Partnered: Why the Chevrolet Chevelle Is Collectable

Why the Chevrolet Chevelle Is Collectable

By Yoav Gilad
April 24, 2014

Photography by Josh Clason for Petrolicious

The Collector is a weekly series produced in association with Gear Patrol, where we discuss the car, and Gear Patrol discusses the essential gear inspired by the car. (Click here to see the rest of The Collector Series on Petrolicious.)

The Chevrolet Chevelle is pure, American unpretentiousness. It’s simple, straightforward, and designed to do one thing: cover the quarter-mile faster than anything else. The Chevelle belongs to GM’s A-body family, which was completely redesigned for the 1968 model year. More importantly, in 1970 GM finally lifted their ban on engines larger than 400 cubic inches (roughly 6.6L) and the Chevelle was available with a top-of-the-line 454 cubic-inch (7.4L) engine option, making 360hp (there was also a racing engine option, the LS6, that was supposedly conservatively rated at 450hp!). This move was a response to Chrysler’s dominance not only in drag racing, but also in terms of raw numbers. For GM, it was a question of street cred. This was, after all, the zenith of the horsepower wars, they had to become competitive to stay relevant.

In terms of appearance, the main difference between the 1971 and 1972 model years is the grille design. They both feature single headlights on each side, rather than the dual units that the Chevelle had been equipped with since its inception. But the ’71 has a single chrome bar connecting them rather than the ‘72’s two-bar design. So why do pre-1972 models have a perceived superiority?

It’s actually rather simple, according to Mr. Brian Rabold, Hagerty’s Valuation Services Senior Manager, “As 1972 was the first year of reported net horsepower ratings rather than gross, the ‘72 Chevelle has historically lagged behind the 1971 in price by a small amount.” However, the perception is mistaken as he explains, “The ownership experience is much closer to even, however, given that the power difference was felt mostly on paper.”

Whether or not this car is for you is an entirely different question. Over the past five years most American muscle cars have seen their values remain fairly flat without too much fluctuation up or down. But trying to forecast the market is a fool’s game, and as with any collectable, you should only buy what you love. So if you’re looking for a no-nonsense, straight-line terror and don’t care about conventional (oft-mistaken) wisdom then, Brian says, “the 1972 Chevelle is a solid buy for someone who loves the look and feel of 1970-71 Chevelles but not necessarily the price.”

If you’d like to see a 1972 Chevy Chevelle in action, watch our last video, here.

Special thanks to Mr. Brian Rabold and Hagerty for their contribution as well as Mr. Mark & Mrs. Shirley Lundquist, for allowing us to photograph his Chevelle.


If the name Chevelle is supposed to sound regal, then every regal family must also have its backwoods cousin. Believe it or not, the infamous Chevy El Camino was at one time part of the Chevelle family. Categorized as a “coupe utility vehicle”, the El Camino was inspired by an Australian farmer’s need to have a car that could pull double duty, hauling pigs during the week and then for gettin’ to church on Sunday. 

Written by Amos Kwon of Gear Patrol

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Andreas Lavesson
Andreas Lavesson
9 years ago

When I first became interested in muscle cars, the Chevelle was probably my favourite. Personally I prefer the ’69 and ’70, but these are quite striking too. Although I’ve broadened my muscle car horizon now, I still keep coming back to the Chevelle time and time again.

Christopher Gay
Christopher Gay
9 years ago

I always liked the Chevelles. Truth be told, back in the day if a Chevelle was ever along side me on a freeway on ramp, it wouldn’t matter how fast I could pull through those four speeds in my 289, I would always be looking at the back end of that Chevelle. Those cars are real fast bone stock.

I did drive a ’65 El Camino, or should I say, “coupe utility vehicle,” for many years. This was a great car/truck/vehicle as well.

John Glance
John Glance
9 years ago

Love looking at this Chavelle. My dad bought a 1970 Chevelle SS454 new in 1970 (Maybe late ’69 – his was gold with black racing stripe) and shipped it to Germany where we were stationed for military duty. We drove it for the years we were there all over Europe in family vacations. Incredible car – I can still remember being in the back seats with my brother and sister listening to CCR on the 8 track and watching the European landscape fly by. Brings back a lot of great memories. Thanks!

Dustin Rittle
Dustin Rittle
9 years ago

I must thank you for the tons of great pictures of this heavy Chevy. I think the article hits the nail on the head with regards to the Chevelle and why its a collectable car. The chevelle at least to me was always a decent looking car with one mission in life to torment those tires and make that m.p.h needle to slide past 60 before you knew what hit you. It wasnt meant to be agile or sporty it was meant for the stop light grand prix and the 454 chevelle was just the pinnacle of that thinking. I wanna go out looking for a Chevelle right now 😀