Thursday, June 8, 2017

Brawny Bay Ridge Bumblebee

I strolled around the block from my house recently and this striking brute was waiting for me:
This is a 1972 Chevrolet Chevelle SS in Cream Yellow. This thing dead lifts more than you and has a tribal tattoo around it's bicep.
There are 2 simple ways to discern a '72 from the almost-identical '71. Those turn signals consist of a single lens on each side whereas they were split into 2 stacked rectangles previously. In addition there are 2 horizontal bars in this grill where the '71 had one. In the interest of overall toughness the owner has blacked out the chrome bars on this grill* (which is nothing compared to having a black hood and trunk I suppose).
*For the record there was a blacked out version of this grill as a part of the Heavy Chevy package. That was more of a base model Chevelle with the big engine than a true SS.
The Super Sport package had been available in some form on various Chevys since it was an option for the 1961 Impala (my favorite Impala for what it's worth). It has varied from a simple dress up package that adds stripes and badges to a legitimate performance upgrade. This year is thankfully the latter with front and rear sway bars joining that fire breathing V8 under the hood.
This ride is just beautiful in that delicate Cream Yellow. Chrome trim is very understated with thin moldings around the wheel wells, front and rear glass, and the drip rail above the doors only.
This was the final year for the Cowl Induction hood that brought fresh air directly into the thirsty 4 barrel carburetor. When it's hooked up properly it remains closed until you stomp your foot on the gas when a vacuum actuator pulls it open. When there is no vacuum in the system or it's not hooked up it stays open like this. As bad ass as this sweet detail is it added no horsepower to the car but who cares? COWL INDUCTION bro yes!
*Those functional hood pins are a part of the Cowl Induction hood package by the way.
This car is outfitted with the mightiest of the mighty for Chevrolet; the 7.4 liter Turbo-Jet 454 V8. The way horsepower had been rated had changed to net as opposed to gross in 1971 so the 454 was rated at "only" 270 HP (those are air quotes for effect you grammar nazis). The net HP was supposed to approximate the power at the wheels and the gross would be what the engine produced on its own. The gross HP for this engine was probably more like 365 but there is no disputing the torque rating which was a whopping 390lbs.
This ride is outfitted with the optional Strato-Bucket seats and a console mounted slap shifter for the automatic transmission. There's also a color coordinated Yellow Little Tree hanging off the dash which is Jasmin (I looked it up). Points for consistency.
This is the last year for the second generation Chevelle which debuted in 1968. While the body dimensions are the same the '68-'69 version looked very different in the front with a forward leaning grill containing quad headlights. For 1970 only there were quad lights with body color surrounds before switching to single headlights such as this ride.
I love the continuity across lines within Chevrolet for 1972. The Camaro had similar taillights as did the Corvette. Each taillight is actually different but they look identical to the layman. A single Michigan plate? Normally I would launch into a diatribe about how you'll never get a ticket in Brooklyn with one out of state plate on any car but this one is too nice so I think it's legit.
This is the mid size GM muscle car body which was shared by the Buick Skylark/Gran Sport, Oldsmobile Cutlass/442, and Pontiac LeMans/GTO. These cars sold spectacularly well overall, with the Chevelle being the 2nd best selling American car of 1972. Many consider 1970 to be the ultimate moment in the Muscle Car craze due to a combination of unbridled horsepower and lack of regulation. This generation Chevelle was square in the middle of the craze.
If I were smarter, more patient, or better prepared I would've saved this for my 454th post but too bad. My desires usually move away from such common cars as illustrated by my 1st gen Mustang takedown but I'm giving this one a pass. Why is that? The car above represents the final moments of the muscle car era with few exceptions (the Super Duty Trans Am from 1974 is, in my opinion, the very last remnant of the original MC era). The 454 wasn't even listed in most of the Chevelle brochures of the day. 1973 would introduce a new, larger era for Chevelle the likes of which can be seen in the movie Drive*. While those cars are cool enough it's a major departure from these more athletic rides.
*Heads-up music will play the moment that clip starts!

1 comment:

  1. Saw this car in person awhile ago on my way to a field trip, no joke. Plates match and everything. There's a link this page on my Flickr post of those images I took of this Chevelle if you don't mind.