Third Generation Chevelle (1973-77)
Third Generation Chevelles ran from 1973 to 1977. The 1973 models received the most extensive redesign. The hardtop was replaced due to Federal Regulations on rollover standards and the Colonnade hardtop became the new normal. Also new was the frameless door glass, fixed pillars that enabled structural stability in the event of rollover; rear-quarter glass on 2-door coupes (morphing into “opera” windows on landau models); styled center pillars on 4-door sedans; Federally mandated 5 MPH front bumper; flush exterior door handles; larger gas tank; and power moon roof on 73 – 75 models; roomier interior; and much improved visibility
The 73-77 model Laguna’s, the name Chevy applied to its Chevelle Malibus, were most successful. These were used extensively by NASCAR. By the end of 1973 the Super Sport options with its 454 cubic inch engines were dropped, most likely due to the oil embargo and the ensuing gas shortage. Most annual changes were made to the front and rear as well as the grillework. Of the Third Gen, the Special Edition Chevelle is the rarest with only 50 cars produced. By the end of this generation, the name “Chevelle” was dropped in preference to “Malibu” which customers more readily recognized.