In 1964, General Motors debuted its new mid-size version of the A-platform. Included in the A-body family besides the El Camino and Malibu SS was the Chevelle. This vehicle was designed to compete in sales against other compacts and mid-sizers like the AMC Rambler, Ford Falcon, and Ford Fairlane. Throughout its entire production run, the Chevelle would see a variety of body styles, even including a 4-door sedan and station wagon.
The first generation Chevelle had a wheelbase of 115 inches (2921 mm). In its initial season, the Chevelle was available in three trims: Chevelle 300, Chevelle Malibu, and Chevelle Malibu Super Sport (SS). The base Chevelle (the 300) could be had with a 194 CI (3.2L) inline-6, good for 120 horsepower @ 4400 rpm. The Chevelle was updated in 1965, with a “Deluxe” model added to the 300 lineup. The Chevelle Super Sport (SS) debuted with a Malibu SS badge. Thus, this car is also called Chevelle Malibu SS. A 327 (5.4L) Small-Block V8 was a regular production option (RPO) on the 1965 SS. This Small-Block turned out 350 horsepower.
1966 saw an update to the Chevelle and Malibu SS. In the United States, the Chevelle and Chevelle SS became their own lineup, while the Malibu SS remained in the Canadian lineup. The SS396 was equipped with a 396 CI (6.5L) Big-Block V8, which produced 325 horsepower, or an upgrade option which saw power amped up to 360 horsepower. Another option above that, still using the 396 Big-Block V8, was the L78, which threw out 375 horsepower @ 5600 rpm. The 300, 300 Deluxe, and Malibu remained in the lineup for 1967. Included in the lineup, other than in the SS, was the 396 Big-Block V8. This turned out the same 325, 350, and 375 horsepower levels as in the SS.
1968 saw the introduction of the second generation Chevelle. The wheelbase for the coupe now sat at 112 inches (2845 mm), and the sedan and wagon sat at 116 inches (2946 mm). The base models were the 300 and 300 Deluxe. The latter was available as a 2-door hardtop. 1969 saw a slight cosmetic restyling to the Chevelle lineup. The lineup consisted of the Nomad, 300 Deluxe, Greenbrier, Malibu, Concours, and Concours Estate. The base 300 was dropped from the lineup. The SS 396 still turned out 325 to 375 horsepower from its 396 Big-Block.
1970 saw a more rectangular profile to the Chevelle, as opposed to the “coke-bottle” styling it had in the 60’s. The SS came with two options: the SS 396 with the 402 CI engine, and a new 454 model. The optional LS6 added an 800 CFM Holley carburetor to the 7.4L Big-Block, turning out 450 horsepower and 500 lb/ft of torque. 1971 saw a cosmetic redesign to the Chevelle lineup. It was rectangular like the 1970 model, but the lights had changed. The front fascia was designed to have two headlights flush with the grille, whereas earlier Chevelles had four headlights. The 454 Big-Block was exclusive to the SS. Because of the low-octane gas mandate, all engines produced lower amounts of power. For 1971, the 454 Big-Block in the Chevelle SS turned out an advertised 365 horsepower. That figure was dropped to 270 horsepower in 1972, the last year of the cowl induction 454.
1973 saw a dramatic redesign to the Chevelle lineup. The convertible and 4-door hardtop was discontinued, leaving the 2-door coupe, 4-door sedan, and station wagon in the lineup. The coupe was referred to as “Colonnade Hardtop”, and it had a shorter wheelbase than the sedan and wagon. Only the latter two shared the same 116-inch wheelbase with the Monte Carlo, with which the Chevelle shared the A-body chassis. The base engine for the Deluxe and Malibu models was a 250 inline-6. The Deluxe model was dropped in 1974, leaving the Malibu as the new base. In 1976, the headlights on the Chevelle models were redesigned: more rectangular accents outlining the round lights like brackets, flush with the redesigned grille. The two coupes (formerly Colonnades) were now the Malibu Classic Landau, with the vinyl roof; and the Malibu SS, the “hardtop”. The top-of-the-line was a 350 V8. The Chevelle ended production in 1977, except for the Malibu model, which remained in production as a downsized model many years after that.