The year 1967 was a watershed for Chevrolet. It was the year the Chevelle stepped back THE performance Chevy; the year that corporate decreed that Corvette was the power car, and it was the year Camaro appeared.
It was a real shame because the 1967 Chevelle was a sweet-looking auto. From its dual, rounded headlamps at the corners of its sharply pointed grille through its louvered hood and then on through its rounded sides, it was a nice-looking vehicle.
The subtly rounded sides carried fender line and mid-level beltline through the doors and on through the quarter panels. The body was more balanced as it was a standard body vehicle. The rear deckled carried the line of the quarter panel to a nicely finished blacked-out rear end that was very nice.
The 1967 Chevelle had its special wrinkle, though, the SS396 that brought some very good changes.
No longer was the handling numb. Instead, just a change from a dual-ply nylon tire to a multi-ply nylon belted tire made all the difference in the world. You could actually tell where the front end of the Chevelle was going. These tires also provided better grip and helped you move through turns and around corners with more assurance. Sad to say, the front buckets were really not up to the task because they lacked the bolstering you’d find on a couch, they were still better than sliding around on a bench seat and hoping you knew where you’d end up.
Disc brakes appear
A key option for the SS396 was the addition of front disc brakes so that brake fade was tempered. The front discs took the beating while the rear drum/shoe combo was there to help out – it really did. Although good for a couple of stops, the drum/brakes at the rear still did their share of the work because the Chevelle was still a front-engine/rear-drive vehicle where the handling was nearly a 50-50 balance. Some 63,000 were built before corporate decreed Corvette was numero uno in the power department.
The Chevelle SS also offered a 14-inch wheel option and low aspect ratio tires so there was more steering and stopping rubber on the road.
One area that would have confused even a knowledgeable Chevy aficionado was on the transmission front. Looking at the order sheet you found six available, two automatics, and four three-and four-speed manuals. Just what went with which and when took a person with a lots of patience to figure out.
However, time was running out on the Chevelle as Chevy’s sole performance vehicle. It was to be one of several and then it was to stand behind others, at that, Camaro and Corvette.
“Driving man’s car”
Some literature at the time called this the “driving man’s” car, but it was obvious from this that there were changes going on.
One interesting fact is that if you knew someone you could probably have had a piece of Chevrolet history, one of the 600 or so built that actually offered decent horsepower, just under 400 bhp.