71 vs. 72 Chevelle Taillights: The Differences You Did Not Know

People who know about the Chevrolet Chevelle are fans of its incredible look, design, and performance. Each component of this vehicle is better than other popular muscle cars. More precisely, if you think about the headlights or taillights, you may not move your eyes from them. Thus, different model years of Chevelle have different taillights. I will focus on 71 vs. 72 Chevelle taillights in today’s discussion.

While roaming online, I have found a fierce debate between the 1971 and 1972 models’ taillights. As a hint, I can say that these lights have unique design and functionality that sets them apart. 71 model has two smaller inner and two larger outer lights. Conversely, the 72 model has two larger internal and two smaller external lights.

It’s not just about the number of lights – there are more things you can learn from reading this blog. Once you finish, you can quickly identify the differences between the taillights of two consecutive-year models. And obviously, you will love both models for their taillights.

Chevelle & Its Taillights – The Reasons Behind 71 vs. 72 Chevelle Taillights Controversy

The Chevrolet Chevelle began in 1963 (model year: 1964), though the production continued till 1977 (1, 2, 3). Initially, people got it as a 2-door, 2-seat sports car. It was aimed at a younger, more affluent demographic who valued performance and style.

Well, its design was innovative for its time. Mainly, it was identical for its distinctive “ducktail” rear end. This design gave the car its characteristic “duck” shape. However, Chevy started changing the design of taillights from the 1971 and 1972 model years. The purpose was to fulfill the consumer’s desire for customization options and to enjoy trends (4).

The 1970 model had square taillights, which seemed a little out of place. On the other hand, the 71/72 models featured more rounded taillights that better matched the style of the body (5). Likewise, there was a change from the flat style backup lens to the bubble style amid 1970 Chevelle production (6).

LED replacement for the classic 1964-1987 Chevelle models continued the evolution of taillight design (7). The 1971 Chevelle taillights have inspired many modern car designs.

Some companies now offer updated versions of these taillights. For example, Marquez Design offers Billet Taillights in various styles, including a modern 3-D option (8). Besides, you can find an LED taillight conversion set for the 1971-72 Chevelle. These lights are a high-powered and contemporary alternative to the traditional ones (9).

The controversy has also influenced Chevelle’s image. The debate has sparked interest and discussions about Chevelle. It has increased the brand’s popularity and recognition among car enthusiasts.

The 71 Chevelle Taillights

People started knowing the 71 taillights from the 1967 Chevelle model. Indeed, these lights were a significant departure from the previous design. A fundamental change in the plan was introducing a more domed-shaped area in the backup lens. However, these lights are visible in the rear bumper with a clean, streamlined look.


As mentioned, 1971 Chevelle taillights feature a design with two smaller inner lights and two larger outer lights (4). These lights of more rectangular shape and clear lenses are positioned in a horizontal line. Then again, the two inner lights are brake lights. But the outer lights are a combination of brake and turn signal lights.


In terms of performance, the 71 Chevelle taillights are reliable and effective. For example, the brake lights are bright and easily visible. It ensures that other drivers can see while braking the car. Again, the brilliant and easy-to-see turn signal lights quickly give a signal when you turn the vehicle.


You can install the 71 Chevelle taillights very easily. Once you locate the place, you can access them by removing a few screws. After removing the lights, you can install new items using the same screws. But you should be careful about proper wiring to keep the taillights active.

Replacements & Upgrades

You can replace these lights with LED boards that fit inside the stock housings (3). Besides, you can also get custom and factory taillights, including LED options.

The 72 Chevelle Taillights

Let’s talk about the 1972 Chevelle taillights. The ’72 Chevelle features four taillights on the back. These lights continued the evolution of the design that began in 1971. Hence, this model year saw a typical minor front grille/headlamp and tail amp change from the previous model.

The significant changes in 72 taillights were the launch of high-intensity wide-angled LEDs and the fully sequential LED feature. These things integrated better safety and visibility.


You can find 2 larger inner lights and 2 smaller outer lights in the 72 Chevelle model. The center circle is recessed deep with the outer ring to give them a distinct look. However, these lights are easily identified by their round shape and red lenses with dual bulbs (4). The fully sequential LED feature lets the lights light up in a fluid and sweeping pattern.


The 72 Chevelle taillights perform well. Notably, these lights provide excellent visibility to other drivers on the road. For instance, the larger inner lights support brighter illumination. So, drivers from the opposite direction can easily see the vehicle from a distance. Similarly, the smaller outer lights are crucial in signaling turns and braking.


Like 71, the installation process for the 72 Chevelle taillights is also relatively straightforward. You can follow the equal method of installing 71 taillights. But you should align and wire these lights correctly to let them function well. I suggest you get professional help regardless of the taillight models for installation.

Replacements & Upgrades

Sequential LED taillight kits are available for the ’71-’73 Chevelle models. They offer a direct retrofit and replacement for incandescent light bulbs (10). Moreover, you can order tail light assemblies for 1971 Chevy Chevelle in different online stores (11).

Current Availability of the 71 vs. 72 Chevelle Taillights

Though you may think 71 and 72 model taillights are old, many people worldwide look for them. You can still find these lights in different stores or online marketplaces.

For instance, eBay offers a set of LED taillights and reverse lamps for the 1971 Chevy Chevelle SS & Malibu. You can also buy individual taillights from them (12). Then, CARiD.com provides a range of 1971 Chevy Chevelle taillights. It also includes a 15″ Chrome/Red LED 3rd Brake Light (13).

You can get versatile lights and lighting parts for 71 Chevelle at Summit Racing (14). Amazon sells a taillight lens gasket set for the 1971-1972 Chevelle & Malibu. At this marketplace, you can buy a 42 LED taillight lens with stainless steel trim for the 1972 Chevelle SS & Malibu (15).

Some other popular sources of having 71 and 72 lights are chevelles.com, chevelle.com, and opgi.com.

The Market Demand for the 71 vs. 72 Chevelle Taillights

Chevelle owners are still looking for 1971 Chevelle taillights. If you are one of them, you have various options for purchase.

Sequential LED taillight kits for the ’71-’73 Chevelle are available for around $290 (10). These are more suitable for 72 models.

On eBay, there are numerous listings for 1971 Chevelle taillights. The price starts from $20 to over $50 on average (16). Other options include custom and factory taillights with various designs and prices (13).

You can get taillight lens sets for the 1971 Chevelle SS and Malibu. Some of these sets may have trim (17). Then again, digital LED taillights and reflectors for the 1971 Chevelle are also available (18).

Final Words

After researching 71 vs. 72 Chevelle taillights, I have presented you with a distinct idea. It means several subtle but notable differences between the two models. Let me summarize the whole topic.

The first notable thing is that the 71 taillights have a clear lens with dual bulbs. But the 72 taillights have red lenses with dual bulbs. You may consider this difference small. But it can affect the car’s driving and handling. It is because the shape of the taillights can impact aerodynamics and the car’s speed.

Then, the center circle of the taillights on the 72 model is recessed deeper than on the 71 model. Yet, I could not understand whether this difference is year-specific or due to supplier differences.

Now, I consider you are a fan of the Chevelle and need to buy a taillight for a 71 or 72 model. You should keep these differences in mind. After that, choose the right one for your vehicle. Whatever you choose, these lights have unique charm and appeal.

I guess that’s enough for today’s topic. Thank you for coming here!

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