The 1971 Chevy Chevelle SS was part of the second generation of Chevy’s muscle cars. When the Chevelle line came into being in 1964, GM hoped it could be competitive with the Ford Fairlane and that it would be a reintroduction of the size and concept of the popular ’55 to ’57 models from Chevrolet. Throughout their run, the Chevelles were available as sport coupes, sport sedans, convertibles, and even wagons.
Right off the bat in 1964, the Chevelle line offered an SS with a Malibu badge that represented Chevrolet’s contribution to the growing muscle car sector. The 1971 Chevy Chevelle SS came along in the second generation of the model line during which the body of the car changed significantly. From 1968 to 1972 the body received a more sculpted design and the ’71 was redesigned further with a new grille and bumper and new headlights and taillights.
Coming off a year of disappointing statistics for the Chevelles, the 1971 Chevy Chevelle SS model posted an impressively low 14-second quarter mile time. It was a rough time for muscle cars in Detroit with new emission standards forcing a change to low-lead fuels and surcharges on insurance premiums for SS models. The result was smaller block engines, two 350-cid V8s with 245 and 270 bhp, in the 1971 Chevy Chevelle SS and compression ratios well below those of the pre-1970 models.
The big blocks were still available, though, just at an added cost. For a whopping $173, you could have the 402-cid with 300 bhp. An even more powerful 454-cid SS was never released in 1971, although rumors to the contrary raised the hopes of many enthusiasts that year.
Aside from the bigger engine option, the 1971 Chevy Chevelle SS model offered purchasers wider tires and wider wheels, power front disks, a blackout grille, and F41 suspension along with the rear and front stabilizer bars.
Although the 1971 Chevy Chevelle SS and the rest of the line enjoyed a fairly brief run, the Chevelles were one of Chevy’s most popular models and left their mark in the later El Camino, Monte Carlo, and the perennial favorite, the Malibu.