Rummaging around the far corners of the internet attic, I stumbled into a brochure for Swiss market 1967 Chevrolets. GM had an assembly plant in Biel from 1935 to 1975, and some 330k cars were assembled there over the decades. I mostly liked what they were doing there, but someone assembled this one a bit oddly.
I’ll explain, if I can:
European GM cars, as well as many others exported and/or assembled in other markets, had different specifications than the US market cars. As in HD suspension, brakes, different standard engines, as well as generally very well equipped with what would be options in the US, since they were quite expensive there, and competed against higher end cars like Mercedes, Peugeot, Citroen, etc.
In 1967, Chevrolet made disc brakes optional, which came with what we know as the beloved Rally wheel, a larger, vented wheel. Needless to say, the Swiss instantly made them standard equipment. Just one little problem: they couldn’t find a GM PR picture of the Impala with Rally wheels. The solution: cut and paste some in. But whoever did that really botched it. Unbelievable, really. The whole angle of the wheels are totally off.
The have a genuine shot of the Malibu sedan wearing Rally wheels! Wow, does that make it look better, with those nice beefy ventilated wheels and tires. I’m assuming it was shot in Switzerland. It’s wearing the distinctive badge on the grille identifying it as Biel assembled.
And here’s a Camaro too, wearing Swiss plates. And the Biel badge on the grille.
But here’s the one that really surprised me, more than the fun house Impala:
A Chevy II Nova sedan with Rally wheels!
What makes this one so surprising is that I cannot find any deference to disc brakes being available, at least in the US. (Update: disc were optional; 565 were ordered that way in ’67, so they were very rare.) But in the specifications for the Swiss version, it clearly states that it had front power disc brakes. And there’s a good explanation for that too:
GM Biel assembled the Chevelle, Chevy II and Camaro on site. But the Impala, Corvair (Update: some Corvairs were assembled in Biel, others were imported) and Corvette were imported from North American plants. Which may well explain why there were no shots of the Impala with Rally wheels available. And that shot of the Chevy II also does not look like it was taken in the US; that’s clearly a European style school. The same applies to the shots of the Chevelle and Camaro.
The specs for the cars are interesting too. The Impala came only with the 275 hp 327 (279 metric HP). The Chevelle was offered with the 230 six, the 283 and the SS coupe came with the 275 hp 327. In the US, it was strictly an SS396. The Camaro came with either 230 six, the 283 V8 (not offered in the US), the 210 hp 325, or the SS350. The Corvair came only in the 110 hp version. And the Corvette was offered with either the 300 hp 327 or the 390 hp 427.
Here’s the full brochure. You’ll note that the Swiss versions with the Rally wheels are paired with shots of US versions without them, because they apparently only shot the Chevelle and Nova locally.