Chevy Facts

Chevrolet Chevelle History / 1964-1973

Introduction: The Chevrolet Chevelle SS represented Chevrolet's entry into the hot midsize muscle car battle. The Chevelle SS was the high performance version of Chevrolet's Chevelle, and had its own line of engines and performance equipment. At first caught napping with just a 327 V8, the Chevelle SS would soon sport powerful 396 V8s and eventually the most powerful rated engine in muscle car history, the LS6 454 in 1970. The Chevelle, along with the Pontiac GTO, remains one of the most popular cars from this era and with good reason. Its strong performance at a reasonable price made it popular on the street and at the track.

1964 Chevrolet Chevelle SS

Comments: The 1964 Pontiac GTO caught Chevrolet napping. While the GTO offered 389 cubic inches in its midsize A body, Chevrolet only had a 327 V8 that put out 300bhp. That gap would soon disappear.

Production: 76,860
Engines: 283 V8 195bp. 283 V8 220bhp. 327 V8 250bhp. 327 V8 300bhp.

1965 Chevrolet Chevelle SS

Comments: Tired of falling behind Pontiac, Oldsmobile, and even Buick, Chevrolet got serious for 1965. Although the familiar 327 was now offered in 350bhp tune (L79), the hot Chevelle SS for 1965 was the limited edition 396, known as the Z-16 package. Only 201 of these 375bhp bruisers were made (200 hardtops and 1 convertible). All had stouter convertible-type frames, beefed up suspensions, front and rear anti-roll bars, and faster power-assisted steering. A Muncie 4-speed with axle ratios as high as 4.56:1 were available instead of the standard 3.31:1 gears. With 56% of the vehicle's weight over the front wheels, handling and braking was subpar. It would take another year before the 396 would become available to the masses and the Chevelle SS was transformed into a true muscle car.

Production: 72,500
Engines: 283 V8 195bp. 283 V8 220bhp. 327 V8 250bhp. 327 V8 300bhp. L79 327 V8 350bhp. Z-16 396 V8 375bhp@5600rpm, 420lb-ft@3600rpm.
Performance: Z-16 396/375: 0-60 in 6.0 sec, 1/4 mile in 14.66 sec @ 99.8mph.

1966 Chevrolet Chevelle SS

Comments: With 400 cubic inch engines available in its sister divisions, Chevrolet made the 396 engine standard in the Chevelle SS. But instead of the 375bhp version available the year before, the base 396 only put out 325bhp. Also available was the L34 396 engine which featured a taller cam, a stronger block, and larger four barrel. The limited edition Z-16 with its 375bhp 396 engine was still available. Later in the year, Chevrolet released the L78 396, which shared the Z-16's 375bhp rating but had solid lifters and new exhaust manifolds, the 427's large valve heads, 11.0:1 compression, aluminum intake manifold, and an 800-cfm Holley. All Chevelles used stiffer springs and shocks to correct their handling problems, but their performance still was subpar. The 1966 Chevelle SS was renamed the Chevelle SS396 to represent its standard 396 engine and separate model status. It was also redesigned, with a new bumper, a new roof line with a recessed rear window between the sailing roof panels. Two simulated scoops, which would become a SS signature, was introduced this year. The exterior remained all business, especially with its standard red line tires and small (dog dish) hub caps . The crisp styling, tractable engines, and low prices made the Chevelle SS a good deal.

Production: 72,272
Engines: 396 V8 325bp@4800rpm, 410lb-ft@3200rpm. L34 396 V8 360bhp@5200rpm, 420lb-ft@3600. Z-16 396 V8 375bhp@5600rpm, 420lb-ft@3600rpm. L78 396 V8 375bhp@5600rpm, 415lb-ft@3600rpm.
Performance: L78 396/375: 0-60 in 6.0 sec, 1/4 mile in 14.40 sec @ 100mph.

1967 Chevrolet Chevelle SS

Comments: 1967 saw several improvements in the Chevelle SS and a major step back. Road manners and driveability were improved with more aggressive tires, newly available front disk brakes, and new 14 inch wheels. A three speed automatic joined the available three and four speed manuals and two speed automatic transmissions. The styling was revised slightly with a new reworked bumper and a new blackout tail panel. The hood louvers remained non-functional. The 325bhp 396 remained the standard engine, but the L34 engine upgrade lost 10bhp to 350bhp to meet GM's corporate edict against any car except the Corvette having more than one bhp per ten pounds of curb weight. The 375bhp 396 disappeared as a factory option, but approximately 612 were dealer installed.

