Me & My Car: ’72 Chevelle holds lots of memories for Castro Valley couple – The Mercury News

Castro Valley’s Michael Saunders and his wife, Darlene, appear with their 1972 Chevrolet Chevelle.
David Krumboltz — for Bay Area News Group

Castro Valley’s Michael Saunders and his wife, Darlene, appear with their 1972 Chevrolet Chevelle.

Did you ever wonder how car manufacturers pick the names for their own car plus truck models?

Geographic locations, major cities, numbers, letters and made-up words are all considered. Sometimes manufacturers like to connect the new model with a successful model they’re already producing.

This issue’s featured car is called a Chevrolet Chevelle, and while there’s no obvious proof, it’s believed by some that the Chevy model name came about because managers thought the smaller, graceful gazelle would tie in with the medium-sized impala, the name used with regard to their very successful design. So it’s said that by combining “Chevrolet” with “gazelle” the brand new model was called the Chevelle, which turned out to be a good choice.

The first generation associated with Chevelles started in 1964 plus ended with the 1967 model year. They were hot from the get-go. Smaller cars were selling well in the early 1960s. The leader in developing the particular smaller vehicle market was American Motors Corp. (AMC) with the Rambler American and Classic models. Under the leadership of George Romney (Mitt Romney’s father), the AMC Rambler became the third best-selling car behind Chevy and Ford in 1961.

Ford brought out the particular Falcon for the 1960 design year, and it sold nicely. Chrysler brought out the Dodge Dart and Plymouth Valiant, which also did properly. The Chevelle was bigger than their Chevy II plus Corvair versions but smaller than the Impala models. In fact , it was about the same size as the “full-size” 1955-1957 Chevrolet versions.

Chevelles came as two-door hardtops, convertibles, station wagons and four-door sedans. That first year, 338, 286 Chevelles had been sold. The Super Sport, or “SS, ” models were Chevy’s entry into the muscle vehicle field, but not too much muscle has been added. The particular models included additional bright work components, full wheel covers and SS emblems as well as bucket seats plus other relative minor features.

The second generation of Chevelles had been from 1967 through the 1972 model 12 months. It presented a completely new look with a longer hood and shorter trunk. Quad headlights arrived and went during this generation and the government regulation requiring side marker lights grew to become effective. By 1969, Chevelles were marketed as “America’s most popular midsize car, ” plus by 1972 the Chevelle was the particular second-best selling car within the country.

On June 3, 1972, a 17-year-old kid named Michael Saunders walked into Dailey Chevrolet in San Leandro and bought this particular issue’s showcased car.

“My dad wanted me to buy the Chevy Vega, ” he said, “because they were cheap. But I didn’t like it. I wanted a Camaro, but the Camaro factory was on strike. So I opted for the Chevelle with the particular SS package. No big engine, simply no power windows, nothing. That was all I could afford. ”

Included in the SS package was the still-popular 350-cubic-inch V8 engine using the 350-turbo automatic transmission plus mag wheels. It’s furthermore equipped along with power steering and brakes but no air conditioning. It has only the left outside door mirror, and there wasn’t even a right-side reflection option from your factory. It was not just Saunders’ first new vehicle but his first car of all. The purchase price was $3, 700, or about $26, 225 in 2022 dollars, and his monthly payments were $63.

“I went through the car 37 years ago simply for cosmetics, and sort of restored it. It has 84, 600 original miles, and it is (the car is) almost all original, ” said Saunders, now associated with Castro Area.

As part of their restoration work, Saunders repainted the vehicle himself in the original factory color. He found a body shop this individual could use, but as it turned out there was a problem with all the venting system in the shop.

“When I put the 1st coat upon dust got on the particular hood and the trunk, ” Saunders said. “So I stopped, fixed the venting, plus reshot the whole thing. Now with specks of dust on the hood and trunk, We put strips on the particular hood plus trunk in order to hide this. ”

He has put brand new coverings around the seats, but otherwise the interior is completely initial.

“I did put within a more modern AM/FM cassette radio 45 years back, ” he said.

Saunders and his spouse, Darlene, met in 1976, and this was their particular courtship vehicle. Part of the courtship took place at some of the local drive-in theaters that were popular at the time.

Laughing he or she said, “This car offers seen a lot of fun. This has been a drive-in movie car. You could probably fit three people comfortably within the trunk area. There were five seatbelts in that vehicle, but we could sit seven or eight people in the car. ”

The car has been really cost-friendly. Other than the paint job and extremely minor interior upgrades, he estimates this individual has about $10, 000 invested, including the original purchase price. Now he or she drives the car about 2, 000 kilometers a year and has simply no plans to sell it. For Jordan and Darlene, it’s a lot memories sitting on four wheels.

Have an interesting vehicle? Contact Jesse Krumboltz in [email protected]. com . To view more photos of this and other issues’ vehicles or to read more associated with Dave’s columns, visit mercurynews. com/author/david-krumboltz .

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