1969 Chevelle SS 396: 335 Miles From New

335 Mile 1969 Chevelle SS 396

This is one of the more remarkable barn finds I’ve seen in a while: a wrecked but fixable 1969 Chevy Chevelle SS 396 listed on craigslist with only 335 miles on the clock! What a great story: 2 brothers in the farming business start buying rebuilder cars for a second source of income. In addition to the Chevelle, they also grabbed a rebuildable ’67 Camaro RS/SS and ’68 GMC truck. While seemingly a great idea, the brothers ran out of money and the projects stalled, ending up in barn storage since 1969!

chevelle393a

The seller claims he has been asking the brothers to sell the cars for 5 years. After enough begging, they finally agreed and he bought all 3 rebuilders. The Chevelle had gone off the road and mashed up the nose, even bending the leading edge of the frame. The brothers then acquired all new parts, from NOS fenders and A/C components to a replacement frame. No wonder they ran out of money!

chevelle396b

So, given the propensity for old odometers to be tampered with, it may look like a case of rollover that gives this 396 car its low mileage. However, the seller points out that in addition to substantial documentation from the farm brothers who held onto the cars all these years, there are still traces of engine paint overspray on the exhaust manifolds – which would have burned off within the first few weeks of ownership if the car was a typical used example.

chevelle396c

This is the shot that gets me: imagine getting the fluids sorted and turning that engine over for the first time: it’s like being the first “real” owner of the car, since the tenure with the original purchaser was so short-lived (and I’ll bet he or she would love to know what happened to their car, considering they were probably devastated having wrecked it so soon after delivery). This is a great story if it turns out to be true, and I hope we can someday see this “new” Chevelle move under its own power again. Thanks to Barn Finds reader Chad for this great find!

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Comments

  1. Toast54

    Hopefully pix of the Camaro and the GMC will be forthcoming..what an AWESOME find indeed.

  2. Toast54

    As an addendum, that’s a bit of a tearful image of what I assume are the two brothers perhaps thinking what might have been.

    • Jeff Staff

      I had the same thought. So much wrapped up in those cars….from the early hopes of profit to the years of waiting until the time was right to the conclusion we see here today.

  3. Joe Gotts

    Whoever is telling this story should be nominated for a Academy Award!

    Only a total jerk off would store a 335 original mile SS396 Chevelle it a shed with half the roof missing exposing it to the elements.

    I call bull$hit!

    JoeyG…

  4. Art M.

    The parts they purchased to repair these vehicles would not have been NOS back then, just run of the mill off the shelf parts. So I doubt that would have contributed to them going broke. I’m very skeptical about this story anyway.

    • Jeff Staff

      Perhaps it was the choice of words: what was off-the-shelf stock in 1969 can now be considered NOS, since they never did the work.

      • RayT Member

        Assuming the story is true — and it certainly looks legit, though I admit to skepticism — the NOS versus “old new parts” is just semantics. Kinda like people calling cars pulled out of garages “barn finds.”

        Whatever it is, I’m pretty sure anyone willing to shell out 30 Large for this will check it over with care. And they’ll be able to afford all the detailing and rebuilding (brakes, etc.) it will require. It won’t be “just bolt on the hood and fenders and GO!”

        But I’m envious! The only problem for me would be getting it done and NOT racking up as many miles as possible thereafter!

  5. Rancho Bella

    It’s a big gas guzzling car, period. If anyone thinks their life is going to get better, think again. No fool………………

    • Toast54

      Considering your attitude toward this and the Mustang, you should perhaps stick to the riceburner forums

      • Rancho Bella

        I’m trying to educate people. I have been doing cars for forty years. If you don’t believe me then check trends with Hagerty or some other old vehicle insurer. Most car people only hang out in car circles…….the problem with that is you only are involved with one minded people.
        As for the Mustang…………I’ve forgotten more about Boss 302’s than most people will ever know. As for Honda comment, it was an example of what young people are drawn to.

        Look at the bigger picture. This website participation has reduced itself to a mere handful of folks where at one time it was very busy. Many of the early participants no longer write on here…….why is that? Pampers, oxygen and death

  6. Barzini

    By far the most amazing story on Barn Finds this year.