Production: 63,006
Engines: 396 V8 325bp@4800rpm, 410lb-ft@3200rpm. L34 396 V8 350bhp@5200rpm, 415lb-ft@3600.
Performance: L34 396/350: 0-60 in 6.5 sec, 1/4 mile in 15.3 sec @ 94mph.

1968 Chevrolet Chevelle SS

Comments: 1968 saw a major redesign of the Chevelle SS. The wheelbase was shortened by three inches and gained new styling. The hood was stretched out and the deck was shortened. The recessed rear window was converted into a fastback look and the rear side windows were given a "V" look. The front end gained a rakish design with bold sweep back lines that extended from bumper to bumper. The 396 returned in 325bhp and 350bhp tune and were joined once again by the 375bhp L78. Axle ratios ranged from 2.73:1 to dealer installed 4.88:1 drag cogs. The SS396's suspension was still a sore spot, and customers also complained about the shifting of the Muncie four-speed.

Production: 57,600 (or 62,785)
Engines: 396 V8 325bp@4800rpm, 410lb-ft@3200rpm. L34 396 V8 350bhp@5200rpm, 415lb-ft@3600. L78 396 V8 375bhp@5600rpm, 415lb-ft@3600rpm
Performance: L78 396/375: 0-60 in 6.5 sec, 1/4 mile in 14.5 sec @ 100mph.

1969 Chevrolet Chevelle SS

Comments: For 1969, the SS 396 became an option package on all Chevelles. Therefore, it was possible to order the SS 396 package on everything from the Malibu sport coupe (the most popular) and convertible to the Chevelle 300-series hardtop and pillared coupe and the El Camino pick up. All Chevelles got new styling which included new tail lamps. The 396 returned in 325, 350, and 375bhp tune but still suffered from poor handling and four-speed linkage. Late in the 1969 model year, the 396 was bored out to 402 cubic engines, reportedly to meet new emission standards. The official name and power ratings were not changed and the Chevelle SS remained one of the most popular muscle cars of the era. Of particular interest to drag racers was the availablity of a number of limited edition Chevelles. Known as COPO Chevelles, these Chevelle's were specially ordered from the factory by certain dealers or well- connected customers with standard L72 427 V8s rated at 425bhp. An estimated 323 Chevelle COPO 427s were built, all of which were often devoid of badges or other indications of the power that resided underneath.

Production: 86,307
Engines: 396 V8 325bp@4800rpm, 410lb-ft@3200rpm. L34 396 V8 350bhp@5200rpm, 415lb-ft@3600. L78 396 V8 375bhp@5600rpm, 415lb-ft@3600rpm. COPO 427 V8 425bhp@5600rpm, 460lb-ft@4000rpm.
Performance: L78 396/375: 0-60 in 6.5 sec, 1/4 mile in 14.5 sec @ 100mph.
Performance: COPO 427/425: 0-60 in 5.1 sec, 1/4 mile in 13.3 sec @ 108mph.



1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS

Comments: 1970 saw the introduction of the most powerful Chevelle SS of all time. Responding to the lifting of GM's ban on engines larger than 400 cid in midsize cars, Chevrolet responded by dropping in a new 454 cubic engine into its Chevelle SS. The entry level 454 was known as the LS5 and packed 360bhp. The top engine choice was the LS6 version with 450bhp. The LS6 had a 800-cfm Holley four barrel on an aluminum manifold, 11.25:1 compression, solid lifters, four-bolt mains, forged steel crank and connecting rods, forged aluminum pistons, and deep-groove accessory pullies. No production engine ever had a higher factory horsepower rating. The standard Chevelle SS 396 continued with its 402 cid engines, although the 325bhp was dropped and the 350bhp version was now standard. Optional on both the 396 and 454 was a new cowl-induction hood, which had a rear facing flapper near the base of the windshield to feed air into the engine. The styling was new with a "vee" front end, functional hood pins, and five-spoke Rallye wheels. This was truly the pinnacle of the Chevelle SS performance.

