1972 Chevrolet Chevelle Heavy Chevy
Courtesy of Barrett-Jackson
  • LS3 402-ci, 300-hp V8
  • Documented one-owner car, with original title and Protect-O-Plate
  • Factory air conditioning
This rare special-order Heavy Chevy was marketed as a lighter version of the SS and advertised much lower stated horsepower as an insurance beater. Heavy Chevys were factory coded as a base Chevelle and theoretically avoided the SS title, which triggered staggering double-digit insurance premium increases in the early ‘70s. The factory RPO code YF3 made this a rare Heavy Chevy, a sub-model based on the Chevelle series. It features a blacked-out grille and headlamp bezels, 14-by-6-inch Rally wheels with bright center caps and no trim rings, a domed hood and hood pins, lanyards and full-length Heavy Chevy body stripes, and hood, trunk-lid and fender badges. It’s also equipped with F41 heavy-duty suspension and a base interior including rubber floor matting and bench seating to save weight. This Heavy Chevy is one of only 286 built with the optional big-block LS3 402-ci engine (the largest engine available) and the special heavy-duty MC1 Muncie 3-speed manual transmission that was only available with this engine.

SCM Analysis


Vehicle:1972 Chevrolet Chevelle Heavy Chevy
Years Produced:1971–72
Number Produced:16,230 (1971, 6,727; 1972, 9,503)
Original List Price:$3,216.20
SCM Valuation:$21,188
Tune Up Cost:$100
Chassis Number Location:Tag on forward part of dash near driver’s side A-pillar
Engine Number Location:Pad on front of passenger’s side of engine below cylinder head
Club Info:American Chevelle Enthusiasts Society
Alternatives:1972 Chevrolet Rally Nova, 1971 Pontiac LeMans GT-37, 1972 Plymouth Road Runner
Investment Grade:C

This car, Lot 361.1, sold for $33,000, including buyer’s premium, at Barrett-Jackson’s Las Vegas, NV, sale on October 20, 2017.

Finding car folks who love Chevrolet’s mid-size monster, the vaunted Chevelle, isn’t hard. Stop by any classic-car gathering and it won’t be long before you see a Chevy A-body. Search any Chevy-centric Internet forum and you’ll see plenty of praise heaped on big-block tire roasters and plenty of signatures including LS5, LS6 and SS 454.

But one variant isn’t as often discussed — the Heavy Chevy.

Under the radar

Sure, there is a small set of fanatics for these cars, the same as with most unappreciated trim levels or models. Chevrolet produced only 16,235 (a scant 3.8% of all 2-door hard tops) during the brief two-year run. Then again, calling it a two-year run is a bit of a stretch, as the option was introduced in March 1971. The Rally Nova joined it in Chevrolet’s lineup as a less-than-SS performance variant to combat the skyrocketing insurance prices driving buyers (especially the younger ones) away from the top-end performers. Chevrolet, in their 1972 Chevelle brochure, referred to the package as “an economical running mate to the one on top. That’s the SS.”

To make that happen, Chevy made some concessions. RPO YF3 — the Heavy Chevy option code — was only available on the 2-door hard top, and wasn’t available with the 454-ci big block, as the 454 was exclusive to the SS lineup by this point. Ordering customers could pick from any of the other V8s, starting with the standard 307-ci small block, but also including two 350s and the one under this hood — the big-block LS3 402.

Almost an SS

Visual identification of one of these cars is pretty easy. A blacked-out grille and Heavy Chevy block-script vinyl spelled out the option on both front fenders and on the driver’s side in front of the hood. Speaking of the hood, it was domed with lock pins, just like the one on the SS, but with no Cowl Induction flapper. Front-to-back side stripes were the other exterior cue as to which car you’re looking at. Inside, the car reveals its economic emphasis, with a front bench, no console available and standard-issue rubber floormat.

This one is an even rarer example of the almost-SS, as it sports the MC1 heavy-duty 3-speed manual transmission. It’s easy enough to dismiss a 3-speed manual as the base transmission, especially since it was, but the MC1 wasn’t the base gearbox. In fact, buyers plunked down an additional $135.20 over the base price for the heavy-duty 3-speed upgrade. The plain-Jane ZW4 is the quickly disregarded (and often replaced) base unit, but the Muncie MC1 is every bit the equivalent of its 4-speed counterparts, just minus one gear. The 402/MC1 combination was installed in only 272 cars, while Chevy produced 286 of the pairings total in 1972. Other options here include power front disc brakes, a Positraction rear end and a Sport steering wheel.

Good docs, some needs

Our subject isn’t ready for the concours circuit, with paint flaking off of valve covers and staining on the passenger’s side of the front bench seat. But that’s hardly the point of this car. The glitz and glamour, such as any Chevrolet could garner, was reserved for the SS models and Corvettes. The old, corrugated wire looms and rusty vacuum hose clips add to the everyman charm epitomized by those 10 blocky letters.

According to the auction catalog, plenty of documentation accompanied the car: a copy of the original sales agreement, Protect-O-Plate, special-order deposit receipt, pre-delivery inspection form and more proof of the seller’s claims of matching numbers. All bonuses here.

Chevy made it abundantly clear that this sub-model is second to the SS cars, and that’s where the prices fall, too. ACC’s Premium Auction Database has tracked just five Heavy Chevys selling in the past decade at public auction, and that includes this one. Even if we include a Heavy Chevy sold in 2006 to the equation, the median sales price for all of them is just $21,188. That’s a far cry from the market median of the ’72 SS 454, which stands at $36k, according to the most recent ACC Pocket Price Guide.

Now, as for this car’s sales price, $33k is among the highest tracked by ACC. I know one car’s sale doesn’t make a market, but given this model’s rare auction appearances, it’s just about all we’ve got to go on to nail down a current valuation.

The loads of documentation likely added to price, too, but if this result is any indication of how buyers are feeling about the rarer-than-an-SS Chevelle, perhaps we’ll see some new love come to this under-loved everyman’s performance Chevy.

(Introductory description courtesy of Barrett-Jackson.)

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