  7. joeinthousandoaks

    I’d sure like to have heard what the brothers sold it for. This is what I love about this site!

  8. randy

    I’m not here for fuel economy! Anyone else? There is enough oil to last 100’s of years.

    I bet this chevy gets better mileage than both of my current drivers.

    • Aaron

      Not enough money though. I can’t afford to fuel my 72 F250, so I don’t drive it, and am trying to sell it. It’s pretty low right now, but the price of fuel will only go up over time.

      • randy

        How much are you selling for? Location? I drive a 73 F250 daily.

    • geomechs

      Hi randy. I tuned a lot of these up back in the 70s and they got into the mid-teens, providing you kept your foot out of the radiator. Compare them to a car of today with similar horsepower, and they are a bit of a gas hog. Myself, I put the bulk of my miles on my trucks (’02 Ford and ’13 Chevy Avalanche) which also get into the mid-teens. My wife’s ’57 Poncho gets into the mid-teens. If I had a car like this I wouldn’t know the difference. Of course our family car is an ’11 Equinox which gets 30+ but it’s performance leaves a lot to be desired. It’s all what makes you happy.

  9. piper62j

    There are skeptics and all out believers for the early muscle cars. I believe there is “an ass for every seat”, and, “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”.. Enjoy the hobby and pursue the wants and needs of your desires.. If you can afford it, buy it,, If not,, walk away..
    That being said, I concur,, why would you store a car with only 335 miles on it for all these years? Was it stolen? Involved in a felony? We’ll never know, but the mystery alone is intriguing about this car..
    All the best to the new owner and may it pan out as a treasure of the ages..

    • geomechs geomechs Member

      Hi piper. My thoughts exactly. If I had cash like that, I’d probably be taking a closer look but unfortunately, like so many others, my resources are limited. The ’69 Chevelle is by far my favorite and my attention is always drawn toward one. I wish the new owner well.

  10. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    I disagree Rancho. Been observing for a long time. It seems like more people all the time. The hobby might be shrinking tho. Kids not to interested. Not on the pampers or O2 and not dead tonight.

  11. Tyler

    I’m not saying the story is not true, but something caught my eye in one of the photos on the actual Craigslist post. The last pic is of the engine, & I noticed nearly all the paint is gone from the block, heads & intake. And the rubber hose from the top of the water pump to the intake should have paint on it because those were installed when the engine was built, & they were not masked off before painting. If the exhaust manifolds still have overspray on them, why does that hose not? Just one of those things that makes you go hmmmm.

  12. moosie Craig

    Some of you guys crack me up.

  13. Rob K

    Has anyone considered that it might be an unfinished resto or recent project that got wrecked and was too ambitious with a low mile odometer, or one that recently rolled over. What’s to say they didn’t take it out the back and throw leaves and dirt all over it to corroborate the story.

    I’d love to believe it was the real deal, but the “cleaned up” condition looks too good for a car that was sitting under all those leaves for years. Even the bit about overspray makes me a bit suspicious. Did they really paint any part of these cars with the exhaust headers in situ?

  14. piper62j

    In all my years working on these cars, I cannot recall any overspray on the engines. I was a GM service manager for several years and when the new cars & trucks came off the transport, all the guys in the shop would gather around, pop the hood and sit inside to get a deep breath of that “new car smell”… That sounds odd, but we considered it a perk for working there..

    Not much of this vehicle is making any sense to me.. but then, it’s not my 30k on the line..

  15. Chuck Foster Chcuk F 55chevy

    Why no pictures of the interior? Engine paint overspray means the engine was repainted with manifolds on it, not factory. (Just noticed my misspelled name, DOH!!)

  16. Jeff Staff

    Good feedback here, guys. I love the story and it seems too complicated to be made up – but sometimes, that’s exactly what the seller wants us to think!

  17. Rspcharger Rspcharger

    I don’t quite follow what is going on here. Did the seller do anything to fix the Chevelle or just give it a wash? Is it on the good frame now at least or is he purely a flipper? His ad is very lacking.

  18. Jeffin iowa

    Yes the car is real. It is sitting in my shop. Here is a pic of the factory engine paint overspray still on the exhaust. I am not sure what to do with it, as the surviver car people would cuss me for putting wrench marks on anything. The motor is stuck and I have thought about taking it apart to get it running. I will let the next owner decide on what to do with it. I will post more pics.

