Surprisingly, for the all new 1973 model year, some 7,000 less Chevelles were made than in the previous year.  As was the case with Pontiac, Chevrolet’s intermediates didn’t feature the formal roof, which was reserved for the Monte Carlo.  So like Pontiac, Chevrolet inserted a formal-look window in its semi-fastback roof for the non-basic models the next year, which eventually would become standard through the line by 1977.  The 1974 Malibu Classic had a hood ornament and it received double vertical rectangular headlights by 1976.  By 1975, Chevrolet left out the ‘Colonnade’ naming. 

The Monte Carlo, on the 4-door wheelbase, and with a real formal roof, outsold the Chevelle coupes from the start, and more so the full Chevelle line by 1976.  In 1977, four out of ten 4-door models would be a wagon, after the downsizing of the senior line.  When including the El Camino and GMC Sprint utilities with sheet metal similar to the Chevelle, and also Canadian and Mexican production, nearly two million units were made.  Compare this with 2,156,406 Oldsmobile Cutlass, all built in the USA.  However, Chevelle plus intermediate-based Monte Carlo outsold Cutlass, though the Cutlass Supreme and Salon coupes with formal roof outsold the more sculptured Monte Carlo in 1977.

Under the skin:

The Chevelle was the only 1973-1977 GM intermediate that kept the 250 6-cylinder-in-line over the whole period, as the Chevy V6 engine would arrive only after the downsizing.  The Chevrolet V8 350 engine was offered in both 2-barrel and 4-barrel forms (but not always in every area), and was confined to the 4-barrel in 1977, when it became the largest engine.  Canada kept the dual exhaust version up to 1974, a year longer than the USA.  Power brakes and power steering became standard equipment for the V8 models by 1976, while over 75% of the 6-cylinder buyers opted for power brakes and almost 95% for power steering.  One out of five 6-cylinder buyers who had the choice of manual or automatic gearbox stuck to the manual transmission (which was not available on the Malibu Classic Sedan and Laguna models).

Mexico offered a high compression 250 engine up to 1975, and an earlier V8 350, which both were available with the 4-speed manual transmission.  The later downsized Malibu would still be equipped with the six-in-line engine, other than north of the border.  Venezuela was another country where the Chevelle Malibú (sic) was assembled, initially with the 165 hp 1972 engine, and where it was voted Car of the Year for 1973.





1973-1977 Pontiac LeMans

1973-1977 Oldsmobile Cutlass

1973-1977 Buick Century


American Cars 1962-1977