Chevrolet’s Chevelle, based on General Motors' new mid-sized A-body platform with its 115-inch wheelbase, debuted to rave reviews in August 1963. Within three months, the latest in Chevy's five model lines represented its second-best seller. Along with the reborn El Camino (marketed as a truck), the Chevelle family included the yeoman “300” series (available in two- and four-door sedan and two- and four-door station wagon forms) and the upscale Malibu, offered as a four-door sedan, two-door sport coupe or convertible, and two- or four-door station wagon. Both the 300 and Malibu series featured six-cylinder and V-8 lines.
The cream of the crop was the snazzy Super Sport, based on either a Malibu coupe or convertible. Any Chevelle engine, six- or eight-holer, was available for a 1964-65 SS. Then along came the first of Chevy's legendary SS 396 Malibus in February 1965. Only 201 of these were built, including one clandestine convertible. All were powered by 375-horsepower 396-cid big-block V-8s.