Precious few Chevrolet vehicles can be called rare or special edition, and we have already covered some of them in our previous installment in the series. As promised, we’re continuing with rare and cool limited run models and special edition Chevy’s. This Chevrolet Part II will also be the the last installment dedicated to GM’s volume brand. Before we move on to another domestic manufacturer’s special editions, feel free to browse through what’s already been covered. Links are provided below.
As seen in our previous installment in this series, Chevrolet often resorted to contracting third party manufacturers. That was the case in ’77 also, when they asked Michigan Auto Techniques to build the Monza Mirage. MAT only produced 4,057 Mirages, and they all looked alike. Monza Mirage was styled in order to resemble the IMSA GT Series cars. In other words, it had 2+2 body style, Antique White paint job, Mirage decals, red/blue pinstripe below the waist and corresponding stripes on both sides of the car stretching alongside the entire hood, roof and rear overhang. At least the interior was entirely up to you. MAT also added the body kit consisting of fender flares, rear spoiler and a front air dam. Some cars had the optional rear window and rear quarter window louvers.
And all that for almost $700. It’s no wonder Monza Mirage never got to see its second production year as previously covered Monza Spyder appearance package only costed $199. Still, performance part was spot on. Unlike Chevy Vega which served as a role model for it, Monza did offer optional non-four cylinder engines. Monza Mirage came with 140ci 2.3L four and 305ci 5.0L V8 pushing 140 hp and 245 lb-ft of torque and the figures started heading downhill from there until Monza’s retirement in 1980.
Camaro Indy 500 Pace Car
Camaro has been pacing the Indy 500 for a few years now, but 2010 replica stands out as one of the rarest and coolest offerings the Bow Tie brand delivered thus far. Only 200 of these coupes in Inferno Orange have been built. They also came with White Pearl stripes straight down the middle which created the reverse paint scheme compared to the original 1969 Camaro Indy Pace Car. They are all basically 400-horsepower 2SS trim models with the RS appearance package, special grille, engine cover and decals. Moreover, Chevy built 500 convertibles the following year when topless Camaros finally became available. That time, however, they did hit the true color scheme of the original.
Camaro Indy 500 Pace Car
Mentioning the car as a role model to the previous special edition bunch, we simply couldn’t afford not to list it. 1969 Camaro Indy 500 Pace Car is the first Camaro that wore this prestigious sticker. There were 3,675 of them made, although almost double that figure (6,400) had been planned at first. These were all replicas, however, and only three of them were the real deal. Two were pace cars and one was given to the winner – Mario Andretti. Coming with the RPO Z11, 1969 Camaro Indy resembled the original 130 replicas and 3 originals fielded on the day of the Indy, May 30, 1969. These 130 cars were counted towards the 3,675 total produced later on.
Not all of them came with fully original drivetrain of the real pace cars. 350ci V8 mated to Turbo Hydra-Matic 350 automatic transmission is what mostly rest under their hoods, but 396ci V8’s with Turbo Hydra-Matic 400 automatic trans and power steering of the originals were available at additional cost. Cowl induction, rally wheels, special interior and outside decals, however, came standard.
K10 Sno Chaser
Exact production numbers of the Sno Chaser 4×4 Chevy pickup from mid eighties are unknown, but they were as rare as they come. After all, they were exclusively limited to northern states and other wintry areas. The Sno Chaser differed from conventional and other special edition models thanks to bed-mounted cab spoiler. Other than that, it had the Sno Chaser decals at the rear end of the cab. It seems that all of them also had different lower paint protective treatment separated from the base paint by a pinstripe. That seems logical given the fact snow and salt would otherwise quickly eat their way through the truck’s chassis. Still, that’s likely exactly the fate of many of these trucks since you’ll be hard-pressed to find one today.
