared coupe and sport coupe in the lower-rent 300 Deluxe series (except the base 300 Deluxe El Camino pickup). Fewer SS396-optioned 300 Deluxe coupes and sport coupes were built than their Malibu counterparts and they are solid gold for collectors. 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 (280 kW). Chevelle station wagons came in three levels: Concours, Nomad, and Greenbrier—the last a badge formerly used on the Corvair van. A new dual-action tailgate operated either in the traditional manner or as a panel-type door. Wagons stretched 208 inches (5,300 mm) overall versus 197 inches (5,000 mm) for coupes. New round instrument pods replaced the former linear layout. Chevelle options included headlight washers, power windows and locks, and a rear defroster. Chevy's midsize production rose this year, with Malibus far more popular than their less-costly mates. Fewer than seven percent of Malibus had a six-cylinder engine, while more than 86,000 got an SS 396 option. 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 1, 1969. In addition, in 1969 Chevrolet developed a steam powered concept vehicle, designated the SE 124 based on a Chevelle fitted it with a 50 hp Bresler steam engine emplace of its gasoline engine. The Bresler was based on the 1920 Dober steam engines concept.

    In 1970, sheetmetal revisions gave the bodies a more squared-up stance and interiors were redesigned, too. 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 SS options were limited to the Malibu 2-door sport coupe, Malibu convertible and El Camino pickup. The base model Chevelle was now named Chevelle (which causes confusion) in lieu of the former base 300 Deluxe and was only as a sport coupe or 4-door sedan.

    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.

    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 470 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.[10] 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 (12.08) with trap speeds of 117+ 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).

    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, which was based on the base Chevelle, and was 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, and was only available for the Chevelle Malibu. 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.
    Last edited by Duell; 11-30-2012 at 02:32 AM.

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