There was a total reskin of the 1970 Chevy Chevelle, giving it a much more muscular look. The new car had 4 headlights flaired into the front facia surrounding a big formal grille separated horizontally by the ‘Chevy Bar’, and square taillights set into the rear bumper with horizontal chromed strakes running across their lenses. The SS models came in Sport Coupe, Convertible and El Camino. All were based on the high-line Malibu and were optioned-up to two either RPO Z25 for the SS396, or RPO Z15 for the SS454.
1970 Chevy Chevelle CONVERTIBLE
1970 Chevy Chevelle 2-DOOR HARDTOP
1970 Chevy Chevelle INTERIORS
1970 CHEVY CHEVELLE SS INTERIORS
The interiors were complete revamped for the 1970 model year. A new dash was very similar in basic shape but had a different gauge arrangement. Where the 1969 had 2 large dials with a smaller one in the center, the new car had 3 large dials flanked by 2 small ones on each side (the bottom one on the left was actually for the headlight switch, but assumed the same shape as the other smaller gauges). Where the 1969 had a dash pad that stretched from side to side in one sweeping surface, the 1970 had a raised portion around the instrument cluster and the heater controls, and a dropped section over the glove box. Detail and trim changes were made to the door panels.
1970 Chevy Chevelle ENGINES
THE 396 GROWS TO 402 CUBES Some new engines were offered for 1970. RPO Z25 brought a new SS396 that actually displaced 402 cubic inches making 330hp. This understatement of cubes was done to get around GMs policy of allowing no larger than a 400 cubic inch engine in any midsize car. This one has aftermarket tube headers, but otherwise appears stock.
THE LEGEND OF THE LS6 But the big news was RPO Z15, the mighty SS454 available in two flavors: LS5 with 360hp, and the ground-shaking, earthquake-inducing LS6 with 450hp. One can’t underemphasize the significance of the LS6. There are just a handful of true Mega-Motors from this era: Ford’s 427 Side-Oiler, the 426 Hemi, the Corvette L88…and the LS6. If the small block was “The Mouse that Roared”, hence the small block’s nickname “The Mouse Motor”, then the big block must be a rat, a might big rat, hence the nickname “Rat Motor”. The LS6, further nicknamed the “454 Rat”, at 450hp, it was its ultimate manifestation. And just in time too, as 1970 turned out to be the peak of the first Great American Muscle Car Era (we’re in the Second one right now). From 1971 on, rising gas prices, increase pressure from insurance companies, and government-mandated smog equipment crippled performance and horsepower dropped steadily, year-by-year well into the 1980s, when technology finally began to catch up. The LS6 was a 1970-only option, gone by ’71 when the only 454 was the 360hp LS5 (still a helluva motor). In 1970, an LS6-equipped Chevelle SS454 could burn through the quarter mile in the low-12’s at 112mph +. That’s seriously fast, even today. The 450 claimed horsepower was actually grossly underestimated by Chevrolet for ‘political reasons’, and was probably more like 500hp. Both the SS396 and the SS454 were available with working “Cowl Induction” for even more power.