    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

      Please do Jeff. Thanks!

  19. Jeffin iowa

    Still has post of the Part# stickers

  20. Jeffin iowa

    Also has stamp markings

  21. Jeffin iowa

    The Chevelle is sitting on a correct late year frame that matches the build date range. It is a 325 400 auto on the column. A/c, disc, AM, bench seat and posi. Original paint, but interior was shreeded from a racoon who liked it as a home for a few years. Pretty solid car that will need a full restoration. I will be putting the front cap on soon.

    • Jeff Staff

      Jeff, thanks a ton for the photos. That thing looks like the real deal with those stampings and stickers in place. When will the other cars be available?

  22. AMCFAN

    Love it or hate it gotta say Rancho Bella is 100% right. I am not into taking sides. I am older and had a child late in life. I like all vehicles and have had about everything collectable in all brands at one time or another. My passion has always been all that American Motors. I went to my first National AMC meet for the first time since 1991. This was 2009 BTW Amazing the cars many I saw in 1991 looked the same. The owners were much older. No one was younger then 30. That is a wake up. Doesn’t have to be an AMC show. It is all shows. Look around. As far as rice it is now. My son who was 14 at the time took note of that. Being his age he was raised during the Fast and Furious era and I was right there with him watching it over and over. Now he is driving and he has a Honda Civic that is a custom build. There is a very big and growing Tuner element in our area. There is a local show we hang out at every month and attracts over 400 cars. The tuner crowd is not a part of the main show as an issue with playing music. Which I might ad I hate HATE listening to the American Grafitti soundtrack loop blaring. I am in my 50’s and am still waiting on Tool to come out with a new album…. er CD. That being said I am hanging out with my son across the street. When it gets dark it is a massive burn out competetion. Nice to see a guy in his 70 Chevelle hammer it and it choke from being parked all month. Not a V8 hater but you have to respect seeing an all wheel drive EVO disrespecting a Corvette. BTW my sons Civic was on the dyno and tuned at a modest 422 WHP with no power adders He does have a twin shot that he doesn’t use. His driver is a SRT4 Neon Stage III. I am an older guy who is not stuck in an old guy time frame. I enjoy my AMX but the sons B16 Turbo Swap Honda is more fun. Cheaper to build. Can drive it all day get 40 MPG whip up on any V8. Cheaper then a Challenger and Shelby. Hanging out with my son priceless. Life is good. You guys can have your projects !!!!

    • Adam

      Just because you like the rice burners does not mean the muscle car days are dead. Have you watched a Mecum or Barret auction lately? I do not recall seeing many high dollar Honda Civics cross the block. The OLD guys with the money are still buying classics. That could very well change in the next 20 years when your kids and kids his age have money to spend on big dollar toys.
      Most people like myself buy these muscle cars to enjoy not resell. I would never waste money on a Honda Civic or any other tin can sounding car. They may put out as much or more HP than my 1973 Z/28 but I do not care since I do not race. I guess that is another thing that comes with age, you realize street racing will only cause you nothing but grief.
      Like they say, to each their own. Why come on this forum and bad mouth someone for what they like. If you are happy with whatever you drive then great.

  23. PRA4SNW

    Jeff, thanks for the extra pictures. Keep posting, this is interesting.

  24. Tundra/BMW Guy

    I don’t see the need to be hateful! Everybody has an opinion. All the opinions can and should be heard, but the presentation can be in a non confrontational manner. I personally love this site, the varying opinions, the hugely educational input from those that know specific things about specific cars, and the huge variation in vehicle types! A “Barn Find” now days is just a car that is interesting or has an interesting story or is both! No need to be literal nor let your blood pressure rise over what is supposed to be an educational, informative, and fun site! At least that’s the way I look at it.
    (hope I don’t get roasted over an open fire, or comment section for that matter, for voicing my OPINION)

    • leiniedude leiniedude Member

      Hey Beemer dude. I wish I could roast you, But I agree with your comments. So I will toast to you. Well spoken. I own an old Stingray but enjoy all cool cars. Why beat up on someone who has something different? I do not get it. If you ever get to Wisconsin, I have some Leinenkugel beer and some steaks that we can roast over a campfire. That’s all the roasting I have. Take care, Mike.

