Chevrolet Chevelle review

Photography by: R. Ratzke

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Chevrolet Chevelle Chevrolet Chevelle Chevrolet Chevelle
Chevrolet Chevelle Chevrolet Chevelle Chevrolet Chevelle
Chevrolet Chevelle Chevrolet Chevelle Chevrolet Chevelle
Chevrolet Chevelle Chevrolet Chevelle Chevrolet Chevelle
Chevrolet Chevelle Chevrolet Chevelle Chevrolet Chevelle
Chevrolet Chevelle Chevrolet Chevelle Chevrolet Chevelle
Chevrolet Chevelle Chevrolet Chevelle Chevrolet Chevelle
Chevrolet Chevelle Chevrolet Chevelle Chevrolet Chevelle
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US muscle car showdown #3: Chevelle. The 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle has an excellent reputation among America's petrolheads.

Chevrolet Chevelle review
US Muscle Car Showdown: Chevrolet Chevelle

 

Chevrolet Chevelle

US Muscle Car Showdown #3:
Chevelle - The Patriot

Small dogs usually have the loudest bark and the Chevelle is definitely the ill-tempered underdog of this group. What with its hot-rod 6.3 litre engine, jigsaw directional stability and "Is that all you’ve got?" attitude.

The 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle has an excellent reputation among America’s petrolheads. The 396 series engine, a 6.5 litre big-block, enjoys cult status as an affordable performance power unit. The SS (Super Sport) 396 kept the same cubic-in derived name but actually had a larger displacement.

While other manufacturers were experimenting with radical names, colours and designs, Chevrolet kept things, externally at least, much more conventional but still found the trick to reeling in the younger punters: more power! The apogee of the range arrived in 1970: the 454ci, MkIV V8 LS5 offering 360bhp, but it was also highly susceptible to tweaking - if you were willing to perform a few subtle modifications, anything up to 550bhp was easily achieved.

This car illustrates how Chev is viewed today. Why buy the relatively expensive muscle car flagships from the other brands with all their fancy - and pricey - factory options, when you could buy the Chevy and modify it yourself? Thousands of street racers did precisely that - and still do. So our car may have started out as a 301 Chevelle Malibu but it is now effectively a full-on SS - and then some. You could call this cheating, but in reality it
only reflects how these cars have always competed against each other in the real world.

Fall into the comfortable leatherette seats of the Chevelle and the 383 iron-block V8 awakens into a surprisingly fast, raspy, idle. That comes from the stroking that has been done to this engine: longer conrods and shorter pistons which permit higher RPM more horsepower: over 400 ponies in this case.

Floor the loud pedal and it roars like a P51 Mustang, the TH700R4 transmission just about contains the tsunami of power and the Chevelle powers away, hard. If there were any questions why America’s patriots love Chevys so much, they’ve all just been answered.

This particular Chevelle, when compared to the others here, might as well be a sportscar. With its taut suspension, upgraded anti-roll bars and by far the most accurate steering, it’s the only one here that relishes corners as much as straights.

 


SPECIFICATIONS

Chevrolet Chevelle

Engine: 5675cc V8
Power: 221kW @ 4800rpm
Torque: 556Nm @ 3200rpm
Weight: 1900kg
Gearbox: 3-speed auto
Brakes: discs/drums (f/r)
Top Speed: 200km/h

 

The five contenders:

1. Pontiac GTO

2. Ford Torino

3. Chevrolet Chevelle

4. Dodge Charger

5. Plymouth Superbird

 

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