The Rarest Chevelle of All Time, 1965 Z16 SS396
Only 200 regular production 1965 Z16 Chevelles were built at the Kansas City plant. The Z16 option included the convertible boxed frame, a narrowed rear axle and brake assemblies from the contemporary Impala, heavy-duty suspension, plus virtually all Chevelle comfort and convenience options. The Z16 standard big-block 396 Turbo-Jet V8 (fitted with hydraulic lifters instead of the solid lifters of the same motor used in the Corvette) came only with the Muncie wide-ratio four-speed manual transmission. The rear panel of the Z16 had unique black and chrome trim which framed untrimmed Chevelle 300-style taillights (Malibu and Malibu SS models had bright silver-painted lens trim).
The prototype Z16 Chevelle was built at the Baltimore plant. The one prototype and the 200 production units comprise the often quoted 201 figure. One convertible was reportedly specially built for Chevy General Manager Semon “Bunkie” Knudsen, but is understood to have been destroyed. Approximately 75 Z16s are presently accounted for. Info from Wkipedia.org
First generation (1964–1967)
The Chevelle was intended to compete with the Ford Fairlane, and Plymouth Belvedere, and to return to the Chevrolet lineup a model similar in size and concept to the popular 1955-57 models. The Chevelle’s 115-inch (2,900 mm) wheelbase was the same as that of the 1955-57 Chevy. Two-door hardtop coupes, and convertibles, four-door sedans, and four-door station wagons were offered throughout the entire run. In line with other Chevrolet series, the two-door hardtops were called Sport coupes. Four-door hardtops, dubbed Sport Sedans, were available (1966 through 1972). A two-door station wagon was available in 1964 and 1965 in the base 300 series. Station wagons were marketed with exclusive nameplates: Greenbrier, Concours, and Concours Estate. Six-cylinder and V8 power was offered across the board. Chevelles were also assembled and sold in Canada. While similar to their Stateside counterparts, the convertible was available in the base Chevelle series, a model never offered in the United States. The Chevelle was the basis for the Beaumont, a retrimmed model sold only in Canada by Pontiac dealers through 1969. Originally conceived as an upsizing of the Chevy II with a unibody platform (similar to the Fairlane and the full-size Chrysler B-platform of the same era), GM’s “senior compact” A-platform used a body-on-frame construction using a suspension setup similar to its full sized automobiles with a 4 link rear suspension (the differential has 4 control arms which are attached to the frame with rear coil springs sandwiched between the differential and spring pocket – this design was used with the B platform vehicles and later used by Ford Motor Company with its FOX platform automobiles).