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1973-1977 Chevrolet Chevelle


1975 Chevrolet Chevelle

As the U.S. auto market continued shifting to smaller, more fuel-efficient cars for 1975, Chevrolet focused on its small-car models, including a restyled Nova, new Monza 2+2 and mid-year Monza Towne Coupe, plus the tangential Cosworth Vega twin-cam special. Though unchanged in basic dimensions, the 1975 Chevrolet Chevelle was no longer touted as "standard-sized;" it was now prudently marketed as the mid-size, mid-price Chevrolet. Still, production fell below 285,000 cars.

1975 Chevrolet Chevelle Malibu Classic Landau
A new grille, headlamp bezels, and taillights
graced the 1975 Chevelle Malibu Classic Landau.

The 454-cubic-inch V-8, downrated yet again to 215 horsepower, made it into 1975 as a Chevelle option, but this would be its last go-around in the Chevrolet intermediate. It was not available in California, or, curiously, in the Laguna Type S-3, and the optional four-speed stick was no longer offered. Meanwhile, the 250-cubic-inch six standard in Malibu and Malibu Classic coupes and sedans was extensively revamped and promised better fuel economy.

Additional fuel-saving measures were being pursued in places other than under the hood. The new Chevrolet Efficiency System included a federally mandated catalytic converter that helped Chevelles run smoother, cleaner, and, most importantly to buyers in 1975, more economically. (To guard against fouling the converter catalyst with leaded gasoline exhaust, the fuel filler neck was made narrower to accommodate the smaller nozzles of pumps that dispensed unleaded gas.)

A 2.56:1 "highway" axle ratio was available to improve V-8 gas mileage. Furthermore, buyers could now choose an Econominder instrument package that included a vacuum gauge to point out when optimum fuel economy was being attained. Coupes with V-8 engines could still be equipped with a tachometer and cars equipped with the tach or Econominder brought with them the round-gauge instrument cluster adapted from Monte Carlo.

New front and rear designs, with a distinct grille and simple rectangular tail-lamps, provided a fresh appearance for the 1975 Chevelle line. Dual remote mirrors, new twin sport mirrors, intermittent wipers, and cruise control were among new convenience features this year. Although the basic body styling was unaltered, the Colonnade designation was dropped.

1975 Chevelle interior
Despite being a mid-size car, the
1975 Chevelle sedan could seat six.

The Laguna Type S-3 was on hiatus at the beginning of the 1975 model year, but it would reappear at the Detroit Auto Show in January 1975. A new graphics treatment with striping and vinyl accents that contrasted vividly with the body color was available, but the Type S-3 could be ordered without striping for a clean and fresh new look.

Up front, a Camaro-inspired sloping frontal appearance gave the Type S-3 a genuinely sporty look. Inside, cloth or vinyl upholstery could be selected for the standard bench seat. Swivel buckets and a console were available at extra cost.

The Malibu Classic gained more elegance with a plusher interior and suspension upgrades that promised a quieter ride. Rally wheels were now available on all models, and radial-ply tires became standard on all Chevelles.

To follow the Chevelle story into 1976 and 1977, continue to the next page.

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