Cars & Racing | 12 February 2016Stillborn Chevelle Share article facebook twitter google pinterest Some problems arose in the production of the Chevrolet Chevelle. Muscle Car Source Book tells you all about them and delves into what the car possibly could have been. Other than its fuel-injected 375-horse L84 cousin, there was no Chevy small-block released during the 1960s meaner than the L76 with its solid lifters, loping cam and 11:1 compression. Basically an L84 mounting a Holley four-barrel in place of the Corvette’s “fuelie” equipment, the L76 327 initially appeared as a 340-horsepower Sting Ray option in 1963 then returned with 25 more ponies in both 1964 and ’65 before it was dropped along with the L84, both being eclipsed by the new 396 Turbo Jet big-block. While the injected L84 was limited to Corvette installations, the L76 327 was also briefly offered early in 1964 for Chevrolet’s first A-body in an attempt to give Pontiac people a run for their midsize money. An L76 Chevelle was first mentioned in assembly manuals in late January 1964, and at least one prototype was built, a roaring road rocket that apparently could hold its own with any muscle machine then running. “The 325-hp GTO and 365-hp Chevelle are very comparable in performance, giving 0-60 times of around six seconds flat,” explained the spies at Motor Trend. “They’re far and away the hottest of the [new intermediates] and quicker than most big cars with high-performance engines.” Full production of the 365-horsepower Chevelle, however, never got rolling. “Don’t hold your breath until you can buy a new Chevelle with a 365-hp engine,” added a second Motor Trend report a month after the magazine first scooped the L76/A-body combo. “Chevrolet jumped the gun a little on the announcement of the ‘327’ Corvette engine option for the Chevelle.” Why? “They did this to counter big publicity for the GTO.” Various stumbling blocks influenced this false promise, not the least of which was a shortage of 327s that developed early in 1964 due to unexpected demand from full-size Chevy buyers. But, again according to Motor Trend, “the biggest problem is that special exhaust manifolds are needed to clear the suspension in the Chevelle chassis. They’re using the same manifolds from the 283 engine for the 250-hp ‘327’ option, so you can order this one right away. But the 300- and 365-hp ‘327s’ need bigger passages, and it’s estimated that these manifolds won’t be ready for assembly-line installation until May.” That delay perhaps explains why the 300-horsepower L74 Chevelle didn’t show up until June, although engineers apparently gave up on the better-breathing manifold idea. None were ever cast. According to a product update memo (dated March 19) sent to Chevrolet dealers, the 365-horsepower Turbo Fire 327 had “been cancelled and will not be offered” to Chevelle customers. But apparently a few did escape into the wild. Stories of two, maybe three 1964 L76 A-bodies are known. Recognizing he’d probably never see the real thing, veteran Chevy restorer Scott Gaulter chose to recreate the little-known L76 Chevelle as close as possible to original factory specs, right down to the K66 transistorized ignition—itself also a briefly listed Chevelle option for 1964. Shown here, Gaulter’s 365-horsepower Super Sport “reproduction”—Scott felt “clone” didn’t do the car justice—is an impressive representation of what might have been had Chevrolet’s Corvette-powered Chevelle not been stillborn. Buy from an Online Retailer US: UK: From 1963 to 1974, muscle cars were the kings of the road–no other American automobiles have ever inspired as much passion as these classic performance cars. Muscle Car Source Book is a one-stop resource for muscle car fans. Heavily illustrated with vivid color photography of all the muscle cars from the classic era (1963-1974) and chock full of data and historical facts, this is a reference book you will not want to put down! All of the manufacturers–Ford, Chevrolet, Pontiac, Buick AMC, Dodge, and Plymouth–are covered, and so are the cars, including the Camaro, Mustang, Charger, GTO, and many more! Statistics: All the performance data available for each car is presented in easily read tables. Specifications: Detailed specifications, including horsepower and torque ratings, curb weight, fuel capacity, stock wheel and tire sizes, and other key technical data unique to each model is given. Production numbers: Production information is broken down across all the performance variants and major features. Options: Major performance options available for each car including engine options, comfort features, gauge packages, and wheel-and-tire options are all outlined. Share article facebook twitter google pinterest If you have any comments on this article please contact us or get in touch via social media.