Chevrolet Chevelle Malibu SS 396 Z16

The Chevrolet Chevelle is a mid-sized automobile produced from1964 through 1977. The Chevelle was one of Chevrolet's most successful nameplates. Body styles include coupes, sedans, convertibles and station wagons. Super Sport versions were produced through the 1973 model year, and Lagunas from 1973 through 1976.

The Chevelle SS represented Chevrolet's entry into the muscle car battle. Early 1964 and 1965 Chevelles had a Malibu SS badge on the rear quarter panel.

In1965, Chevrolet also offered the 350-hp 327 V8 as Regular Production Option (RPO) L79. Still, for those “sensible” buyers, the Chevelle was appealing, and Chevy built 294,160 this first year, including 76,860 SS models.

Only 200 regular production 1965 Z16 Chevelles were built at the Kansas City plant. The Z16 option included the convertible boxed frame, a narrowed rear axle and brake assemblies from the contemporary Impala, heavy-duty suspension, plus virtually all Chevelle comfort and convenience options. The Z16 standard big-block 396 Turbo-Jet V8 came only with the Muncie wide-ratio four-speed manual transmission. The rear panel of the Z16 had unique black and chrome trim which framed untrimmed Chevelle 300-style taillights (Malibu and Malibu SS models had bright metal lens trim).

The prototype Z16 Chevelle was built at the Baltimore plant. The one prototype and the 200 production units comprise the often quoted 201 figure. One convertible was reportedly special built for Chevy General Manager Semon "Bunkie" Knudsen, but is understood to have been destroyed. This Z16 convertible supposedly surfaced in Art Astor's famous auto collection has been proven to be a fake.

In any case, extremely low production and ferocious performance for Z16-equipped Chevelles means this is one of the rarest, most coveted Chevrolets ever produced. Of the few that remain, prices run in six figures. Although some regular 1965 Chevelle owners have attempted to fake the Z16, this is a most difficult task due to the unavailability of the unique Z16 equipment and trim, although much of the external trim pieces are now being reproduced in the aftermarket.

Source: Wikipedia, 2012

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