standard catalog of CHEVELLE 1964-1987, Malibu - El Camino - GMC Sprint

standard catalog of CHEVELLE 1964-1987

"Standard" is commonly defined as (1) An acknowledged measurement of comparison for quantitative or qualitative value, a criterion ...and... (2) A degree or level of requirement, excellence, or attainment. Sadly this book doesn't meet this criterion.


The book is nicely broken down into years by series and/or model number. Chevelles range from 1964 through 1977, Malibu from 1978 through 1983, El Camino from 1964 through 1987, GMC Sprint from 1971 through 1977, and GMC Caballero from 1978 through 1987. Each year/model is broken down with numerous bits of information with ID numbers, colors, series, engines, options, etc.


Where do I begin? Aside from a marketing standpoint of trying to include as many Chevrolet (and GMC) series as possible, the Chevelle stopped being a Chevelle in 1977. The 1978 and later Malibu is not a Chevelle. Not only is the platform (A-body vs. G-body) different but the Chevelle nameplate no longer existed. Almost the same can be said for the El Camino. While the El Camino nameplate was intact, it was based on the G-body platform from 1978 on. While the GMC Sprint is generally accepted as a sister to the El Camino, it's only a sister to the Chevelle model nameplate through 1977. The particular reviews below only encompass the 1964-1972 information.

Without checking into specific production numbers, option costs, etc. the one thing that bothers me the most, and it's not just this book that does this, is the incorrect explanation of the Fisher Body plate (trim tag or cowl tag) information. Beginning with the 1964 Chevelle under the paragraph heading of I.D. NUMBERS, the explanation of the Fisher Body plate reads, in part, as follows. "The BODY NUMBER consists of a prefix designating assembly plant and the sequential unit production number at the specific factory (example: B 100001 is the first car built at the Baltimore factory)."  This is stated for 1964 and 1965. The 1966 through 1971 paragraphs simply remove the example but retains the same incorrect information.

Specific: Also noted under the I.D. NUMBERS paragraphs for 1964 through 1967 the book states, "VIN embossed on a plate welded to the left front hinge pillar post facing the driver."

Fact: The VIN plate is actually riveted to the hinge pillar on 1965 through 1967 Chevelles, not welded.

* The Fisher Body plate body numbers have nothing to do with the sequential unit production number at any final assembly plant.
* The 1964 through 1968 body numbers do appear to be sequential in nature but are only sequential in nature per body style and not body assembly date. For example, a 1967 Malibu 2-dr sport coupe will have significantly larger body numbers for a given month/week than a 1967 SS396 sport coupe simply because more Malibu 2-dr sport coupes were being built. I offer the following; a 1967 Malibu 2-dr sport coupe (style 13617) built the 3rd week of July at Atlanta has a body number of 34994 where an SS396 2-dr sport coupe (style 13817) built the same week has a body number of 19655. A Malibu 2-dr sport coupe built as early as the 1st week of March (some 6 months earlier at the same plant) has a body number of 21629 - almost 2000 more units than the later SS396.

For 1972 it gets worse. Page 65 under the paragraph I.D. NUMBERS (LATE 1972), it reads in part, "The Fisher body tag riveted to the top of the cowl on the left side of the car below the hood provides additional vehicle identification information. The Fisher body STYLE NUMBER (ST) consists of a prefix identifying model year and four or more symbols identifying the series and body style (example: 72-1D67 for a 1972 Malibu convertible with a V-8 engine). The BODY NUMBER consists of a prefix designating assembly plant and the sequential unit production number at the specific factory."

The 1972 Chevelle body plate contained the same format for the STYLE NUMBER as previous Chevelles. The Vehicle Identification Number format changed to the cited example of 1D37, the Fisher body plate would still show 13637.

Also under the I.D. NUMBERS paragraphs it states (with various examples depending on the year), "The FISHER BODY STYLE NUMBER (ST) consists of a prefix identifying the model year and four or more symbols identifying the series and body style (example: 64-13867 for a V-8 powered 1964 Malibu SS convertible.)"

