Chevy Chevelle SS
The Chevelle, which first came out in 1964, was Chevrolet’s mid-sized answer to the Ford Fairlane. For three generations, through 1977, the Chevelle offered buyers a range of body styles, trim levels, and performance packages, and proved to be a big seller for Chevy. Among all the different variations of the nameplate, the Chevy Chevelle SS was one of the most popular and iconic.
When Chevrolet introduced the Chevelle in 1964, fans noticed immediately that it was a throwback to the legendary models of the mid ‘50s. The buying public loved the Chevelle right away, but when the nameplate brought out its entry into the muscle car genre, it gained even more fans. The Super Sport performance package was added to the first Chevy Chevelle SS in 1964.
The first Chevy Chevelle SS models wore Malibu badges in 1964 and 1965. Malibu was a trim level for the Chevelle, and for a little extra, buyers could also get the SS package, which included 14-inch wheel covers, vinyl bucket seats, and the choice of a Powerglide two-speed automatic or Muncie aluminum four-speed automatic transmission. For an engine, the early Chevy Chevelle SS models included a 283-cubic inch V8 with 220 horsepower.
Over the next couple of years, the Chevy Chevelle SS added bigger and more powerful engines in answer to its impressive sister muscle cars the Oldsmobile Cutlass 442 and the Pontiac GTO. By 1966, the line-up included the SS396, a model housing the 396-cubic inch big block V8 engine. In 1966, just 200 Z16 SS396 models were manufactured. These included the big engine, the rear axle and brake assembly out of the Impala, a heavy-duty suspension, and all the interior trim options for the highest level Chevelle.
The Chevy Chevelle SS package option continued for several more years, but by the early 1970s the cost of insurance caused muscle cars to lose power and performance. Little by little, the SS was whittled down to a model that was more about showy features and less about real performance. Nevertheless, the Chevy Chevelle SS remains a legend of American muscle cars and is a hot collector’s item today.