When the Chevelle/Malibu debuted in 1964, Chevrolet had a handsome, reserved mid-size coupe. Really it was a bowtie-branded Oldsmobile and Buick as all three shared nearly identical straight-edged bodies and corporate approved engines unlike that in the LeMans GTO. The Chevelle was a follower rather than a road blazer. Chevy introduced a hint of potential with Z16 package, 396 cubic inch propelled Chevelles, though few were produced for a massive wave to befall competitors. This was also the period in the 60s when ordering a Super Sport package didn't necessarily mean a big, hairy lump under the hood. Of all things one could actually be a poser from the factory. In 1968 the Chevelle got serious.
As with most intermediate models across the domestic board, Chevelles could be optioned out as superb drive-in cruisers or totally spartan street warriors. Options included, but are not limited to: front bucket seats, full-length center console, air conditioning, power front disc brakes, accent stripes, and positraction. The term positraction actually belongs to Chevrolet the next time you hear someone informally throw "posi" around Mopar or Ford discussions.
Posh convertibles were a sweet shape if open air antics were your thing. 300 deluxe post coupes could have been as innocuous as they look or rather stinging with Chevy's hot L79 327 small block. At nearly 1 horsepower per cube (325), the small block stigma didn't seem so great. Buyers had their choice of GM Rally Wheel, full wheel cover, or dog dish cap for shoes. But enough of the cosmetics because there were plenty of mechanical flavors to drool over.
Three 396ci big block options gave Chevelle its own big bore medicine for Hemiholics. The base 325 horsepower version returned and optional code L34 350hp and top tier L78 375hp offerings appealed to any level of commitment. Oh yeah, and a fellow named Don Yenko paid attention to the potential and would go through the COPO back door and acquire L72 427 Chevelles for '69.
Unlike all of the colors and mascots at the Mopar camp and Cobra drunk offerings at Ford, GM had a handsome intermediate with their redesigned Chevelle. It's not a full fastback, but it meets the shape half way. The slope of the roof hints at the bullet-like velocity this car's capable of and strikes a warning at challengers with a pose.
From the days of hand-drawn and numerous clay model experiments, the Chevelle really looks like something from the heart: a face bold, but not frightening, a roof sleek, but not without rear visibility, panel lines deliberate, but not so sharp it cuts your eye.
Through your windshield or in your mirror, the double "S" meant war, especially when accompanied by the racket of solid lifters. 1968-1969 Chevelles just lie in that harmonious sweet spot between style and speed. Even if nobody saw a Super Sport badge, they had to look twice because enough goes on at skin level to make one suspicious.
Few knew of the 327 post coupes, but without the Malibu's trademark badge in the grille anything could be. Maybe that Malibu is also packing heat. Who's to say it can't? That's what makes a legend: a silhouette that's recognized and respected in any light not watered down by graphics and special paint codes. Anger it then you'll see the evil worn under Chevelle's face no matter what ammunition you bring.