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Frequently Asked Questions

Q: My 1971 Chevelle has the original LS3 engine as documented by my warranty Protect-O-Plate card. Does that mean it's an SS Chevelle?
A: Not necessary. In both 1971 and 1972 the LS3 engine was available as an option in ANY V8 series Chevelle, regardless of body style be it sport coupe, convertible, El Camino, station wagon, or sedan. Only some kind of paperwork documentation showing the car's VIN along with the Z25 SS Equipment option will prove it was ordered as an SS optioned Chevelle.

Q: How many LS3 convertibles were built in 1970 (1971 or 1972)?
A: There is no known breakdown of LS3 engined Chevelles by body style or how many were sold with a 4-speed vs. the TH400 automatic, or came with optional gear ratios, etc. and will probably never be known unless we can register all LS3 engined Chevelles ever sold, which isn't in the realm of possibility for obvious reasons. See How Many LS3s Based On Body Style Were Sold? for more insight on LS3 numbers vs. body styles.

Q: Didn't all LS3 SS optioned Chevelles have gauges and a tachometer?
A: No. The Instrument Panel Gauges, or Special Instrumentation, sold under RPO U14 was always an option regardless of year. The gauge pods for fuel, speedometer, and optional clock were round as opposed to the linear sweep speedometer of a non-SS optioned Chevelle but the gauge package was still an option.  {Note: The same holds true for such options as bucket seats, console, and cowl induction hoods. Bucket seats and consoles were standard Malibu sport coupe/convertible/El Camino options and not limited to the LS3; the cowl induction hood could be ordered with either the LS3 or LS5 engine but not the two 350 engines with the Z15 SS Equipment option package.}

Q: Is my LS3 real?
A: This can be tricky at best. Partially because there are differing opinions on what is necessary to make an LS3 optioned Chevelle 'real'. To some, 'real' means the car has the correct and original engine it was born with and can be matched to the build sheet. To some, it means if the build sheet says it was born with the LS3 engine, it doesn't (relatively) matter that the engine has been replaced for one reason or another; whether by a dealer under warranty or an over-avid enthusiast back in the day due to out of warranty breakage. Consider if the car has a warranty engine with CE code or a 1974 454 truck motor dressed to appear as a 1970/1971/1972 LS3 engine, but has build sheet that is original to the car as noted by the VIN sequence and other information of the sheet matching the trim tag.

As far as the LS3 Registry is concerned, the paperwork is the primary objective in the registry and not whether the Chevelle retains the original engine or whether it's an SS optioned Chevelle or not.