29 April 2015

Secrets of the Chevelle

The Chevelle is one of America’s favorite classic muscle cars. If you turn on your favorite televised classic car auctions at random, chances are that there will be a Chevelle crossing the block. With so much attention, the Chevelle is pretty much an open book, yet here are some lesser-known facts:

  1. It was built in 10 different GM plants in two countries: Over the course of its 10-year lifespan, the Chevelle was assembled in a whopping 10 different GM plants. For the record, that was: Arlington, Texas; Atlanta, Ga.; Baltimore, Md.; Flint, Mich.; Framingham, Mass.; Fremont, Calif.; Kansas City, Kan.; Oshawa, On., Canada; and Sainte-Thérèse, PQ, Canada.
  2. It shared a platform with El Camino and Monte Carlo: In addition to being produced in convertible, two-door, four-door and station wagon body-styles, the Chevelle’s platform underpinned both the El Camino car/pickup and the personal luxury Monte Carlo.
  3. It’s gone but certainly not forgotten: The Chevelle nameplate died after the 1978 model year. And in spite of the fact that it is consistently named by auto journalists and bowtie fans as a name they would like Chevy to revive, it’s never come close to happening.
  4. There was a Canada-only version: GM and Ford formerly had a practice of creating specific models and nameplates for the Canadian market. There was a Canadian version of the Chevelle built in Quebec and Ontario called the Acadian Beaumont, which had a slightly different grille and trim. They’re rare and a very definite curiosity in the Chevelle world.
  5. Intended to be the successor to the famous Tri-Five 1955-57 Chevies: Designers saw the Chevelle as the spiritual successor to the 1955-57 Bel Air/210, noting that the 115-inch wheelbase was the same, and like the 55-57 Chevy, the Chevelle was offered in two-door coupe, four-door, convertible, and two- and four-door wagon body styles. It’s proven to be the case in the collector car world, too, as younger baby boomers and Gen-Xers opt for the Chevelle as the collectible Chevy of choice over the 55-57 Bel Air of the immediate post-war boomers.

19 Reader Comments

  • 1
    Todd Dallas April 29, 2015 at 17:01
    Speaking of designers who were the designers? Surely someone out there knows who was on the Chevelle development team.
  • 2
    Frank Wichita, Ks April 29, 2015 at 17:07
    Do Not bring back the Chevelle name, please! If GM brought the Chevelle name plate back, they would probably ruin it like they did the Impala. Let the name rest in peace.
  • 3
    Eric Fountain Valley, Ca April 29, 2015 at 18:58
    I am a proud owner of a 67 Marina blue white top convertible with bright blue interior powered by SS396/375 4 spd. Based on the requests from all age admirers to take pictures and videos, the Chevelle will always be coveted.
  • 4
    Joe Central VA April 29, 2015 at 19:03
    My favorite Chevy, ever. I proudly own and drive regularly a '70 El Camino. That's my favorite model year for the Chevelle also.
  • 5
    Ron Welsh Ontario, Canada April 29, 2015 at 20:39
    In that the Chevelle was first built for the 1964 model year and discontinued after the 1978 model year, wouldn't that make it a 14 year lifespan altogether? Also, my 1964 Chevelle Malibu was built in Van Nuys California so perhaps there were 11 different plants that it was built?
  • 6
    Michael LeClaire AnnArbor/LosAngeles April 29, 2015 at 21:29
    Canadian Chevelles had Pontiac engines, Canadian Pontiacs had Chevy engines. One of my cars is a tunnel-ram big block '65 Chevelle 2door wagon, built in Fremont CA, and is insured by Hagerty. Gearheads, email me.
  • 7
    Jeff Denver CO April 29, 2015 at 22:06
    Don't forget about the GMC Sprint.
  • 8
    Walter Reynolds Maple Ridge, BC Canada April 29, 2015 at 22:15
    My son loves the Chevelle. He's in his late 30s and fits your profile. I'm forwarding this article to him!
  • 9
    Peggy Clark Florida April 29, 2015 at 22:43
    My son always wanted to own a Chevy Chevelle and one day he found one on ebay. He had it shipped to IL about 14 years ago. Car was in good condition but he wanted to make a hot rod out of it. The engine man had the car for 7 years working off and on. The inside was done by another man who had it for 4 years. My son passed away on October 12, 2012. He never got to drive the car. I finished having it done after all these years. I take it to car shows and its the most beautiful car ever. I know my son is proud of me and can see me when I drive.
  • 10
    Gordon Ione,Ca. April 30, 2015 at 01:39
    I have a nice 66 300 deluxe. Are there fans of the post cars?
  • 11
    Michael Davis Dothan, Alabama May 1, 2015 at 04:12
    Just wish I had my grandmothers old Chevelle. I have so many stories about that car and growing up. I definitely had a blast in that car.
  • 12
    Sheila Hale Kearney , Missouri May 3, 2015 at 23:31
    I've had a Chevelle since 1972, it was made in Kansas City,Missouri. They made them at the Leeds plant in K.C.,Mo, not at the Fairfax, plant in Kansas City, Kansas.Just get your records straight. I know this,because I worked at the Fairfax plant.
  • 13
    Greg Canada May 4, 2015 at 15:56
    Just to clear up some misinformation posted above,the Canadian Pontiac version of the Chevelle was known as the Beaumont.The Acadian name was used on the Canadian Pontiac version of the Chevy II/Nova. Both types used Chevrolet engines and neither used Pontiac engines at any time.
  • 14
    Jerry Wichita, KS May 4, 2015 at 08:28
    The Chevelle was also produced in Venezuela after production stopped in the USA and tooling transferred there....but the quality of the Venezuealan built Chevelles was atrocious. I rented several Venezuelan built Chevelles in my visits there in '78 and '79.
  • 15
    Ronald Reid Los Angeles May 4, 2015 at 23:23
    I purchased my 1972 Chevelle new in California back in the day. The one unfortunate issue that did not deter my purchase was that the state of California would not smog certify the Chevelle with a 454 Cubic Inch engine. As a result I purchased the car with a 350 Cubic Inch engine. It has not diminished my love of the car. I am in the process of restoring the body to original condition. When complete I shall share. The Chenille is just a wonderful car.
  • 16
    Darcie Boelter United States May 5, 2015 at 20:49
    My boyfriend and I had several Chevelle/Malibu's in the late '70's early '80's usually combined to produce at least two functional cars at any given time. I loved those cars, multi-colors and all. I doubt we ever paid more than $1500 for any one! Wish I still had one of them now
  • 17
    Booboo Va June 25, 2015 at 17:21
    Chevelle 68 thru 70 were all time favorites. Look at the pic, its a manly man's car. Not some femine Toyota. Bring back Chevelle ONLY if they do it right like they did the camaro, make it 2 doors and pit it against the Charger like days of yore. But...if Chevy brings it back will Ford be forced to bring back the Torino???
  • 18
    jerry Modesto Ca. March 19, 2016 at 15:28
    I have a 71 Chevelle Malibu that I purchased in 1997. I have kept it garaged and very clean all that time . How does one go about determining a fair resale value ??? Thanks Jerry
  • 19
    Brian milliman Mid michigN April 12, 2016 at 18:04
    I have a '70 Chevelle convertible that I'm forever working on. Currently running a 496 stroker in it the car is an absolute monster! People stare at it and take pictures of it wondering what it is. i just wonder how many convertibles survived. Truly a fun car I couldn't replace with any of the new cars!

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