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Chevrolet Chevelle First Generation 1964 to 1967
The Chevelle was produced from 1964 to 1977 in three Generations and came in many body styles, many variations, and a lot of available options. On Chevrolet mid-size “A” body platform it made Chevelle a strong contender in the muscle car market. This line was without a doubt one of the biggest success stories for G.M. and Chevrolet.
The ’64 and ’65 Chevelles came with a Malibu badge on the rear quarter panel with a hard top and a convertible at first. There was also an “SS” package available on the more luxurious Malibu version.
The “SS” option came with emblems and full disc wheel covers while the inside is well appointed with bucket seats and floor console for models fully equipped with the Muncie aluminum four speed manual or Powerglide two speed automatic but not with the basic three speed manual transmission. The dash of the Malibu ‘SS” option came with four gauges in a cluster and also offered a dash mounted tach as a further option. The basic models have a very simple warning light system instead. The optional engine is the 283 cu in with a four barrel putting out 220 hp – at least for the first six months. Just to keep up to the competition in mid-’64 the Chevelle had an optional 327 cu in V8 on the market in two versions both with a four barrel in a choice of 250 or 300 hp (224 kW).
The engine options were okay in ’64 but people wanted more muscle in their cars and so Chevy, aiming to please, added a RPO (regular production option) 327 V8 putting out 350 hp. For the folks with more modest ambitions the Chevelle did offer more conservative engines.
In 1965 with the “Z-16” equipped Malibu SS 396 big block V8 the power crowd also has a new little faster option available. Chevy had a problem producing enough posi trac rear ends to handle the 396 engines there were only 201 of them produced but only 75 still existing with the Malibu “Z-16” option package. There are many that have tried to fake the Z-16 because of its six figure value in today’s market but there is a shortage of the original equipment and trim to re manufacture it. The Malibu hood emblem was dropped at the end of 1965.
In 1966 the body, on the same frame was completely modified and the Chevelle SS 396 became its own series of sport coupes and convertible models with a thicker stabilizer bar in front, springs with a higher rating, and re-calibrated shocks mounted on a stronger reinforced frame. The body was Identical to the Malibu with a little different trim, simulated hood scoops, and red line tires with three different power options on the engine. The 396 motor was available producing either 325 hp, 360 hp, or the highest performer at 375 hp. The SS396 existed as a model for ’66 through to ’68 and then in ’69 it reverted back to an option pack. A special body styled “strut back” two door sport coupe was available only for the ’66 and ’67 models years.
Canadian models kept the” Malibu SS” badges for two more years but their U.S. counterparts were identical Chevelles only differing in lacking the badge trim, domed hood, and a blacked out grill while the northern cousins grill is chrome. Canada did offer a slightly different package with the Malibu sports option which has bucket seats, a center console, full wheel covers, and ribbed rocker covers.
Chevrolet Corvette Second Generation the Mid Years
The Chevy ‘vette is coming of age; it’s a survivor and it’s thriving in its mid years from 1963 until 1967. The second generation Corvette styling is based on three things: an earlier concept car the “Q” Corvette, a Mako Shark, and a Sting Ray. The 1963 model of this generation was given the moniker “Corvette Sting Ray” and featured a split rear window. The Sting Ray name stayed for four years but the split rear window only lasted for the one year. A coupe is produced for the first time and the ’63 also features a tapered rear deck, non-functional l hood vents. The largest engine choice developed 360 BHP (270 kW) at maximum R.P.M.
The only visible option for this year was a Delco electronic ignition. Not many changes in ’64 the decorative hood vents disappeared as did the split rear window due to visibility issues. The largest power option in 1964 was the same motor with the BHP kicked up a notch – to 375(280 kW). A rare option on both years is the “Z06” competition option with stiffer leaf springs multi-segment lined brakes with finned drums. Only a couple of hundred “Z06” cars were purchased for the coupe style but only ONE convertible exists with this factory installed option. Both years the headlights remained hidden.
The rarest and most valuable Corvette was made during these years: The “Grand Sport Corvette” made a brief appearance in 1963; an original plan called for one hundred of them to be built but only five made it of the assembly line. Those five cars numbered from 001 to 005 are still around today and in private collections.
In 1965 four- wheel disks brakes came on-line as well as a “big block” engine option. The “big block” engine is 396 cu in (6.49 L) and develops 425 BHP (317 kW).This engine was an available option until 1967 and could have been ordered with side pipes as an additional option. The ‘65 big block 396 was equipped with Rochester fuel injection. This was the last full year for that option. In 1966 a cheaper big block 396 cu in became available in the middle of the year that developed the same BHP as the ’65 version and sold 2,000 units in just a couple of months. In 1966 the most powerful big block engine option was a 427 cu in (7.0 L). Other options for that year included a “Wonderbar” auto-tuning am/fm radio, air conditioning, a telescopic steering wheel and head rests.
The last of the C2 generation of Corvette is 1967 sporting restyled fender vents. The ‘67 ‘vette had less chrome and ornamentation than previous models. The back-up lights became rectangular and moved towards the center of the car. The two tail lights are now four all red tail lights and would stay that way through 1968. There were twenty “L88” engines factory installed between 1967 and 1969 which were officially rated at 430 BHP but unofficial reports say it actually developed 560 BHP or even slightly higher than that. The “L89” or 427 cu in featured a Holly triple two barrel carburetor or Tri-power and was the highest power option available.
The sixth generation Plymouth Belvedere is on Chrysler's "B" mid-sized body platform. This model could be powered with a light duty 273 cu in ((4.5 L) engine although there are four larger engine power options on the table including the 426 cu in (7.0 L) Hemi V8 and these would be bolted to three speed automatic or a three speed standard transmission on a factory correct Belvedere. The most powerful version of the Belvedere is an icon of the muscle car era and badged as the GTX .
Our thanks to Gateway Classic Cars for these images