Heritage Monza, Vega and Chevette
Just like the Highlander interior treatment offered in 1972 Chevy pickups and SUVs, there was also the 1976 Heritage interior theme offered in brand’s subcompact lineup. Exact numbers of cars ordered with the Heritage trim are unknown, but we do know that some 2,620 Vega’s had it. Package prices for Monza, Vega and Chevette were $45, $111-$143, and $182 respectively. Heritage special edition treatment consisted of one rather peculiar design pattern which could have been found on shirts, table cloths and wall papers alike back in the seventies. Red, black and white pattern could have only be combined with corresponding exterior including the trio of colors plus silver. You could say Chevrolet thought this one out – half thought, at least.
Malibu SS Station Wagon
After convertible and 4-door hardtop were axed, third generation Malibu was left with only two body styles: Colonnade Hardtop pillared coupe and station wagon. As always, SS was the most desirable package. Total of 28,647 Malibu SS coupes and wagons were built that year, but we don’t have the breakdown figures. It’s safe to assume that vast majority of them were coupes which makes 1973 Chevy Malibu SS station wagon as rare as they come.
Of course, all SS-badged cars only came with V8 power, and Malibu wagon was no different. Choice fell either on 350ci or 454ci powerplants which, however, delivered much less than they were capable of. Former generated as little as 145 hp in 2-barrel variant or 175 hp with the 4-barrel carb, while big-block delivered 245 hp and 375 lb-ft of torque. Trans choices, on the other hand, fell on 3-speed Turbo-Hydramatic and 4-speed manual. Visually, Malibu SS station wagon didn’t offer all that much aside from the SS badging, turbine wheels and blacked-out trim. There was, however, the optional reverse facing seat in the trunk which allowed Malibu wagon to carry no less than 8 passengers.
Produced for four years in 5,220, 1,452, 2,244, and 1,405 units respectively, Cameo Carrier wasn’t exactly the rarest of Chevy’s back then. However, it was one of the coolest and most important vehicles the Bow Tie brand had ever commissioned. Part of the new Task Force lineup of Chevy trucks, Cameo Carrier influenced the likes of El Camino and pretty much every post-fifties era truck. The reason: its smooth fleetside (or styleside or sweptside) bed design. In short, Cameo Carrier finally reduced the distance between passenger cars and pickup trucks of the era. A feat that a few others have unsuccessfully tried prior to Cameo. All Cameos had a two-tone paint job, but 1955 models only had one colorway to choose from: white and red. Likewise, all had either the standard 235ci six-cylinder or optional 265ci V8 engine which grew to 283ci for the last two years.
Chevy Blazer Chalet was one rather expensive and rare offering which spanned over 10 months of production (April 1976-January 1977) and resulted in 1,780 units produced. It was nothing other than Chevy K5 Blazer with a slide-in camper mounted in the bed. That camper which featured a dinette table, a stainless steel sink, either two or optional 4 bunk beds, and optional refrigerator and stove among other things, raised the price to a whopping $9,426. That was the base price, mind you, and optional equipment quickly raised it to a low 5-digit figure. It’s easy to figure out why such a hefty price tag didn’t appeal to buyers back then. One could have gotten a fully stacked Corvette for that kind of money. Still, that doesn’t mean Blazer Chalet wasn’t one cool Chevy. Especially with standard 4-barrel duo of 350ci and 400ci V8’s and the full-time all-wheel drive.
El Camino SS Choo Choo
El Camino SS customized by Choo Choo Customs ran from 1983 until the model’s demise in 1987. Broken down by years, production numbers were 587, 1,309, 1,198, 995, and 861 respectively. In other words, there was a total of 4,950 Choo Choo El Caminos manufactured. Being an appearance package, Choo Choo El Camino never delivered much in terms of performance. Moreover, most of them weren’t the factory SS models. It did, however deliver in visual department. Every one of them featured the SS grille and SS graphics on the lower front fascia, doors and tailgate. There was also the special aerodynamic front nose made out of polyurethane. Inside, Choo Choo El Caminos got the chrome train logo above the glove compartment. Furthermore, 1987 models also got the Choo Choo train logo up front, on the doors and at the back.