Production: 53,599
Engines: L34 402 V8 350bhp@5200rpm, 415lb-ft@3400. 402 V8 375bhp@5600rpm, 415lb-ft@3600rpm. LS5 454 V8 360bhp@5400rpm, 500lb-ft@3200rpm. LS6 454 V8 450bhp@5600rpm, 500lb-ft@3600rpm.
Performance: LS6 454/450: 0-60 in 6.1 sec, 1/4 mile in 13.7 sec @ 103mph.

1971 Chevrolet Chevelle SS

Comments: 1971 saw the collapse of muscle car performance. In response to GM's edict that all engines ran on unleaded fuel and to meet ever restrictive emission standards, Chevrolet detuned all its engines and introduced two new entry level engines. The standard engine was now a 350 V8 two barrel that put out a meager 245bhp through a single exhaust! Also available was a 350 V8 four barrel that put out 270bhp. The 402 engine that was previously still known as a 396 was renamed the "Turbo Jet 400" and offered only 300bhp, down from 3500bhp. The 375bhp version was no longer available. The LS6 454 was also killed, but the LS5 454 returned with 365bhp, an increase of 5bhp from 1970. All Chevelles got the new single headlight design from the Monte Carlo and could be optioned with hood stripes and the cowl induction hood. Interestingly, only the LS5 carried external engine ID; they carried "SS 454" badges. All others only said "SS." That was a pretty revealing sign of the times.

Production: 19,992 (SS 454 option)
Engines: L65 350 V8 245bhp@4800rpm, 250lb-ft@2800rpm. L48 350 V8 270bhp@5600rpm, 360lb-ft@3200rpm. LS3 402 V8 300bhp@4800rpm, 400lb-ft@3200. LS5 454 V8 365bhp@4800rpm, 465lb-ft@3200rpm.
Performance: LS6 454/365: 0-60 in 6.0 sec, 1/4 mile in 14.35 sec @ 97mph.

1972 Chevrolet Chevelle SS
Comments: 1972 saw further dilution of the Chevelle SS. Now the SS package could be ordered on any V8 Chevelle. Thus it was possible to have a Chevelle SS with a 307 V8 that put out a meager 130bhp net. GM decreed that all engines had to be reported with their net engine ratings, which resulted in several sharp decreases even though engine power was not necessarily changed. The 350 V8 dropped to 175bhp, the 402 to 240bhp, and the 454 to 270bhp. These were sad times for performance fans indeed.

Production: 5,333 (SS 454 option)
Engines: L65 350 V8 165bhp@4000rpm, 280lb-ft@2400rpm. 350 V8 175bhp@4000rpm, 280lb-ft@2400rpm. LS3 402 V8 240bhp@4400rpm, 345lb-ft@3200rpm. LS5 454 V8 270bhp@4000rpm, 390lb-ft@3200rpm.

1973 Chevrolet Chevelle SS
Comments: 1973 was the last year of the Chevelle SS. Product dilution reached its lowest point and the SS package was technically available on the Chevelle station wagon. The 1973 Chevelle was completely redesigned and the engines were further detuned.

Production: 2,500 (SS 454 option)
Engines: L65 350 V8 145bhp@4000, 255lb-ft@2400rpm. L48 350 V8 175bhp@4000rpm, 270lb-ft@2400rpm. 454 V8 245bhp@4000rpm, 375lb-ft@3200rpm.
1st Generation Camaro


The first Camaro model was the 1967, introduced on September 26, 1966. At the time of introduction, several important options were not available. These included the RPO-Z28 Special Performance Package, and the 396-cid-displacement engine for Camaro SS models.

The 1967 model was the only first generation Camaro to have both rear shocks mounted forward of the rear axle. Later years changed to a staggered arrangement to counter wheel hop. The 1967 was the only Camaro to feature a right-side traction bar, also to counter wheel hop. The traction bar was standard equipment for all Z28 models, and was installed on other high performance models.

The 1967 Camaros did not have side marker lights.

The 1967 Camaro was the only Camaro model to have its VIN tag mounted to the door hinge pillar. The VIN tags of later models moved to positions visible through the windshield.

The bumblebee nose stripe was part of the SS package at the start of 1967 production, but became a separate option (RPO-D91) in March 1968.

