Chevrolet Bel Air
For 1965, the full size Chevrolet was totally restyled, and the cars were stretched to 213.3 in overall, even though the wheelbase remained the same. The new stamped grille had a lower extension below the bumper which was slightly veed. Curved window glass and round taillights mounted high characterized the new styling. The interiors were also redesigned and a very attractive dash resulted. The standard V8 remained the 283 CID model of 195 hp, but options included two new 396 cu in CID engines of 325 and 340 hp and two 409 CID blocks of 400 and 425 hp.
The Bel Air utilizes a stainless-steel belt and rocker molding, identifying signature on the rear fenders, a glove compartment light and power tailgate on 9-passenger wagons to distinguish itself from the lower-priced Biscayne series.
For 1966, Chevrolet was in its second season of a totally new body change, so mild facelifting sufficed including forward thrusting, blunted front fenders and a revised grille. At the rear, a break with the traditional round taillamps took place. Bel Air and Biscayne featured dual rectangular lamps with back-up lamps built in. Overall length was 213.2 in. The standard six-cylinder engine this year was the larger 250 CID version of 155 hp. New for the speed set was a 427 cu in V8 of 390 or 425 hp. Bel Air was readily distinguishable from Biscayne by its full length body side molding and rear fender Bel Air signatures. All-vinyl interiors were now standard on station wagons while cloth and vinyl trims continued on sedans.
For 1967, Full-sized Chevrolets featured a new body with bulging rear fenders, one of this year's styling trends, not necessarily appreciated by everyone. Bel Air 2 and 4-door Sedans continued in addition to 6 and 9-passenger wagons. This year Bel Air featured triple taillights unlike Biscayne's dual units. Standard engines remained the same as the previous year. Optional engines were a 327 CID V8 of 275 hp, the 396 CID V8 of 350 hp; or the 427 CID V8 of 385 hp, plus various speed packages.
For 1968, the Full-sized Chevrolets received some changes but were quite similar to the 1967 models, though they had grown one inch to 214.7 in. Chevrolet's new grille design bears a strong resemblance to Cadillac's, but Bel Air's dual round taillight design is strictly Chevrolet. In an unusual move, the taillights were mounted in the bumper.
In addition to the 250 CID Six of 155 hp, standard engines included the new 307 cu in V8 of 200 hp. The Bel Air with the standard 250 Six was capable of a top speed of 90 mph and 18.4 mpg-US at cruising speeds. When powered by the new 307 CID V8, the Bel Air series cars had a top speed of 105 mph and 17.1 mpg-US at cruising speeds.
For 1969, the big Chevrolet was totally redesigned, given a new length, new fender and body lines, and a new front and back end, but continued using the basic 1965 chassis, inner body structure and even the rooflines of pillared two- and four-door sedans. The cars also remained on the 119 in wheelbase, but grew to a new length of 219.9 in, while the wagons grew 4.3 in to a new length of 217.7 Engine offerings included a standard 250 cubic-inch six-cylinder and 235-horsepower 327 V-8, and optional V-8 engines included two 350s of 255 and 300 horsepower, a 396 rated at 265 horsepower and three 427 V8s 335 hp, 390 hp, and 425 hp.
This was the final year for the Bel Air 2-door sedan and the Bel Air based station wagon was renamed Townsman, as part of a Chevrolet move to revert to the pre-1962 practice of using different nameplates on station wagons than other models. Three- and four-speed manual transmissions were again offered along with the two-speed Powerglide automatic with the six-cylinder, and 327 and 350 V-8s; and the three-speed Turbo Hydramatic, offered only with the big-block V-8s since its 1965 introduction, was now available with all engines.
Source: Wikipedia, 2013