Just when you think you know all about certain cars, some smart folks clue you in on more good stuff. That's how we came to hear about the so-called "reject" Chevelles. From Charlie Thomas, Dan Vasic, and Charles Lumpkin, all of whom know way more about Chevelles than we do, we learned about these unusual and quite rare '68s and '69s. Follow along and enjoy the story.
The L79 small-block was offered in Corvettes with a horsepower rating of 350, and it was also in the '66 and '67 Novas, Chevelles and El Caminos. This 327 was extremely popular and won its share of races at the stoplight or on the strip. In 1968, the L79 appeared in a few (very few) two-door post 300-series Chevelles and was rated at 325 hp due to a milder cam than was used in the Corvette engine. Speculation was that Chevrolet didn't want any mid-size car offered with more advertised horsepower than the premier car in their lineup, the Corvette, but the reality is that Chevy was getting rich selling SS396 Chevelles with 325 and 350 horsepower, and you certainly can't have a small-block making more power than the base 396 and as much as the optional L34 big-block, can you?
When these two-door post cars tried to run at NHRA dragstrips, they were rejected from racing against the ubiquitous no-post Malibus, and were made to compete with sedans and station wagons. That's where the "Reject" nickname came from, but it also meant these lightweight two-door cars could, and did, dominate their classes against the heavier sedans and wagons.
"Reject" cars were well down in the order of new Chevelles when it came to equipment and options. Essentially they had taxicab interiors; rubber floor mats, plain bench seats offered in three fabric colors and one in vinyl, less seat foam than the Malibu, the rear view mirror was smaller than in the Malibu, and the headliner material was unique to the 300 series. Many were ordered with lightweight plastic inner fender panels, which usually cracked and broke on the first few dragstrip runs.
The dark blue '68 shown above features the L79 engine, M20 four-speed transmission, 12-bolt 3.73:1 Positraction rearend, black vinyl interior with bench seat, rubber floor mat (no carpet), power steering and brakes. It was ordered sans radio, but with redline tires on steel wheels with dog-dish hubcaps. According to the cowl tag it was built December 1, 1967.
In 1969, the "Reject" Chevelles upped the power quotient a bunch by offering the solid-lifter L78 396 engine rated at 375 horses. You could also order the SS option in a 300 Deluxe coupe (the only year this was available) and the cars had vent windows, whereas the Malibu offered one piece front door glass. The wiper blades were not concealed so even the windshield wiper motor was lighter than on the Malibu. A few of the cars came with the optional door and window aluminum trim, and some of the early-production SS post-sedans had the very rare "rolled" exhaust tips.
Total production for 1969 300 Deluxe Post Sedans was 5,620 of which an estimated 1,400 carried the SS option. Of those SS cars, it is estimated that between 124 and 144 were equipped with the L78 396/375 engine option. Very few exist today probably owing to their hard-life; these cars were not intended as commuter-mobiles.
The Hugger Orange '69 featured shows 8,500 miles, and according to the owner, includes portions of two build sheets, an invoice buyers order sheet, and shipping order. Besides the 396/375 engine and 4-speed, it is equipped with a push-button AM radio, 4.10:1 Positraction rear axle, chambered exhaust and special suspension.
The black and the Daytona Yellow examples are both 1969s built at NOS Restorations for a single owner in St. Louis. Both have been shown at major car shows recently and recorded high honors.
Should you have further information on these rare Chevelles please let us know. If you own one and would like to get in touch with other owners, Dan Vasic at N.O.S. Restorations is establishing a registry. Please contact him at 805 Albion Ave. Schaumburg, IL 90193.