Chevrolet built three special Camaro pace cars for the 1967 Indianapolis 500 auto race. It also built 78 look-alikes for complimentary use by race officials and dignitaries during the month preceding the race. After the race, these look-alikes were sold to the public as used cars. All were white SS/RS convertibles with Bright Blue custom interiors. Other options varied. All had "Chevrolet Camaro Official Pace Car 51st Annual Indianapolis 500 Mile Race - May 30, 1967" decals on their doors. (Chevrolet also built anywhere from 100-560 Pace Car Replicas for a special "Pacesetter" campaign which ran through June, plus 21 cars exported to Canada. The actual number of these cars is unknown, this number is my guess - Greg McCann)

When first introduced in September 1966, the 1967 Camaro SS came only with a 350-cid engine, an engine displacement exclusive to the Camaro within the Chevrolet line that year. In November 1966, the 396-cid engines were added to the SS option list.

Though similar to 1968, the 1967 instrument panel was unique to the year. Its padding did not fold over the corners as did the following year. And, with the exception of air-conditioned models, the 1967 instrument panel did not have the side air (Astro Ventilation) vents.

The ignition for the 1967 model (and 1968) was located on the dash.

The first Z28 models were built starting on December 29, 1966, and low volume delivery began in January 1967. The Z28 was initially developed as a contender for the SCCA (Sports Car Club of America) Trans Am sedan racing series. The series had a displacement limit of 305 cubic inches, which the Z28 met by combining a 327-cid Chevrolet block with a 283-cid Chevrolet crankshaft for a 4" x 3" stroke that yielded 302.3 cubic inches.

The "Z" in Z28 was at first nothing more than another option code, along with others like Z23 for the Special Interior Group, or Z87 for the Custom Interior. But the Z28 had a special ring to it and became the model's official name. However, the Z28's built in 1967 carried no external identification other than wide racing stripes. Convertibles could not be ordered with the ZZ8 option.

Chevrolet listed curb weights for the 1967 Camaro as 2,910 pounds for the 6-cylinder coupe, 3,070 pounds for the 8-cylinder coupe, 3,165 pounds for the 6-cylinder convertible, and 3,325 for the 8-cylinder convertible. Add 21 pounds for power windows, 20 pounds for the folding rear seat, 86 pounds for air conditioning, 9 pounds for power brakes, 23 pounds for front disc brakes, 10 pounds for the 250-cid 6-cylinder engine, 39 pounds for the 327-cid V-8 engine, 72 pounds for the 350-cid V-8 engine, 258 pounds for the 396-cid V-8 engine, 7 pounds for the four speed manual transmission, 14 pounds for the Powerglide, 56 pounds for the Turbo Hydra-Matic, 38 pounds for dual exhaust, 29 pounds for power steering, 15 pounds for heavy duty battery, 8 pounds for an AM radio, 9 pounds for an AM-FM radio, and 17 pounds for the Rally Sport.

The 1967 was the only Camaro model to feature side vent windows.

The headlight door covers of the 1967 Camaro were electrically operated. Later model years were vacuum operated.

All 1967 Camaros had single leaf rear springs.

The center console design used in 1967 was unique to the year. Additionally, the design of the optional instrument grouping which mounted to the console was unique to 1967. The secondary instrument cluster consisted of fuel gauge, temperature gauge, oil gauge, ammeter, and clock.

The first 1967 Camaro built at the Norwood, Ohio, plant had a VIN ending in N100001; the first built at the Van Nuys, California, plant had a VIN ending in L100001.


The 1968 Camaro model featured a restyled center console, and a restyled secondary gauge package with a "sawtooth" design. The sawtooth design didn't contain a clock, so when the optional instrument package was ordered, the clock was combined with the tachometer in the right side instrument pod creating 1968's Tick-Tock-Tach.

The 1968 Camaro was the first to feature Astro Ventilation. It did not have side vent windows.

Side marker lamps were used for the first time in Camaros in 1968.

The dash location for the ignition was last used in the 1968 Camaro model.

The headlight cover doors in 1968 Camaros were vacuum operated rather than electric as before.

Cloth upholstery was used for the first time in Camaros in 1968 with the introduction of the famous Houndstooth cloth pattern in black and white check.

