71 Chevelle For Sale

Published: 09th August 2010
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For the 1971 model year, General Motors mandated that all of their divisions design their automobiles to operate on unleaded, low-leaded, and low-octane regular gasoline. GM made the change in response to increasingly restrictive emission requirements as well as anticipation of the catalytic converter, which would require unleaded fuel, that they would begin using in 1975.

The market felt the ramifications of this decision most with models that offered muscle packages. In order to allow for the usage of low-octane fuel, GM lowered compression ratios on engines to at least 9:1, which was well below the 10.25-11.25:1 range used in high performance engines recently. For muscle cars like the 1971 Chevelle for sale, this meant less power since the horsepower for the big block options fell sharply.

In one exception, Chevrolet was able to give the LS-5 454 an advertised horsepower increase to 365, but this was little consolation to most muscle fans. For one, the 5-horsepower increase was more marketing than anything else because that engine in the 1971 Chevelle for sale peaked 600 rpm lower than the one included in the 1970 model. In addition, torque was down approximately 35 pound-feet.

The savior for this bleakness was to be the much-heralded LS-6 454-cubic-inch engine. Expectations were that the 454-cid LS6 would produce an impressive 425 horsepower at the modest compression ratio of 9-0.1. That was something to get excited about at least, but with the introduction of the 1971 Chevelle for sale there were no signs of it. There were promises of a mid-year release, but the mid-year came and went with little fanfare other than the hydraulic lifter option for the basic SS package.

One of the bright spots for the 1971 Chevelle for sale was its basic Super Sport (SS) package that really brought a lot to the table for approximately $360. This equipment included a blackout grille, wider tires, 15-inch five-spoke wheels, power front discs, and an F41 suspension with front and rear stabilizer bars. All Chevelles for 1971 got the single headlamps that had premiered on the all-new Monte Carlo a year earlier, and this provided a great look for the Chevelle SS especially in combination with the optional racing stripes and cowl induction hood.

Chevelle SSs with the 454-cubic-inch engine got an external engine ID insignia that read "SS 454". This was in line with how Chevrolet had designed the Chevelle badges over the years. However, as a sign of the times, all of the basic SSs included simple badge that simply read SS. There wasn't a lot boast about in those lesser SSs, at least under the hood. Even today, the 1971 Chevrolet Chevelle SS 454 remains the crown jewel of that model year, and it is the one that most enthusiasts target.

Weighing in at 4,000 pounds with a 112.0 wheelbase, Chevrolet built just approximately 9,500 SS 454 units. The 454-cubic-inch V8 under the hood has a compression ratio of 8.5:1, but manages 365 horsepower at 4800 rpm and 465 pound-feet of torque at 3200 rpm. Representative performance in 1971 was 0-60 mph in 6 seconds, and a quarter-mile in 14.35 seconds with a top speed of 97 mph. The base price back in 1970 was approximately $4,000, but enthusiasts will find it difficult to find at that price today even in poor condition.

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