  25. randy

    Me too! This is all for fun and fantasy! Grilled steaks, yum yum.

    • leiniedude leiniedude Member

      Your in Randy!

  26. Chad Brousseau

    Just an FYI I have seen the car and the parts and the story is legit. A friend and I found the 1969 I Dream of Jeannie / Barris Firebird a few years go and even with PHS documentation and a Cert of Auth.from Geo Barris armchair skeptics were still doubtful on the forums.

  27. piper62j

    There doesn’t seem to be any confrontational comments here.. Just everyone’s opinion being shown.. An open mind helps a lot.. IMHO

  28. Rocco

    Keep us posted.

  29. AMCFAN

    Adam, Sorry your anger is directed to me. I like ALL cars. I have had all brands. I would estimate during my lifetime without making a list maybe 400 or so. Does that make me an expert no. Qualified to have an opinion YES. Time will tell on muscle cars. I take it you are (much) younger. Your feelings are strong toward muscle cars. That is fine. We still live in America I am to assume and everyone gets an opinion. I did not imply muscle cars are are dead. I stated that I see the interest changing in them much like it did with the era of the model T and the Brass era. The price ultimatly reflects interest. My son grew up with cars….mine. Now it is his turn. I being a car person has an appreciation for what he likes as well. I don’t tell him whats good nor did my old man (a Chevy guy) tell me. Tuner cars are cheap. An SRT4 Neon for an example are in the $3500-$5000 range. He cannot afford to buy a restored car or do a restoration on a 1960’s car. Hell, it turns me off when someone is asking $2500. for a grill I need for my 1970 AMX. (that is cheap for an NOS BTW) Will I have a good carefree time driving the AMX. No. It becomes a big full size model sitting in the garage. That can only be taken out in a perfect environment. So it becomes a cost factor. Same reason you chose a 73 Camaro a 1969. The 69 cost three times as much to obtain.

    I do watch collector car auctions. There are many ricers sold most on here wouldn’t give a second look one comes to mind in 2014 RM sold a 1972 Nissan Skyline for $242,000. The JDM spec only vehicles are very collectable and are in high demand. Japan made performance cars in their home market unmatched to anything produced anywhere else in the world. To get one in the US has to be 25 years old. To each their own. When it is my time to move on I don’t expect my son to hang on to the vehicles I leave to him because I liked them. Like my grandfather gave my father a restored 1913 Model T touring that will most likely be mine.

    I am all for racing as well never on the street…unless it is needed. My son has taken the Civic to the strip. Several months ago we attended an Import Faceoff. Very impressive show. Saw a Mitsubishi EVO and a Toyota Supra (there were others) do low 8’s in a quarter mile. As far as a Honda VTEC Civic you are right it does put out as much horsepower then a 1973 Z28. The cost of the Honda about $1200.

    The 1969 Chevelle. At one time I would have paid the price to get it. It is fantastic project. Being older that kind of car isn’t for me. If lucky I may have 10 or 15 years left. I don’t want to spend 7 or 8 years doing a restoration on a car I won’t drive. Just saying. Hopefully I can still say that and not piss anyone off. I would like to manage my time and spend with my family. My only son likes what ever fine, with me. I’ll be there enjoying it with him. Cars will always be in the picture.

    • leiniedude Leiniedude Member

      Hang in there, I am with you. I own a 1991 Civic as my work rig. Fun car to drive. I also own a 1972 Stingray. Fun car to drive. The Harleys and Hondas also. I always thought it is not what you drive, but why you drive! Mike. PS. Hammer down.

  30. Jeffin iowa

    Gas tank

  31. Jeffin iowa

    Interior shredded from racoon. the brothers thought it may have lived it the car a few years until the trap caught it and the access hole was covered.

  32. Cattoo CattooButt Member

    Can you imagine having to still make car payments on a car you wrecked before the first monthly payment. Was due? I could fathom it but wouldn’t want to have to do it. I’d be on a bike before too long. That and riding public transportation.

  33. Dallas

    I say the real deal due to the pinstripe bias ply tires that would have been long gone if the car had 100k plus.

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