1969 Chevrolet Chevelle SS 396 Convertible Barn Find!

Different cars are special for different reasons. Rarity figures into the equation but general popularity draws demand. And of course, one that ticks off lots of positives like a desirable muscle car, convertible body style, and an upgraded engine all conspire to create a hit. And that’s what we have here in the form of a 1969 Chevrolet Chevelle SS396 convertible. Located in Morris, Connecticut, this Chevy is available here on eBay for a current bid of $42,900, one bid tendered.

The 1969 SS396 Chevelle was a minor freshening of the completely redesigned ’68 version. Popular? You bet, about 86K copies found new homes that year. How many were convertibles? For SS396 models, the volume is not recorded, but for ’69 Chevelles in totality, it was about 8,800 units. So a convertible isn’t rare, but an SS396, equipped as this example is? Maybe.

First up is the color, there was a green known as “Fathom Green” in ’69 but this car looks like it has some pea soup green thrown on for good measure. And it’s pretty flat and absent of any sheen. One image of the cowl shows some green overspray so it’s safe to assume that this Chevelle is a repaint in a non-original color. The seller claims that it is the original “Frost Green” finish but I’m not seeing that. He also references the stripe, which would be the side beltline stripe, but none is there, more evidence of a repaint? The body is pretty straight but it has a couple of significant rust blooms in both the driver’s side fender and quarter. And that’s the way GM A-bodies from this era go, they are prone to rust, that much more so in convertible form. That said, the trunk is pretty clean as that’s where the rust problems in a convertible frequently manifest itself first. The seller also states that the floors are “mint” but I would still want to take a gander at the frame. The power convertible top is listed as original too; maybe it is and maybe not, it doesn’t really matter but it appears to be in good shape.

The interior looks fine. The black vinyl bucket seats and console equipped cabin is showing little sign of wear or degradation. This is especially encouraging as convertibles, that have spent a lot of time in top-down mode, usually have an interior that looks it. Also nice to find in the full instrumentation option which included a tachometer and engine gauges. No word whether or not they all work.

Of note is the original Chevrolet/GM 8-track tape player, a curiosity item today but a nice nod to the era. The interior is very complete, from what can be seen, and doesn’t appear to need anything.

Under the hood is a 350 HP, 396 CI “Turbo-Jet” V8 engine. This motor is known as option L34 and was an upgrade over the standard 325 HP engine. Chevellestuff.net claims that 17K of the total 86K SS396 production included this motor. Unusual to see is the A.I.R. smog pump still in place. They frequently got 86’d back in the day. The seller claims that he has spent $3K on maintenance and repairs, including a new water pump and correct hoses but the engine image was supposedly snapped when the car was first acquired from the original owner. Seems that it would be more beneficial to include an “after” image from when the repairs/replacements were made. The seller adds that it “…runs and drives real nice”. Gear changes are handled courtesy of a Turbo-Hydramatic 400, three-speed automatic transmission.

So this Chevelle was one family-owned for 50 years and it would seem that the seller acquired it recently with the intention of performing a flip. The car is well documented with an order sheet, broadcast sheet, owners manual, registration papers (Virginia), and the protect-o-plate. There is only one bid, that seems suspicious; a single bid “placed” to establish a reserve without actually creating a reserve? Maybe. This is a popular muscle car, made more so with its equipment and body style. That said, concerns should abound about the overall integrity of this convertible based on the visible rust. And that bid price seems a bit rich considering that large unknown, don’t you think?

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  1. IkeyHeyman Member

    Shill bidder?

    • Steve R

      Not even. It’s just getting warmed up. If it’s as described, due to the documentation, options, condition and rarity, don’t be surprised if it to sells for $50,000+.

      As the seller points out, there are so many clones you should consider any 69 SS convertible a clone until proven otherwise.

      Steve R

      • Big_Fun Member

        Exactly. I think, depending on the vehicle, and how much documentation comes with it, can increase that car’s value between $3000-$10,000 dollars.
        Would not be afraid to step up for this one.
        You would blow a lot of minds at any show, club function or cruise night driving this car the way it is now. Soooooo much that is original on this one.
        See that bracket on the ashtray? It is there because that 8 track is directly underneath it. Cool stuff.
        And the Chevelle community is large and knowledgeable. Expect it to go higher.

  2. local_sheriff

    No way this is neither of the ’69 greens; they are both beautiful hues. While I won’t neccessarily call this color ugly it’s not pretty either – probably a better description is ‘interesting’.

    Agree with IkeyH; something’s not right with bidding here. SS396,’vert +++; it doesn’t matter – this is a very good project car not a restored vehicle and I wouldn’t expect bidding to start at such a level

    • Vince H

      I don’t like the green either. Other than that what’s not to like.

    • Gray Wolf

      We bought a new ‘69 SS and the green was a special order which came on Pontiacs. I believe we paid an extra $33 for the color! It was different in the day!

  3. Mike1955

    I’m a 69 Chevelle nut, (currently own 4) and I believe the car is most likely the real deal, but it seems to be a bit high. Off color could be because of lighting.

  4. stillrunners stillrunners Member

    Yep…..look where that fuel filter is – that be factory and most moved it away from that hot block.

    • dave

      It does indeed warm my heart to see an oem filter with the hard line still there.

  5. Chris Slawski Member

    few things. the fuel filter placement is correct for this HP level on the big block car. The documents provided support the car. I have dealt with the seller before. He knows these cars very VERY well. If he says legit i am 99.5% positive he has also checked all the numbers to verify his claim on the vehicle. it does appear to be frost green…really dead frost green but frost.

  6. tony di mondi

    $30K to $40k to on frame restore it, bringing it near $100k , nothing special id say closer to $30k in its condition it not road worthy.

  7. john hugh

    in that condition 42K is way too much

  8. scott

    Much more desirable if it was born with the 396/375 hp engine. I believe this car would not bring over $35,000 at auction. Originality documented is a big plus for many but not all muscle car enthusiasts.

  9. RexFox Member

    A slush box automatically disqualifies it for my consideration.

  10. Keith Eisenbrei

    Maybe that picture is with the new hoses because those are not the original hose clamps for sure. Nice car but look for one done at the auction. A 396/375 vert would be in the 150k plus range with the same kind of documentation this car has.

  11. John

    Good Grief, you see what he’s getting for his parts?

    • Keith Eisenbrei

      He has been on eBay since 1999 and has a very extensive collection of hard to find Chevy parts. Prices are high because it is rare and he might have the only one in the world. Plus he knows it is the only one .Why do you think 1000 point restorations cost six figures to complete.

  12. George Mattar

    Too much money. That ugly baby puke green is off. Not correct hue. We used to buy these cars 5 years old for $1,200. Rusted then but nobody was faking cars then or switching VIN tags. It was just a used car.

  13. TimM

    I think low $40’s is what this car will go for if it doesn’t have some crazy reserve on it!! Even know it’s a convertible the fact that under the hood isn’t detailed and the automatic transmission will keep the valve there!!!

  14. Butch

    The green that is used on this car was first used by Chevrolet in 1970 I’m pretty sure. My Dad bought a new 1970 Camero RS the same color and I don’t remember seeing it on anything Chevrolet before that. I remember someone in the little town I grew up in had a Monte Carlo the same color.

  15. Gray Wolf

    As I posted earlier, I bought a brand new ‘69 SS Chevelle in that color. It was a special order color that Pontiac used. It cost us an addition $33, wow! The dealer ordered a Chevelle and an SS El Camino in that color to put on the showroom floor. The Chevelle never made the showroom floor!

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