The 1972 Chevrolet Chevelle SS arrived during a time of change for muscle cars. Following Detroit’s drift toward muscle pretenders was the Heavy Chevy of ’71-72. This was a budget SS with a cutesy name, its own exterior graphics, and 14-inch tires. Heavy Chevy V-8 choices ranged from the 307 V-8 to the Turbo-Fire 400-cube small block.

1972 Chevrolet Chevelle SS
The 1972 Chevrolet Chevelle SS had a 3.31:1 gear,
the strongest performance ratio available at the time.

Production totals for the 402- and 350-cube SS Chevelles are sketchy, but some sources put the number around 60,000. Chevy researchers say 9402 SS 454 Chevelles were built for ’71. ­

For ’72, the net horsepower ratings kicked in and engines were rated with all their power-robbing accessories attached. The LS-5 454’s rating under this system was 270 horsepower. The Turbo-Jet 400 came in at 240 net horsepower. Few of these big blocks were ordered, though, as SS Chevelle buyers opted for an expanded range of more docile V-8s. There was the 350 in 165-and 175-horse trim, and this year even the 130-horsepower 307 was available in an SS.

The Super Sport package itself changed little and still made the Chevelle look brawny, no matter the engine. All LS-5s were mated to the Rockcrusher four-speed, while the other V-8s got either the three- or four-speed manual, depending on horsepower. And since power had fallen to ranges that wouldn’t damage the Powerglide two-speed automatic, it now joined the Hydra-matic on the options list. A 3.31:1 gear was now the strongest performance ratio available.

Chevelle SS production fell to 24,946. The LS-5 found only 5333 takers, including a handful who ordered SS 454 convertibles, the last of the Super Sport Chevelle ragtops.

Chevy built nearly 296,000 SS 396 and SS 454 Chevelles from 1968-72. No muscle car ever had a higher-volume four-year run. The Super Sport Chevelle: quantity and quality.

Engine Type
V-8/Bog block/Mark IV
V-8/Big block/Mark V
Displacement (cid)
402
454
Horsepower @ rpm:
350 @ 5200
375 @ 5600*
300 @ 4800 (1971)
240 @ 4400 (1972)
360 @ 4400 (1970)
365 @ 4800 (1971)
450 @ 5600 (1970)**
Torque (pounds/feet) @ rpm
415 @ 3400
415 @ 3600*
400 @ 3200 (1971)
345 @ 3200 (1972)
500 @ 3200 (1970)
465 @ 3200 (1971)
500 @ 3600 (1970)**
Compression Ratio
10.25:1/8.5:1
10.25:1/11.25:1**/8.5:1
Bore (inches)
4.12
4.25
Stroke (inches)
3.76
4.00
Valve Lifters
Hydraulic
Hydraulic/Mechanical
Availability
1970-72
1970-72

*L-78 (1969-70)
**LS-6

Times*:

0-60 mph (sec)
5.8
0-100 mph (sec)
15.2
1/4-mile (sec)
14.41 @ 97.35 mph
Top speed (mph)
115 (est)
Axle ratio
3.55:1
Engine type
396/325
Model year
1969

*Source: Car and Driver (1969)

Times*:

0-60 mph (sec)
6.0 (est)
0-100 mph (sec)
14.20
1/4-mile (sec)
14.20 @ 100 mph
Top speed (mph)
120 (est)
Axle ratio
3.31:1
Engine type
454/360 LS-5
Model year
1970

*Source: Muscle Car Review

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