Back in the 80's the hot thing was to add every option imaginable to your car using parts from wrecked cars...
I would wager, just like SS cars, There are now way more bucket seats in Chevelles & A-bodies than there were new. Where did they come from?
BOP cars and B-Body cars that got them and were then parted out becasue they were less popular. On my own little peice of the universe I've converted quite a few original/unrestored lemans/GTO buckets into chevelle buckets. Not sure why those particular ones are so common, but they are.
I have probably owned 12+ seats of A'body bucket seats over the years, and very few were actually "Chevelle" upholstery. Most were Pontiac or Buick... Not only were those cars cheaper, and therefore probably used more for parts cars, but does anyone have the breakdown on how many BOPs got buckets compared to bench? Thinking of GTOs, weren't buckets "standard" equipment? Whereas, SS Chevelles, the buckets were optional.
And when those were added to one of my Chevelles (or El Caminos), I often replaced the upholstery. And with the fresh upholstery, I also refreshed the paint on the backs and side panels... Therefore I ALWAYS replaced the trim using what was available in the aftermarket, which still to this day is ONLY chrome. I have yet to find a suppliers of non-chromed seat trim, even the expensive "correct" trim and not just the cheaper edging... 37+ years of repro chrome and not one with non-chrome.
I know it drives me crazy when resto suppliers keep using incorrect application info. Catalogs still show early GTO/442 shifter humps as "Chevelle" even though they know its not true (I have personally contacted several).
IMO, that repro unavailability of colored, along with an abundance of less expensive BOP seat cores is what likely why nearly every restored Chevelle seat has chrome.
Personally, despite have numerous Chevelles (15+?) over the years, and being a very active member here for 20+ years, I didn't realize that Chevelles did NOT use chrome on the sides, until just a few years ago...
Now, like anything else, there may be some anomalies... Numerous plants built both Cheveles and BOP A-bodies, so there could be some discrepancies.
Has anyone seen a set of known
original "Chevelle" bucket seats, with known original chrome on the lower panels? First, MOST (if not all) known
originals used the colored trim on Chevelle. Secondly, the shear multitude of "experts" (after seeing hundreds of cars)that concede that Chevelles originally used colored trim...
Then don't forget the anomalies of those cars that use colored trim. IF all supposedly used chrome, then where did all the colored pieces come from? And why are the colored pieces ONLY found on Chevelles and never on BOPs?
And as for the earlier cars (66/67), only the upscale Malibu and Supersport had the option of buckets, so its not like the colored came only on the lower end models (300 and 300 Deluxe)...