The Torque Drive transmission, a Powerglide automatic that was shifted manually, became available in 1968 Camaros.

The bumblebee nose stripe continued in 1968, but was joined by two other striping styles. One wrapped across the top of the nose, down the leading edge of the front fender to a point about four inches above the bumper, then horizontally back to almost the end of the door. The other nose stripe was multicolored and came as part of a special Customized Camaro sales promotion. The sales promotion required selection of Rallye Green, Brite Green, Corvette Bronze, or Lemans Blue exteriors.

To neutralize the wheel hop problems associated with the 1967 models, the 1968 Camaro received staggered rear shock absorbers (the passenger side shock passed behind the axle and the driver-side ahead of the axle). Also, multi-leaf springs were added to V-8 models except for those powered by 210-hp and 275-hp versions of the 327-cid engines.

Four-wheel disc brakes were not factory options for 1968. They were installed on 1968 Camaros, but only by dealers, or customers who purchased them across the counter.

The Z28 option continued in 1968, and Z28 models had either 302 or Z28 emblems on their front fenders.

The cross ram intake manifold with dual four-barrel Holley carburetors became available across the counter.

The grille of non-Rally Sport 1968 Camaros was redesigned to have a more distinct center split. Non-Rally Sports had backup lights incorporated within the standard taillight bezels. The backup lights for Rally Sports were separate units below the bumper. The tail lamps of all 1968 Camaros had center splits to create a four-lamp (two per side) appearance.

A passenger-side grab handle (mounted above the glove box) came as part of the Custom Interior or Special Interior groups in 1968 Camaros.

Nineteen-sixty eight Z28 Camaros are often seen with rear spoilers, but the spoiler (actually called an auxiliary panel and valence) was a separate option as RPO-D80. They were fiberglass.

Camaro SS models had unique hoods in 1968, and the hoods were different for SS-396 and SS-350 models. The SS-350 models had the same style as all 1967 SS models, which featured two thin-ribbed, decorative inserts. The SS-396 models featured two inserts which each had four simulated carburetion stacks. 

