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1973-1977 Chevrolet Chevelle

1973 Chevrolet Chevelle Styling

The 1973 Chevrolet Chevelle styling was relatively clean. All the 1973 General Motors intermediates had dual headlights, but this was nothing new for the Chevelle, which had been running with twin lamps since 1971.

1973 Chevrolet Chevelle Malibu
The production 1973 Malibu emerged with a
conventional grille and a hefty front bumper.

A grille of stacked horizontal bars filled the space between each headlight. Large, round, quad tail lamps were found at the rear on coupes and sedans (mounted in the bumper on station wagons), another small touch carried over from the 1971-1972 models. Hidden windshield wipers and flush outside door handles were standard. An antenna embedded in the windshield was included with factory-installed radios.

Energy-absorbing hydraulic front bumper systems left an ungainly appearance on these vehicles and added more weight. Wagon styles included a new lightweight one-piece swing-up liftgate; swing-out rear-quarter vent windows were standard on three-seat models.

Chevrolet offered three full Chevelle series for 1973. A luxurious new Laguna range was the top line, meaning the Malibu was now pushed down to second rank. For the price-leader series, Chevrolet revived the Deluxe nameplate.

1973 Baldwin-Motion Phase III Chevelle
Baldwin Chevrolet, a New York dealership, along
with Motion Performance, created and sold this one
1973 Baldwin-Motion Phase III Chevelle for $12,030.

All three series were offered in the full array of body styles. There were Estate versions of the Laguna and Malibu wagons (with simulated wood side trim), and there was a surprising new station wagon option package we'll get to in a moment. (The new wagon's body and chassis also gave rise to an updated El Camino sedan pickup. GMC sold a variation of this car-based hauler called the Sprint.)

A 250-cubic-inch engine generating 100 net horsepower powered six-cylinder Chevelles, while a 307-cubic-inch engine was standard in most V-8 models. Three optional V-8s -- including a 245-horsepower Turbo-jet 454-cubic-inch V-8 with a four-barrel carburetor -- were offered. The big-block 454, introduced in 1970, previously had been available only in Chevelle Super Sports but was optional in any Chevelle for 1973.

The popular small-block 350-cubic-inch V-8 was offered in 145-horsepower two-barrel and 175-horsepower four-barrel versions. The two-pot 350 was standard in Lagunas. Valve rotators were now used in all V-8 engines.

Two four-speed transmissions were offered: a wide-ratio box with the 175-horsepower 350 V-8, and a close-ratio unit for the 454 when installed in the coupe models only. A special instrumentation package, with round gauges borrowed from the Monte Carlo, was offered only for V-8 coupes.

The SS model option made its final appearance on a Chevelle in 1973 (though it hung on for years on El Caminos). Not surprisingly, it was available for coupes, but that it was also available on the station wagon was a real shock.

1973 Chevrolet Chevelle Malibu Super Sport
The Super Sport package was available as a
performance option package for the 1973 Malibu.

Malibu coupes and wagons received Super Sport treatment when regular production option Z15 was specified. A black-finished grille and special exterior accents, lower bodyside and wheel opening striping, prominent SS badging, and a Monte Carlo-style instrument panel were included. The SS coupe featured 14×7 rally wheels and fat G70-14 white-lettered tires, while Turbine I wheels and less-aggressive tires (and suspension components) were included with the SS wagon. A 350 or 454 V-8 was required.

The SS option listed for $249.50 extra on the wagon, which Chevrolet prophetically promised would be a one-of-a-kind vehicle. The rare one-year-only Super Sport wagon helped raise total Chevelle SS sales slightly; about 4,000 more were built in 1973 than in 1972.

See the next page to read about the new top-line 1973 Chevrolet Chevelle Laguna models.

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