As with several other mid-Sixties GMintermediates, the Chevrolet Chevelle was always destined to be classified in the category ‘legendary American muscle car’. Introduced in 1964 as a ‘senior compact’, the Chevelle Malibu Super Sport became available with an SS396 engine option package in 1965, something which would mark its official entry into the muscle car arena. In 1966, the Chevelle SS396 was completely restyled, broke its ties with the Malibu nameplate and became an intermediate series in its own right. By 1968, the Chevelle SS had established itself as a true muscle car, alongside nameplates like the Pontiac GTO, Olds 4-4-2, Dodge Charger, Plymouth Road Runner and others, and it received another revision, which many aficionados regard as being the iconic Chevelle SS look: the long hood/short rear deck treatment was now seen on other GM brands, but the clean-looking, tapered front and rear profile of the ’68 and ’69 Chevelles was pure Chevrolet.
In 1970, the front and rear end of the Chevelle SS received a flatter, squarer look, and in 1971 large single headlamps, à la Monte Carlo, replaced twin headlamps, which is why Mark Evans’ Chevelle is a bit different from the previous models, but no less iconic. The penultimate year of the SS option, which offered a 454 V8 as well as the 396 engine, was 1971.
Mark’s Chevelle, however, started life as a very different car, and here he describes the process of acquiring it, which started when he was living and working in Germany: “I’ve been into classic cars all my life, but when I was living in Germany I had a Porsche, but I didn’t feel it. It was modern, it was just a car, and I wanted to get a classic. I always wanted a Mustang fastback – a ’67 or ’68 – so I bought one and I think it was the worst car I’ve ever owned! It was really bad – the build quality was terrible.
“But a friend of mine, a guy who had a Chevy Caprice, kept telling me about how fantastic Chevrolets were and singing their praises, finally saying: ‘If you’re going to get an American car, you’ve got to get a Chevrolet.’ I went to a number of shows in Germany, where I saw a lot of Chevelles, and I loved the shape. Strangely, they don’t seem to be as popular a muscle car here as they are in the States, and that kind of appealed to me as well. So, when I got back to the UK I saw one on eBay, and at a pretty low price because the guy was moving abroad, so I went down to see it and made him a ludicrous offer… and he accepted it!”
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