The Chevelle was as photographed by the author downtown, The Loop, Chicago, Illinois on Tuesday, July 22, 2014.
Is the ’70-’72 Chevelle a GM ‘Greatest Hit’? If not, it should be. While not exactly an overwhelming success, the Chevy mid-sizer was a strong seller throughout the sixties with the early seventies Chevelle (like the one shown) being arguably the best version. Many consider the 1970 SS454 Chevelle the pinnacle of the musclecar era. Unlike some other musclecar legends, the SS454 was a true RPO available to anyone and was actually tractable in normal, day-to-day driving (even the pavement-shredding LS6 version).
Then the seventies’ colonnade era began in 1973 when the 5mph bumper law took its toll on styling. It was all downhill from there.
It’s worth noting that in 1969, the SS396 Chevelle was the second best selling musclecar, behind the hot Road Runner and, for the first time, ahead of the GTO. In fact, the Road Runner was selling so well that Chevy offered the SS396 package on the low-line 300 series pillared Chevelle. Ford followed suit next year with the availability of the 429CJ in the Torino-based Falcon. Neither car sold well and were both unceremoniously dropped after one year.
Quick fix…it’s a classic Chevelle, after all.
Couple weeks ago on my radio show, I had a call-in contest winner named “Chevelle”.
23 years old, Chevelle’s mom owned and drag raced several of her namesake back in the day – presumably when mom was 23 or so herself.
Unfortunately, none of the cars remain in the family.
There’s a girl that works in my dentist’s office names Shelby. I wonder if she has a similar story. ;o)
If it weren’t for the cell phone on the pedestrian’s ear it could be a shot from 1971.
All it needs is a set of slapper bars.
Seriously, it’s nice to see a current shot of a relatively nice old car using period correct size wheels (OEM, even!) and tires, and not Hot Wheels style, chrome double-dub wheels and tires.
And I like that the hood is opened.
A Chevy with Rally Wheels with its hood up parked out front of the check cashing place. Sorry, but this is funny because it was so typical in central Indiana in the not too distant past. 🙂 Well, it could have been out front of a liquor store or a tanning studio, too.
Seriously, these were good looking cars. I always liked the 72 best of all, but then every one of GM’s 1972 mid sizers was a good looking package (with the LeMans being on the ragged edge of that category.)
In hindsight, I would have trouble choosing a 2 door intermediate from 1972. If I were to choose a Ford of that series, it would be a 72. The 2 door Mopar B body (my normal go-to) was not my favorite, and the Matador was quite nice looking. Not sure what I would have chosen.
Today, at least around here it’s clapped out, primered Honda Civics with a fart can in front of the check cashing joints with the hood up 🙂
i eat lunch once or twice near a joint like this in East Los Angeles , there’s always several beat up Japanese pickup trucks fully loaded with scrap metal….
The younger crowd will usually be driving a large SUV or similar typ of vehicle .
It’s a solidly Blue Collar Mexican neighborhood .
The Nix in South Central Los Angeles that I drive past daily has few cars , mostly walk – ins and bicycles .
I guess where the NIX store is will discern the typ of vehicles out aside .
Nice, a lot better looking than the bloated 71 Mopars.
1970 Chevelles get all the press but I think the 71-72 look better and tougher, plus the classic small round chevy taillights. Don’t forget the 72’s are a blessing thanks to the plan to introduce the colenaid style A bodys in 72 but a UAW strike held them back to 1973.
Nice My first new car was a 71. Wanted the Chevelle but couldn’t quite afford it. Ended up buying a Nova, that was a great car that I had for over ten years. When I sold it I had two buyers right away. One was a guy in his early 20s that was all excited about getting a Nova of that vintage. The other guy just wanted a work car. I sold it to the excited “kid”.
My Dad’s first (and only) brand new car was a ’72 Nova, and the newest car Mom ever purchased on her own was a year-old ’72 Chevelle in ’73.
Anyone else notice the shaved door handles? Kind of funky to have period-correct wheels and tires, yet go with taking the door handles off.
Of course, the reflection in the paint seems to indicate some rather poor body work and I wouldn’t be surprised if there was lots of filler in the sheetmetal. Still a car that’s exponentially cooler than 90% of what else litters the streets these days.
Nice cars then and now .
One of your best shots Joseph. Fully evocative, the guy on the cellphone could be listening to a transistor radio for all we know. Even the Burger King livery fits in.
And what a song. Maybe ‘The Waiting’ for the driver expecting a tow truck.
A classic 70’s Taxi…..full of dents and bondo under that fresh paint job.
That’s a nice car,but what is with the sidewall scraped up rear tire? Can’t ya park that
Chev better’n that!
I like the looks of the Chevelle and Buick Skylark of these years……I find these to be better looking than the Collanade style that followed….
I also feel the same way about the early 80-s GM 2 door coupes such as the Regal, Monte Carlo, and Cutlass Supreme…..When they went to the Front wheel drive platform in 1988, they were not the same…..The mid 80’s Buick Grand National was a sharp looking car.
Unlike the previous sixties’ versions, picking the best of the ’70-’72 GM intermediates is a lot tougher. AFAIC, they were all winners. If I had to choose, I’d probably take a W-code Cutlass. But, really, they’re all winners, no matter what division, certainly better than the Ford or Chrysler competitors. It was definitely one of the last times every GM division would be hitting on all cylinders.
Chevelles, to me, were one of the best all around cars of that era. The two doors were aggressive and sporty looking (regardless of any engine code or displacement), and the car had the long hood, short deck look, but with fastback styling. Certain cars like the fastback Charger, to me, just look a bit too awkward in their fastback slope, but to me, the Chevelles and the two door Cutlasses of the late 60’s/ early 70’s before the Collonade styling, were just some of the best visual representations of various elements of what could be considered polarizing.
Some people didn’t like the circular tail lights on the Corvair and Impalas, but the circular tail lights on those Chevelles, the way that they’re inset into the chrome bumper, somehow manages to nail the more universal, commoner’s version of the Camaro or Corvette…..one that you could get your wife to approve of. Even the four door, base versions with the dog dish hubcaps still don’t give you the feeling that you’ve completely handed over your balls on what you drive. It’s a tough looking car from any angle. I’ve always loved the four headlights, too. I’ve never seen a Chevelle–even the rusted out, beaten to hell ones–that I didn’t respect for looking tough as nails.
Truly could be a period photo, and a nice-looking Chevelle. Hopefully whatever ails it is minor.
You’ve also got me wanting to listen to some early Petty now…classic. Truly. Just like the Chevelle.
Those intermediate bodied GM products up until 1972 were some of the best vehicles EVER made. As a Ford fanboi, it hurts to say this, but the truth is what it is – I’d even buy that generation GM intermediate – even a Chevrolet.
It is a shame that Government Motors cannot build anything like this these days even with rear wheel drive. These cars were stylish and roomy (something you cannot say about the rear wheel drive disasters the company makes now).
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *
Notify me of follow-up comments by email.
Notify me of new posts by email.
This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.
Copyright 2011 - 2023 Curbside Classics. All Rights Reserved.