Chevrolet Chevelle (1968-1972)

1968 Chevrolet Chevelle

The Chevrolet Chevelle is one of the most popular classic cars of all time. It is right up there with the 1955 Bel Air. The 1968-1972 models represent the second generation of the Chevelle. These second generation Chevelles were based on General Motors A-body platform, which was shared with the Pontiac LeMans, Oldsmobile Cutlass and the Buick Special and Skylark.

1968 Chevrolet Chevelle

For 1968, the Chevelle got an all-new body with tapered front fenders and a rounded beltline. The new body style had a long-hood and short-deck profile with a high rear-quarter “kick-up”.  The 1968 coupes and convertibles shared a 112-inch wheelbase and the sedans and wagons shared a 116-inch wheelbase.  Top-trim models including the SS 396 and new luxury Concours. Chevrolet eliminated the term “sedan” for the 2-door pillar body style, which was now called a coupe or pillar coupe. The 2-door hardtop remained a sport coupe. New Federal safety standards resulted in the addition of side marker lights and shoulder seatbelts for front seat occupants on cars built after December 1, 1967.

1968 Chevrolet Chevelle

The Super Sport became series on its own. Chevrolet produced 60,499 SS 396 sport coupes and 2,286 convertibles. Black-accented Super Sports rode F70x14 red-stripe tires and carried a standard 325-horsepower 396-cubic-inch Turbo-Jet V8 engine below the special twin-domed hood; 350 and 375-horsepower 396 engines could be substituted at additional cost. The SS 396 sport coupe started at $2,899 – or $236 more than a comparable Malibu with its 307-cubic-inch V8. All-vinyl bucket seats and a console were optional.

Three luxury Concours options were offered. The Concours four-door sport sedan offered special sound insulation, and a deep-padded instrument panel with simulated woodgrain accents and all-vinyl color-keyed interiors. There were also two Concours station wagons. The Concours Estate Wagon was one of four Chevelle wagons offered.

Regular Chevelle engines started with a 140 horsepower Turbo-Thrift inline six, a new 200 horsepower Turbo-Fire 307 V8, or a 327 cubic inch V8 with 325 horsepower.

1969 Chevrolet Chevelle

1969 Chevrolet Chevelle

The 1969 Chevelles were advertised as “America’s most popular mid-size car”. For once, maybe the was some truth in advertising. The Chevelle had few changes following last year’s redesign. Changes included a revised front-end styling, with a single chrome bar connected quad headlights, and a slotted bumper held the parking lights. Taillight lenses were larger and flowed into the quarter panels. Front vent windows were minimized as the adoption of the Astro Ventilation system replaced the need for vent windows. The model lineup was trimmed to Nomad, 300 Deluxe/Greenbrier, Malibu/Concours, and Concours Estate series. Gone was the base 300 series. The Super Sport or SS was no longer a separate series. This allowed Chevrolet to offer the convertible, sport coupe, pickup, pillared coupe and sport coupe in all models of the Chevelle (except the base El Camino). New round instrument pods replaced the former linear layout. Chevelle options included headlight washers, power windows and locks, and a rear defroster. Chevelle station wagons offered in three levels: Concours, Nomad, and Greenbrier. The wagons featured a new dual-action tailgate that operated either in the traditional manner or as a panel-type door.

Fewer SS396-optioned 300 Deluxe coupes and sport coupes were built than their Malibu counterparts, making them a rare find for a collector. The Super Sport option included a 325-horsepower 396-cubic-inch V8 beneath a double-domed hood, along with a black-out grille displaying an SS emblem and a black rear panel. The 396 engine was available in multiple horsepower ratings including 325, 350 or 375.

1970 Chevrolet Chevelle

1969 Chevrolet Chevelle SS

The Chevelle received mild shetmetal revisions and redesigned interiors in 1970. The new  bodies has a more squared-up stance than the 1969 moodels. The Chevelle model range included the sport coupe, sport sedan, convertible, four-door sedan, station wagon, and the the El Camino.  The Super Sport option was only available on the Malibu sport coupe, Malibu convertible and El Camino pickup and included a choice of V8 engines: the 396 or 454.  The base model Chevelle was now simply called Chevelle and was only as a sport coupe or 4-door sedan. Station wagons were available as the Nomad, Greenbrier or Concours Estate. New options included power door locks and a stalk-mounted wiper control. Other than the SS options, engine choices included a 155 horsepower six-cylinder and 200-horsepower 307 V8, a pair of 350 V8s and a pair of 402 V8 engines.

1971 Chevrolet Chevelle

1971 Chevrolet Chevelle Convertible

The Chevelles received front-end refresh in 1971 that included large Power-Beam single-unit headlights, a reworked grille and bumper, and integral park/signal/marker lights. Other changes included new dual round taillights that were integral with the back bumper. Chevrolet introduced a “Heavy Chevy” at midyear, which was based on the base model Chevelle, but was available with any V8 engine except the 454. The Heavy Chevy was only available with the base sport coupe. the Heavy Chevy was not available with carpeting or bucket seats.

1972 Chevrolet Chevelle

1972 Chevrolet Chevelle

1972 would be the last year for the second generation Chevelle. As such, changes were minimal. The Chevelles now had a single-unit parking & side marker lights on their front fenders. All Malibus had concealed wipers. The SS equipment option requirements remained the same as those in 1971, any optional V8. The 1972 Chevelle series was America’s second-best-selling car. Base versions again included a four-model wagon series. Upscale versions were Malibus including the convertible models.

General Motors would introduce all new A-bodies in 1973 that featured new “Colonnade” styling. The Chevrolet version of the A-body would be an all new Chevelle and Malibu.

For more on the Chevelle, see the post on the 1966-1967 Chevrolet Chevelle. For more information on other Chevrolets, see our posts on the 1967-1970 Chevrolet C/K Truck, the 1961-1964 Chevrolet Impala or the 1965-1971 Chevrolet Impala.

For information on other makes of this era, see our post on the 1965-1968 Ford Galaxie or the 1963-1966 Dodge Dart.

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4 Responses to Chevrolet Chevelle (1968-1972)

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