By on April 5, 2013

Over at Jalopnik, Patrick George discusses the recent trademark filing by General Motors for the Chevelle name. After a brief discussion regarding trademark procedure, George makes a logical conclusion; the Chevelle name may end up attached to something less than worthy, similar to how Dodge’s C-segment car ended up with the Dart moniker. But there is a potential ray of sunshine here for enthusiasts.

In January, TTAC commenter nadude (or as he’s known to everyone else, Mark Reuss, GM’s North American head) told an Australian news outlet that the Code 130R concept car “would be a great entry for us.” The Code 130R was a BMW 1-Series-esque concept car that used an FR layout and an efficient four-cylinder engine, not unlike the Scion FR-S.

As for how the car might make it into production

“I don’t know if they (Toyota) are making any money but it is a very attractive car…we would do something with the knowledge of Alpha and the background, but we wouldn’t take Alpha and try and shrink it.”

Currently, Alpha only has two vehicles based off of it; the Cadillac ATS and the next generation Chevrolet Camaro. GM will need to utilize this architecture further, as a way of amortizing its costs. Toyota is following a similar approach with the FR-S, spawning multiple variants to help absorb the costs of developing such a platform from the ground up.

While Reuss’ comments seem to suggest something different, it’s hard to make an armchair guess on how GM would get the Code 130R into production. At least GM has some kind of basis to start with, not to mention the will of some of its top level execs. As TTAC’s resident “voice of a generation”, I’ve already given the stamp of approval to the Code 130R. Unlike the SS, I could actually afford this, and the FR-S, as many of you know, doesn’t quite do it for me. So how about a compact, 4-cylinder Chevelle with rear-drive based off of some kind of Alpha platform? Sounds good to me.

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59 Comments on “Could Chevrolet Revive The Chevelle As An RWD Car? Just Maybe...”

  • avatar
    Secret Hi5

    I will hold my breath for a drop top!

    (Turning blue . . . )

  • avatar

    Yes please!

    *for 25k fully loaded*

  • avatar

    Chevelle – originally a somewhat sporty car with a decent rear sit that real human beings could sit in. That’s how it differed from the Camaro. GM – please remember this.

    • 0 avatar

      Didn’t the Chevelle pre-date the Camaro? Or to put it another way, didn’t the Camaro effectively replace the Chevelle as Chevy’s non-Corvette performance offering? I thought the latter was produced after the Mustang proved to be a hit.

      • 0 avatar

        Chevelle came out MY 1964 (late 1963). Camaro was MY 1967 (late 1966).

        The Malibu was an upscale Chevelle, with Chevelle 300 being the basic, cheapest version.

        Splitting the heritage by having Malibu and Chevelle on different platforms is heresy to my generation, but that doesn’t appear to matter anymore.

      • 0 avatar

        The Chevelle was Chevy’s mid size entry – Think Torino, Road Runner, GTO, Olds 442, et al. The Camaro never replaced the Chevelle as it was their muscle car entry and not a pony car competitor. The Camaro was GM’s high performance take on the pony car segment, where Ford went for affordable sporty good looks GM concentrated on high performance out the gate.

  • avatar

    “Currently, Alpha only has two vehicles based off of it; the Cadillac ATS and the Chevrolet Camaro.”

    Currently, the ATS is the ONLY vehicle on the Alpha platform. The next-gen CTS and Camaro WILL be on it, but they’re not yet for sale.

    The current Camaro is a Zeta, like the Commodore/Caprice/Ute/SS.

  • avatar

    I think it’d be okay if it was larger than the FR-S. In my mind the Chevelle shouldn’t be anything tiny.

  • avatar
    juicy sushi

    I think this one should have been called Camaro though, and the current Camaro should be a Chevelle, just to get the sizing right. But if they want to invert things, who am I to question their logic?

  • avatar

    I saw a photo shopped 2 door Malibu that I thought would make a great Chevelle.

    I like it when they bring back the old names, all I ask is that they keep the cars reasonably close to what they were in the old days. The mid 80s Corolla based “Nova” is a good example in my book – the original Nova was an economy car at heart, after all. To me, the new Dart is OK as well, an entry level economy car and they even make a hotted up version just for giggles.

    The new Chevelle doesn’t need to be a screaming muscle car, just a nice mid size sedan.

  • avatar

    The 4-banger would have to be the great 2.0 DI turbo-4 in one of it’s non-neutered configurations of 240 to 260 HP to be interesting.