That’s not all from Choo Choo and Elky. Oh, no. Chattanooga, Tennessee based company produced the IROC-S pace car El Camino and 15 of its replicas in 1985. They were all red, white and blue, and #001 IROC pace car had the aluminum 350ci V8, strobe lights, hand-painted decals and Goodyear tires. There was another such promotional car built in 1984 which, actually inspired the pace car and its replicas. Unlike the 1985 original, this 1984 promotional copy hasn’t been accounted for. Finally, Choo Choo Customs also created the 1986 Indianapolis Track service El Camino. It featured the same setup as the IROC-S car, but came in yellow and served as Corvette’s backup on the track. This one was sold to a private collector alongside the IROC-S #001 when Choo Choo went bust about a decade ago.
El Camino L79
Every Chevy enthusiast knows there wasn’t much of anything Bow Tie brand built with the rare L79 engine option. Rarest of all L79’s are supposed to be the 1965 El Caminos of which less than 10 have been accounted for in the L79 registry. Additionally, not much more than that have been made. L79 version of the 327ci V8 continued on until the ’68 and delivered either 325 or 350 horsepower depending on the rest of the setup. And the rest of the setup usually included the Holley 3806 carburetor, Muncie 4-speed trans and 12-bolt 3.55 posi-traction rear end.
Spirit of America Vega, Nova, Impala
Although Chevy remained reserved on the American Bicentennial theme of 1976, they did commission a lot of special edition Spirit of America vehicles in 1974. Vega, Nova and Impala were chosen as they offered almost everything from subcompact to full-size accommodation. There were around 7,500 Vega’s with the package, 14,463 Nova’s and around 2,500 Impala’s.
Vega hatchback had the Gleaming all-white exterior, white vinyl roof, white GT wheels and white, blue, red stripes. It also had the special all-white interior and bright red carpeting. Nova hatchback also came in Gleaming white with red, white, blue sport stripes, but it had the black vinyl roof and black grille. Inside, Spirit of America Nova offered the same white seating – red carpeting treatment. Finally, Impala came either in classic white or rich dark blue paints with white padded vinyl roof and red, white and blue accent stripes. Being the top of the pack model, Spirit of America Impala also offered deluxe bumpers, rear fender skirts and wheel opening moldings. Needless to say, white interior treatment continued here as well, but you could have had the blue carpeting together with the red one.
L69 Camaro IROC-Z
Third generation Camaro IROC-Z was offered from 1985 through 1990, but L69 engine option was only offered during the initial first couple of years before it was replaced with the B2L 350ci 5.7L V8 in 1987. Alongside the L69, IROC-Z Camaro could have been ordered with much more popular LG4 and LB9 305ci 5.0L V8 options generating 155 hp and 215 hp respectively, although latter option was downtuned to 190 hp in 1986 (same that L69 made for both years). Only 2,497 L69-fitted IROC-Z Camaros had been ordered in 1985, while 1986 figure stands at 74. Apart from the rare engine, IROC-Z Camaro featured the upgraded suspension, larger sway bars, Corvette’s Goodyear “Gatorback” unidirectional tires, and special decals among other things. Even rarer were the special 1C5 RPO code California L69 IROC-Z Camaros. There were 250 of them painted black and another 250 of them painted red.
M80 special edition Malibu was one of the coolest cars among its coevals. Only around 1,900 (between 1,901 and 1,909) of them have been commissioned through North and South Carolina dealerships in an effort to revive the muscle car scene. Although fitted with 4-barrel 305ci V8 engine, Malibu M80 didn’t exactly deliver in performance part. It only pushed 155 horsepower which makes us wonder – how exactly did Carolina dealers think to revive the muscle car scene with that paltry power output ratings?
In any case, every single one of them was the 2-door coupe with white paint and blue stripes across the top and below the waist. Likewise, the interior had to be dark blue. Apart from these paint restrictions, Chevy Malibu M80 came with steel rally wheels from 1980 Monte Carlo, and different front and rear spoilers. So, on the wings of this regional special designed to catch the attention of car fans headed to Darlington Raceway, we are finishing our Chevy lists of special edition and limited run models.