1969 FACTS

The 1969 Camaro was the highest volume first generation Camaro, selling 243,085 units in a long model run that extended from September 26, 1968, through the end of November 1969. The 1970 model Camaro wasn't introduced until February 26, 1970. This production total wasn't exceeded until 1978. 
Although part of the first generation of Camaros, the 1969 model received an extensive exterior and interior facelift. New exterior sheet metal included header, valance, fenders, doors, rear quarters, and rear end panel. Wheel wells were flattened for a more aggressive look. The standard grille was redone with sharper angles. The grille of the Rally Sport 1969 models featured vacuum operated covers over the headlights, but the covers had see through slits to permit partial lighting if the doors stuck.
The 1969 Camaro was the only model year to have headlight washers. The system was operated by vacuum much like windshield washers. The headlight washers were included with all Rally Sports and could be purchased separately as RPO-CE1.
Turbo Hydra-Matic automatic transmissions were available in any 1969 Camaro except Z28's. Availability was more restricted in previous years.
Variable-ratio steering appeared in Camaros for the first time in 1969. This meant that as the steering wheel was turned, the wheels turned progressively more as they approached lock. This permitted faster steer but prevented excessively quick response in straight-line driving.
The console and secondary sawtooth instrument cluster designs remained as in 1968, but the 1969 Camaro did get a redesigned main instrument panel. It featured two main pods as before, but 1969's were squared off instead of round. A smaller pod was placed between the two bigger ones. In the standard arrangement, the left pod housed the speedometer, the right pod the fuel gauge, and the center pod the optional clock. With the Special Instrumentation option, the secondary gauges (fuel, battery, temperature, oil) were mounted on the console, the tachometer rook over the big right side pod, and the clock again went into the center pod. If a tachometer was purchased separately in 1969 Camaros (the first time this could be done), the fuel gauge was relocated to the small center dash pod normally reserved for the clock.
The 427-cid engines never appeared on 1969 dealer order sheets, but dealers specially ordered some. These were legitimate factory built vehicles. These 427-cid Camaros are known as COPO cars, the letters signifying Central Office Production Order. COPO 9560 Camaros included an aluminum block "ZL1" 427-cid engine. Sixty-nine of these Camaros was built, fifty for Chevrolet dealer-racer Fred Gibb and nineteen for other dealers. Although Chevrolet had toyed with the idea of a special graphics package for ZL1 Camaros (and actually built two for its own use), the ZL1 Camaros released to the public carried no special exterior identification. The option cost was $4,160, more than the base Camaro itself. A second category of COPO 1969 Camaro was COPO 9561. These had iron-block 427-cid engines. Chevrolet dealer-racer Don Yenko received 201(or 199, depending on the source) of these Camaros and sold some of them through his dealership with special Yenko graphics. Most of the Yenko Super Camaros were sold through Yenko's distributorship, SPAN, Inc.
Additional iron-block 427-cid Camaros were factory-built under COPO 9561, but the quantity isn’t presently known. Additionally, dealer and owner installations of 427-cid motors into 1969 Camaros were common.
Four-wheel disc brakes adapted from the Corvette became a legitimate factory option in 1969. It is a misconception that these were factory options only with Z28 and SS models. You could purchase RPO JL8 for any Camaro, but it cost more if it wasn't a Z/28 or SS - $623.50 instead of $500.30. The design of these brakes was completely different from the front disc rear drum option for 1969. The disc/drum combination used a new single piston, floating caliper design. The Corvette style was non-floating with four pistons per wheel.
The 1969 Camaro was the first to offer two-tone paint.
The Camaro was the pace car for the Indianapolis 500 auto race in 1969. Chevrolet sold 3,675 replicas of the pace car under Regular Production Option Z11. These were SS Rally Sport convertibles with code 911 Dover White exteriors, orange Houndstooth cloth seats, custom interiors, orange striping, white body sills and rear panels, Rally Wheels, bright exhaust tips, and cowl induction hoods. Other options weren't mandatory, but to match the actual pace car, the following RPO's had to be ordered: A01, A39, A85, C06, D55, D80, G80, M40, N34, N40, U17, and U63. There were also a limited number of Pace Car hardtops produced under RPO Z10.
All 1969 Camaros with four-speed transmissions came with Hurst shift linkages.
​Cowl induction hoods with rear facing cold air inlets were installed on all 427-cid COPO 1969 Camaros, on the pace car replicas, and could be factory-ordered for any SS or Z28. A fiberglass version of the cowl induction hood was also sold over-the-counter for use with the dual four-barrel carburetor cross ram setup, or (with an adapter) with single four-barrel engines.Factory-applied stripes on 1969 Camaros with rear spoilers did not cover the small portion of trunk exposed between the spoiler and the taillight panel. Dealers and owners often painted the trunk lip. 

Some X-Code Facts for 69 Camaros

X11 - Style Trim Group (includes SS350)* (Be sure to check out the * below)
X22 - Style Trim Group with SS396 (black rear panel)
X33 - Style Trim Group with Special Performance Equipment (Z28)
X44 - Base car
X55 - Base car with SS350 (rear fender louvers, black body sill**)
X66 - Base car with SS396 (rear fender louvers, black rear panel, black body sill**)
X77 - Base car with Special Performance Equipment (Z28)
Z11 - Indy Pace Car Accents convertible
Z10 - Indy Pace Car Accents coupe - Hardtop (estimates between 250 and 500)
D80 - Air Spoiler Equipment (when used not all cars built with spoilers were coded)

What? You don't have an "X" code but still want to know if your 1969 Chevy Camaro is a Z28 or an SS? That's right if you don't have one of the above codes then there is nothing else on the trim tag to identify a 1969 Chevy Camaro as a Z28 or an SS.

*There is no specific X-code for the SS350. X11 could mean SS350 with Style Trim or a base Camaro with Style Trim. A '69 SS required at least power front disc brakes.

Style Trim Group (included in Rally Sport option) consisted of fender striping (except when Sport Striping or Z28 is specified), and simulated rear fender louvers, front and rear wheel opening moldings, black body sill,** rear panel emblems, bright headlight and taillight accents. Sport coupe included bright roof drip moldings.

** Except colors 51, 57, 61, and 67.

Note: Chevy Camaro SS included rear fender louvers and black body sill.** Black rear panel was included with 396 engine. Z11 and Z10 included orange hood, deck, and fender striping and deleted the black body sill and rear panel with 396 engine.