    Toyota doesn’t bend the laws of physics but they do an amazing job of getting relatively low HP numbers on paper to motivate sheet metal to move very quickly (I get it, you don’t have to lecture me on gearing, curb weight, programming curves of transmissions and throttles, calibration of traction control, etc. etc. etc.).

    I had heard the R-130 if it came to production WOULD be Alpha based, and that just seems logical. Developing a whole new RWD platform seems a bit silly. Zeta is too big and although still a world class PLATFORM (I didn’t say everything built on it is world class) it is starting to lean toward the dated side (translation, too much weight).

    As far as the filing – meh – car companies do it all the time to just protect and maintain brands. Just because Chevelle got filed, doesn’t mean GM is going to actually slap the name on anything. The old trademarks might have simply been expiring and it was time for an update.

  • avatar

    More crapping on the Dart… it’s getting old.

  • avatar

    A coupe Chevelle and a Camaro on the same platform? What is the point? What am I missing here? I bet both will be offered with similar engine choices, further adding to the redundancy.

    If the Chevelle is a 4-door suddenly it gets a LOT more compelling, a baby Caprice.

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    2014 will be the 50th Anniversary of the Chevelle (non-consecutive, of course). I doubt it will be much more than a name slapped on a pseudo-retro not-meant-for-production techno-showcase concept car.

  • avatar

    You beat me to it. I was going to ask what Australian car could they import to make this a reality.

  • avatar

    What about the Chevette?

    I remember a guy back in school who would promise girls that we would pick them up in his “Vette”.

    • 0 avatar
      The Dark One

      That was my thought exactly. Half the kids today have no clue what a Chevette is unless they remember the brown turd Brandon drove on the first season of 90210. (if they even REMEMBER 90210) Chevette would imply a smaller Chevy sportscar. Thats better than soiling the name of a beloved icon of the past.

  • avatar

    Before everyone starts getting all hot and bothered about another Chevelle on the road, keep in mind what the Chevelle was back in 1964: Nothing more than a shortened, 1955-sized, Impala and BelAir. Yeah, there were some SS variants (327 small block was the max), but essentially there was nothing sporty about the Chevelle. It was just a full-sized Chevy for those customers that felt that Chevrolets had gotten too big.

    Sporty Chevrolet? In 1964, that meant one of two things. Corvette and (increasingly Monza-derived) Corvair. Everything else in the Chevrolet line was jack-of-all-trades within the model size.

  • avatar

    the Chevelle name may end up attached to something less than worthy, similar to how Dodge’s C-segment car ended up with the Dart moniker”

    Not sure where you’re going with this. The Dart wasn’t anything special back in the day, just Dodge’s entry-level compact. Sure it was rear-wheel drive, so was virtually every other American car at the time. Heck, they could have called the Neon the Dart and it wouldn’t have been a step down for the moniker….aside from the grenading trannies.

    • 0 avatar

      The original Dodge Dart was noteworthy for being rear-wheel-drive and for being mechanically-speaking reliable to the point of nigh-indestructibility.

      The current Dart is FWD, strike against the former.. and is based on an Alfa Romeo, strike against the latter.

  • avatar

    Is the car pictured the Chevelle? If it is it looks interesting, though, specially in that color, it has something very “Cars” about it. I suggest making it small and tossable to get Euro interested. In that case, interior space is important so I wouldn’t mind FWD.

    • 0 avatar

      “it has something very “Cars” about it.”

      Yup, I never liked that concept very much, this show car looks like someone let the guys from Pixar into the design studio.

  • avatar
    George B

    Cool! A car named after a band. Make it angry looking and paint it red.

    My first car was a 1971 Chevrolet Chevelle Malibu with a 350 V8. It looked faster than it was. Drove like a 60s Chevy pickup truck with coil springs, but with a lower center of gravity. Lots of room for improvement with aftermarket modification.

    • 0 avatar

      I had a 67 Chevelle Malibu with the rocket ship powerpack drivetrain package consisting of a 2 bbl 283, two speed powerglide, and 3.07 gearing if I remember correctly.

      Fast, it was not.

      Comfortable, very much so. I’m wondering if your suspension was in need of new shocks and/or springs. My Chevelle rode VERY well. The 283 is a pretty smooth engine too.

      A friend had a 72 El Camino with a 350 and TH350, and it rode really well too. Neither his el camino, or my chevelle rode like trucks. My dad had a 66 chevy 3/4 ton pickup, and THAT rode like a truck.

      Come to think about it, I had a lot of friends with the 68-72 era GM rides and they all rode really well.

