1971 Chevelle Trivia

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Any interesting trivia for 1971 Chevelles?  Let me hear from you and be sure to specify 1971 trivia.

»» All 1971 body styles have vented gas caps.

»» Beginning with 1971 the performance era was coming to an end. The RPO Z25 option (SS396 in 1969 and 1970) was dropped and the RPO Z15 option (SS454 in 1970 only) was reduced from a performance oriented option to a dress-up option. For the first time since 1965, a small-block V8 could be ordered in a Chevelle with the SS nameplate. The remaining SS Equipment option only required that an optional engine and transmission be ordered as noted here.

»» A front bench seat and H.D. floor-shifted 3-speed transmission was standard on SS-optioned Chevelles but the SS454 optioned Chevelles were limited to either the H.D. Muncie M22 4-speed or the H.D. TH400 automatic transmission. Bucket seats were optional on the Malibu sport coupe, Malibu convertible, and the Malibu series sedan pickup (13680) whether SS optioned or not. The standard bench seat was cloth and coated fabric with an all vinyl bench seat being a $19.00 option. Since the optional buckets seats were always coated fabric the cost of the bucket seats was for the pair of seats themselves and no addition cost beyond the $136.95 was added.

»» Chevrolet threw another wrench in the works with its series naming convention. The 1965-1969 Chevelle 300 Deluxe name was changed to Chevelle Standard in 1970 only to be renamed simply the Chevelle series in 1971. Really confusing when you have a Chevelle division of Chevrolet and then a Chevelle series of Chevelle. Luckily the new Chevelle nameplate only came in two body styles, the 133/13437 2-door sport coupe and the 133/13469 4-door sedan.

»» A new option, RPO YF3, called the "Heavy Chevy" was introduced with little fanfare. This was another dress-up option and only available on the Chevelle (13437) series sport coupe. Any V8 engine could be ordered with the Heavy Chevy option except the LS5 454. Only 6,727 Chevelle sport coupes were ordered with this option.

»» Body styles were pretty much the same as 1970. A couple of notable differences are the replacement of the quad headlamp (2 per side) configuration in favor of a dual (1 per side) headlamp, turn signal/parking lamps now in the front fender and visible from the front and the side, and round tail lamps in place of the 1970's rectangular units. The parking lamps and tail lamps would be slightly changed in 1972 as well.

1971 Parking Lamps

1971 Taillamps
1971 Taillamps

Comparing early 1971 Malibu tail lamp lens (top) with late Malibu tail lamp lens (bottom). The early model year inner tail lamp (first design) has a smaller white lens area and does not extend to the inner trim ring where the later tail lamp (second design) is much larger and extends to the inner trim ring. The size of the “bulge” area of the outer tail lamp also increased in the later version. Also note the early lamps, both inner and outer, have a silver trim around the outside face of both lamps where the later version did away with this.  The Malibu and base Chevelle have different part numbers for these as well. First design Malibu are 917575 L.H. and 917576 R.H. and second design are 911541 L.H. and 911542 R.H.  The change appears to have happened around the middle of January 1971.

1971 Taillamps

The base 133/13437 Chevelle was very similar but without the bright trim rings on either lamp. The base Chevelle first design part numbers are 917578 R.H. (no part number listed for L.H.) and second design are 911543 R.H. and 911544 R.H. First design has a more pointed 'dome' compared to the round 'dome' of the second design. Late design is shown here.