Dream Car Friday: 1965 Chevrolet Chevelle
It may have an underwhelming name, but the Chevrolet Chevelle is worthy of not just your garage space, but a place in your heart. Here's a cracker from our classifieds...
The Chevrolet Chevelle remains one of the world’s finest muscle cars, complete with one of the most underwhelming names.
Chevrolet hit the proverbial jackpot with the Chevelle when it was launched in 1964, taking advantage of the muscle car eras' living years with gusto. As the only all-new model launched by Chevrolet in the US that year, the first generation Chevelle was in good company, rivalling the likes of the Dodge Charger, the Ford Galaxie and the Plymouth Barracuda.
Although perhaps not the obvious choice from this list of cars-I-will-never-afford, the Chevelle has earned its place amongst the best of the best.
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The Chevelle starred in an unexpected role for the film The Last American Hero, starring Jeff Bridges in one of his breakthrough roles. Portraying Junior Johnson, the famous NASCAR driver of the 50s and 60s, Bridges is seen hammering a first generation Chevelle around the ring, cheeky grin very much intact.
Even more unexpected was an appearance in Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction with a red 1965 Chevelle Malibu, much like the car we’ve found in our classifieds. The story is even more interesting, as John Travolta’s character, Vincent Vega, is seen in Tarantino’s own car for the film. Then it was 'borrowed'...
Tarantino's Chevelle was stolen from the Pulp Fiction set in 1994, providing a metric tonne of irony as one of Travolta’s famous lines from the blockbuster film included some solid advice on how you don’t ‘f**k with another man’s vehicle.’ Thankfully, Tarantino’s Chevelle has recently been recovered, even if it was 19 years after he last saw it...
The Chevelle was offered in a range of guises, from a wieldy station wagon like instrument, to the gorgeous convertible seen here, they even made a pick-up called the El Camino, which seems to live on in American culture like a demi-God.
Power also came in a variety of options ranging from a piddly 194ci straight-six, right the way up to a 396ci big clock Chevy V8, with some hilarious gearbox options too – ever been concerned by too many gears in your automatic? The Chevelle can be found with a 2 speed for your… pleasure?
The second generation Chevelle is where the party was, with the SS version boasting 450bhp, it was one of the highest production outputs of its time; rather scary considering drum brakes and leaf springs were the order of the day – a good way to see if you have healthy blood pressure, however.
The 1965 model year was the last to feature the Malibu SS badging as seen on our classified of choice, which designated a 327ci V8 pushing either 300 or 350bhp (like this one) through a four barrel carburettor.
This example is finished in flamboyant Orange Crush, and together with the classic American Racing torque-thrust alloys it really looks the part. Our classified also hosts a pleasingly robust list of upgrades to really let the new owner enjoy all aspects of 60s motoring, but with none of the drawbacks.
Air-conditioning, power steering, power disc brakes and sway bars will have completely transformed the experience – it even has 6 way electric seats! This Chevelle is evidently befitting of our nominated dream car, and with previous owners including Jon Bon Jovi, Reggie Jackson and the aforementioned Quentin Tarantino – who’s going to argue with that?