* The Fisher Body Style Number does not always designate engine type, whether 6-cylinder or 8-cylinder. Fisher Body generally didn't care what type of engine was to be installed, only what trim items to put in the interior and on the body from the firewall back. I have numerous examples of body plates with a "V8" style such as 13617 only to have the VIN read 13517 indicating a 6-cylinder engine was installed.  See my matrix here for plants that did and plants that did not have a style number that matches the VIN.
* 1966 has a mistyped example; "...66-13867 for a 1965 SS 396 convertible, which came with a V-8 only." The V-8 portion of the statement is true since no 6-cylinder was available in the SS396, the base 396 engine is a V-8.
* 1967 shows an example of "...67-13835 for a 1967 Concours station wagon with a V-8."
* 1968 shows same type "V-8" example.
* 1969 shows an example of "...69-13369 for a 1969 Chevelle 300 Deluxe four-door sedan with a six-cylinder engine."
* 1970 shows a typo as well with "...70-13369 for a base 1970 Chevelle four-door sedan with a V-8)." One would think the odd 3rd digit, as in the 1969 example, would be a six-cylinder as well.
* 1971 shows same type "V-8" engine.
* 1972 makes an assumption with this example: "...72-1D67 for a 1972 Malibu convertible with a V-8 engine."  Aside from the fact the body plate does not read "1D67", the engine type and size is designated by a letter following the 1D67 year/series/body style code and that engine type and size code is missing so there is no way to tell if it's a six-cylinder or not with that information missing.

This same incorrect information is carried over to the El Camino section as well. To compound matters the 13480 series/model designation is referred to as a "Deluxe El Camino" (from 1964 through 1969) when in fact 13480 is a base series El Camino. While the author may be attempting to use the term "Deluxe El Camino" to mean the 13480 series/model is based on the 300 Deluxe series, the Malibu trim version of the El Camino (13680) is called a "Deluxe El Camino" from 1964 to 1966 to set it apart from the base El Camino - and thereby confusing to the reader.  In 1967 the Malibu trimmed El Camino was call a "Custom El Camino" in GM literature.  It isn't until 1970 that the 13480 is substituted with the correct 13680 series/model when describing a "Custom El Camino."

Incomplete information given:
* Pages 24/25 - ENGINES. Not all carburetors are listed so why list any? Carburetors are listed for some years but not listed for other years.

Misplaced or oddly captioned photos and miscellaneous errors/omissions that caught my eye without reading too hard:
* Page 11 - photo of 1965 Malibu SS convertible on 1964 information page
* Page 23 - photo of 1966 SS396 with 'skunk' stripes on hood and top along with Camaro/Corvette rally wheels. A 'standards' book on Chevelles shouldn't include homemade versions but rather offer photos of factory versions unless otherwise noted they are custom.
* Page 29 - photo of 1967 SS396 grille with caption, "The SS grille again had the Chevrolet emblem with the numbers below it." The SS396 grille did NOT have a Chevrolet emblem, only the SS396 emblem
* Page 41 - ENGINE CODES makes no mention of the 402 codes.
* Page 46 - photo of 1969 Malibu convertible with rally wheels is captioned as a nSS396.
* Page 48 - ENGINE CODES lists numerous incorrect suffix codes.
* Page 49 - photo of 1970 SS optioned Malibu is captioned with, "A total of 3,773 SS 454s were built for 1970." Actual figure of RPO Z15 454 option is 8,733 units.
* Page 51 - under PRODUCTION NOTES from page 50 it states, "Note 6 Exactly 3,773 cars had the Chevelle SS 454 option installed. All were V-8 powered. No series or body style breakouts are available." Again (1) figures are incorrect, (2) naturally they were V-8 powered, and (3) while it's true there is no true body style breakout, the only series the SS option was available for is the Malibu (136xx).
* Page 56 - ENGINE CODES lists two 454/425 engine suffix codes that never made it to production in the Chevelle.
* Page 68 - captioned photo states, "The SS option could be ordered with any Chevelle V-8." The SS option required an optional V-8 thereby eliminating the standard 307 from being ordered with the SS option.

That's probably enough to establish the publication is chock full of errors.


I wouldn't recommend this book for a serious enthusiast or, worse yet, to a new Chevelle owner. Possibly the information for 1973 and later model years may be of some value to a G-body enthusiast but it would be hard to believe the information for those years is much more accurate than the 1964 to 1972 model years.