The SS396 Chevelle in 1970 included a 350 hp (260 kW) Turbo-Jet 396 V8 with power dome hood, black grill, a rear bumper insert, special suspension, and wide-oval tires mounted on sport rims. There was also a 375 hp version available but most people that wanted it all chose the new 454 cu in (7.4 L) that came on the market in October 1969 with a lot more horse power. The 454 V8 was available in two power options; the tamer one is the LS5 produces 360 hp (270 kW) with the cowl induction version. The most powerful 454 V8 available in’70 is the LS6 producing 450 hp which included the addition of solid lifters and higher compression ratio; some reports claim this 454 is very under rated in horse power, the engine actually produced closer to 500 hp (370 kW) as it was off the assembly line. At any rate the factory stock LS6 engine does the quarter in 12.08 seconds at a trap speed of 117 mph plus. If you wanted hood pins and/or the racing stripes on yours there was a slightly higher price tag for each option.
The changes for the 1971 Chevelle included a restyled front end with single lens head light system and the front marker lights with signals as well as the tail lights in the bumper – partially to combat insurance claims. Midyear the “Heavy Duty” was marketed as an option pack for the Chevelle sport coupe and only came with the options offered on the sport coupe. The Heavy Chevy could be ordered with any V8 engine offer except the 454 which is an SS exclusive. The SS designation was only available with the Chevelle Malibu and offered the RPO Z15 code –any engine/transmission combo that was available could be ordered except the base 307 V8. The basic SS engine is the 350 cu in V8 with 245 gross horse power or you could have a four barrel bolted on to get 275 gross (200 net) horse power. The 402 cid big block option is still around with no engine options and no cowl induction though; it puts out 300 gross (260 net) h p. The power engine offer is the LS5 454 V8 producing 365 gross (275 net) hp with the option of a bit more power by adding cowl induction which also has a louder exhaust system.
In 1971 G.M. mandated a few policy changes; one is all of their division’s cars engines would run on low octane and unleaded fuels which translate to lower compression ratios. The second policy change is all horse power would be listed showing the gross and the net figures.
The 1972 model year all Chevelles were equipped with side marker lights mounted outside the revised grill. The SS s offered the same as in 1971. The base model Chevelle was popular and had four different station wagons available that are 450 kg (1,000 lbs) and 10” (250 mm) shorter than other G.M. models. The upscale Malibu has hidden wipers as ell as a convertible available. The Malibu sport sedan sells well but the biggest seller is the Malibu sport coupe. This luxury version does offer a six cylinder but the base power is the 307 V8 putting out 130 net hp and this engine is not available in California. The base in California is the 350 cu in V8 putting out 270 hp but this is an option everywhere else. The 402 is still around and is still called the 396. The 454 cu in is the biggest power option and is producing 270 hp under the net system. The cowl induction is available for the 454 for the last year and it is not even mentioned in the sales brochures.
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