      Back on topic though.. The car pictured at the top of this page is too small to be a Chevelle, and too something else I just can’t put my finger on. But that car up there is not a Chevelle.

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    If they build it, they will come!

  • avatar

    *A RWD…

  • avatar

    I’m mixed on this. It seems like the Alpha platform should be premium cars only — ATS, CTS, and then Camaro.

    If they make a cheapo car using Alpha, all the internet auto executives will start referring to the ATS as the new Cimarron, so that will get annoying. It would have to be small with a crappy interior and only 4-cylinders, no V8s certainly and no V6s either. I guess if they want to drive more volume on Alpha, it would make sense, but I’m not sure if that’s a worthwhile goal using a Chevy badge. Even an Alpha-based Buick Riviera-type coupé would probably make more sense than a cheap car, but it’d have to be different from the CTS coupé.

    • 0 avatar

      Chevy needs a pizzazz model that’s not the Camaro or ‘Vette, preferably a four door performance model. It’ll bring people into the showrooms to look it over, before deciding on the Malibu instead.

      The premium angle still has room for a Buick, maybe a Special, Skylark, or a performance Wildcat. If Buick is to remain a U.S. car, they’ve got to add a few more models. GM shouldn’t be competing with BMW with just the Caddy, it should be offering ALTERNATIVES with both Caddy and Buick.

  • avatar

    A modern day Chevelle would be the base version of the Malibu. Most Chevelles of the 1960’s and 1970’s would have used inline sixes, 283’s and 307’s. Actually I wouldn’t have minded had the Cruze been called the Chevelle.

  • avatar

    Can Alpha be brought down into the $25k price range? Can it be light enough to compete against the FR-S? I’d worry that the same thing that happened to the current generation Camaro would happen here: IE take a platform intended for a bigger car, try to shrink it, and end up with the smaller car having compact dimensions but bigger car weight. Recall what happened with the Solstice and the Sky vs the Miata. In base model form, they were too heavy to effectively compete against the Mazda on a dynamic basis. That being said, is the tooling still around for that platform? would a stretched Kappa be a better fit for this car? I do hope they make it work. There can’t be too many light RWD economical sports coupes around for my tastes. If it’s under 30k, I’d happily accept an I4 on it, even if I’d rather see the 2.8 V6 in NA form.

    • 0 avatar

      I’m all for RWD. My concern is the transmission hump in a small RWD car. Eats up too much space. Then again, the giant center stacks in all the FWD vehicles isn’t helping either.

      Don’t know enough about this to sound intelligent, but what are the drawbacks to having a trans-axle in the back of a rwd car so interior space is not compromised so much? How much trunk space would be impacted then?

      Are undesirable handling characteristics added to a chassis by putting a trans-axle in the back?

    • 0 avatar

      The Kappa was originally planned to be a flexible platform, but they realized that it’d take longer than they wanted to do so and be more expensive in the short-term. Because they wanted the Solstice to come out as quickly as possible, they rushed the development of the Kappa and as a result it could only be effectively used for the Sky and Solstice.

      And that ultimately lead to the discontinuation of those cars as the production of the chasis was way too expensive to have those costs be spread across only two cars. And the platform couldn’t be changed easily, so they decided to get rid of it.

      If the Kappa platform could have been easily “stretched”, then they wouldn’t have got rid of it.

  • avatar

    The Dart GT Tigershark 2.4/ZF 9speed will put the Dart as best in class of large compacts. The Trans Am race was won by an Alfa Romeo with a Dart coming in 2nd.

    I hope Chevy does build something like this and give Cadillac one too, maybe a convertible for both.

  • avatar

    “an” RWD

    I think you mean “a” RWD…

    • 0 avatar

      Technically you’re right, but when talking, if he says “an RWD layout” like you or I may say “an EFI system…”, he is correct. Meaning he actually says “Ar Double-U Dee”. After all, this is more a car blog than grammer skool, so we tend to write it like we would say it. Then again, people don’t say “Ar Double-u Dee” because that takes just an long as saying “Rear Wheel Drive”. This isn’t true for “EFI” because it takes about 3X longer to say “Electronic Fuel Injection”.

  • avatar

    I agree with “Skye”, many car fans, too young to remember, think all Chevelles were like 1970 SS-454 LS6 coupes/conv’ts. Been watching too much B-J or looking at eBay ads?

    Once when I replied to a kid onine saying “Not all Chevelles were muscle cars”, said “Then what was it?” If you have to ask, you don’t know true car history at all.

    Like assuming all 60’s Impalas were SS 409/427 or every mid size Pontiac made from 1964-70 was a GTO.

    Chevelle should be for a mid size line of cars; coupe, sedan, and maybe wagon. Yes, kids, there were actually Chevelle station wagons!

  • avatar

    If they make a RWD Chevelle, the added sales to enthusiasts will add maybe 1000 per year. Manufacturers are not in the business of making cars, they are in the business of making money. They make the most money from something with wide appeal, not an enthusiasts wet dream. I like sliding a car through a corner, but most people want a car that will not slide through the corner. If GM introduces a low priced rear wheel drive sedan, it will last for a few years and be discontinued because of poor sales. If GM is being GM, the car probably will not be right when introduced, and will be discontinued when it is perfected. I had thought that they were over that, by looking at the Malibu introduction, I am not so sure.

    • 0 avatar

      “Manufacturers are not in the business of making cars, they are in the business of making money.”

      That’s not always the case, especially with GM.

      “They make the most money from something with wide appeal, not an enthusiasts wet dream.”

      That depends on if it’s affordable like a Camaro, but still not a Camaro. GM has the parts or will have the parts on the shelf soon, but they never can get it together. It’s either the right car with the wrong engine or the right engine in the wrong car. Remember the Typhoon, Syclone, Silverado SS454, Grand National or Fiero? Usually there’s something further upstream they don’t want to cannibalize, even if it’s a loss leader.

  • avatar

    And a RWD Buick Riviera on this platform would be sweet. This would have a greater impact on Lexus sales than Buick’s heavy overpriced current models. Verano is a good start!

  • avatar

    No love for the “Monza” name? :p

    I don’t think a heritage name for a model that isn’t related at all would work for a car that’s to be sold internationally. It should be something that would appeal across all cultures.

    I really hope they produce the 130R, whatever name goes on the hood. Rear wheel drive, tiny turbocharged engine, light weight? If they could produce it and sell it for as little as the 86 or less, I’m sold.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    The Chevelle equivalent we had in Australia from GM would have been the Torana.

    The best example of an early 70’s Torana was what we called the XU-1. The vehicle weighed in at 1 100kg (2 400lbs) and in the end ran a 13.5 sec quarter mile. Here is a bit of a story about the XU-1s

    Australia also had what would have been closer to the size of the Chevelle called an E-49 Charger from Chrysler. Charger’s came with a 318 V8 or the quickest one a 265 Hemi 6 cylinder with triple DCOE sidedraught Webbers. The E-49 was only the 265 Hemi.

    The 265 Hemi E-49 Charger was the world’s quickest 6 cylinder car until Porche came out with their turbo flat 6’s.

    Smaller performance cars are a great idea, also there has been a slight difference of philosophy between Aussie muscle cars and their US counterparts. Ours had to handle as they were used for homologation purposes for Group C Sedan racing here.

    That tradition has followed right up until this day.

  • avatar

    We can only hope.. The thing about RWD is that nowadays it does pretty well in the inclement weather. So FWD just isn’t needed like it was back in the 80s’ and 90s.

    My dad has no trouble driving a BMW around New England in the winter.. But of course it has winter tires, traction control and stability control..

    So why not use the superior handling layout? Or at least give consumers the option. I much prefer Chrysler to GM – but if its the right size this would be tempting..

    That being said the Chevelle was BIG. My brother has a 71 Chevelle and its a good size car. Its 197 inches long – and that’s the size of the Challenger.

    The code 130r is a small car so not sure the name would work.

    • 0 avatar

      The Chevelle was a mid size car – for the 1960s and ’70s. Today, that’s full sized, or large mid sized. Not everyone wanted a 220 inch long, 123 inch wheelbase family car. As I recall, the full sized cars got 8-9 MPG while the Chevelles, Darts, etc. were good for 12-14 mpg – real economy!

      Of course, that was when you could get 3 gallons of gas for a buck. If that makes you younger people feel bad, think how those of us who remember those prices feel! My older sister drove a 1950 Chevy Special 6 with the 216 engine and three on the tree. There was a gas war (google it) in the early ’60s and she’d drive for a week on a dollar’s worth.

  • avatar

    RWD is lost on the generation that will actually be buying this. It really won’t mean much except to a bunch of middle-aged car bloggers. Does anyone post Gen-X really care which wheels drive a car? Does anyone post Gen-X really care about cars?

  • avatar

    NO four-bangers sold under the Chevelle nameplate, please…think of the Dodge Charger 2.2 back in the ’80’s…it was as bad an idea then as it is now.

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