1970 Chevelle SS 396 Convertible Garage Find!

Lurking behind the push-bikes and other assorted odds and ends is an American classic just waiting to be revived. Since this photo was taken the process has been commenced, and it’s now the job of the new owner to complete the job. Hiding in there is a 1970 Chevelle SS 396 Convertible, which is now listed for sale here on Craigslist. The car is located in Asheboro, North Carolina, and is offered with a clean title. The owner has set a price of $35,000 for this classic.

Well, that looks a bit different to the car that we saw peeking out from under that junk in the shed. The car had been hidden away in the shed since 1985 but has now been pulled out of hiding. The owner has commenced the restoration work on the car but has decided to sell it unfinished. While it is hard to be certain, it appears from the shot in the shed that this SS started life finished in Forest Green. The owner has gone over the car from top to bottom, and it is now at the stage where it is ready for its final coat of paint. The body looks arrow straight, and there’s not a sign of rust. All of the exterior trim is present, and it looks really nice. The owner also supplies a shot of the underside of the car, and the frame looks to be as clean as a whistle.

So how are the floors I hear you ask? In a word: perfect. If those floors are original, then they are about as good as you are ever likely to see on a Chevelle of this vintage. The soft-top is also said to be the original. If this is true, then it is also in fantastic condition for its age, and the back glass is also in great condition. What doesn’t rate a mention is the presence or condition of the interior trim, but restoring or replacing that should not be a huge deal on this car.

The trunk floor looks just as clean as the rest of the floors in the car. The interesting question for me will be how the new owner will choose to finish the car. It will be interesting to see whether they choose to finish it in its original color, or whether they will opt for something different. Personally, I’d be going with the original.

This car really has me intrigued. I can’t help but wonder why the owner has gone to what appears to be quite some lengths in this restoration but has decided to sell it unfinished. While the ad doesn’t say it in so many words, I get the impression that this is the original engine. It has been the subject of a rebuild to the original 1970 SS specs. It also has a new flywheel, a new clutch and pressure plate, and is hooked to the original 4-speed manual transmission. The rear end is the original 12-bolt rear, with front and rear sway bars and the boxed-in rear control arms that were an SS feature.

As a project, this Chevelle is an interesting car. The work that has been performed so far looks to be of a good quality, but only a personal inspection will confirm that. With so much work already completed, it will take very little effort to finish the car. I make no secret of the fact that I grew up in a household where the blue oval was king, and that has stayed with me my whole life. However, if someone were to hand me the keys to this car, I’d take them in a heartbeat. What about you?

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  1. JBD

    Nice car but I would NEVER buy a car in primer. Too much risk!

    Like 9
  2. Classic Steel

    Where’s the inner fenders?
    Floors look good and engine fresh but ram hood and no breather ram system?

    It will bring if block matches ….

    Like 6
    • Lynn Dockey Member

      The parts to make the cowl induction hood functional are available. Open element air cleaner sounds good also.

      Like 2
  3. 433jeff

    Sweet floors an trunk, a great start.

    Like 3
  4. Steve R

    Where is the documentation? If you are going to ask SS prices you need to prove it is an SS. The seller claims boxed lower control arms prove it’s an SS they are an easy addition and don’t prove anything. My money is on it being a clone, it has a drum brake master cylinder, there is no picture of the instrument cluster, no mention of matching numbers. This car has all of the earmarks of a quick flip, I wouldn’t trust what’s under the grey primer. Ready for paint, not likely.

    Clutch kits are cheap, $95 online plus free shipping. That’s not much of a selling point, inner fenders will cost more than that. Why is there no mention of the interior, does it come with one? Bucket seat cores can easily cost up to $500, then add the cost of upholstery, foam, seat tracks, console $300-600, door panels, the rear seat is specific to convertibles with cores selling between $400-500.

    Steve R

    Like 18
  5. Ron

    I’m not sure what a fully finished 70 chevelle convertible 396 4 spd is worth but 35K for the unfinished condition it is in seems a little high priced.

    Like 15
  6. LAB3

    I’m sure that this thread will continue with questions about originality, quality and other yet to be asked questions. Here’s my question, why reassemble without giving it a finish coat of paint? It seems to me that a quality paint job would be easier to accomplish while it’s still blown apart.

    Like 9
    • Josh Josh Mortensen Staff

      Probably because of the cost of a quality paint job.

      Like 8
      • Sal P

        Based on the photos provided on craigslist it seems as though he owns a body shop. Why sell it unpainted when it would only cost a couple thousand dollars MAX in supplies to do it in house….

        Like 1
    • Michael Litvin Jr

      I’m with you on the paint. Paint first then assemble the car.

      Like 4
    • Steve R

      I doubt the seller had any intention of painting the car. Hit it with a DA, slap on some filler, spray grey primer, it will look ready to paint in pictures. Compare that to the time involved to actually prep a car for paint. They were looking to maximize their profit.

      Steve R

      Like 13
    • Classic Steel

      Cost.. I personally would rather see the old paint over water obsorbant primer that can hide bondo and imperfections. I agree the person could of finished the car paint or even macco painted it on the cheap if he prepped it right they spray and bake great but their preparation of dings less desirable ✅

      This is a car that needs all the numbers checked (engine, heads, intake,vin, firewall #s ) and other parts of body to validate non clone.

      At least the vin was not removed as that’s a deal breaker every time for me.

      Like 5
      • Tom Member

        Agreed. I am surprised the flipper, I mean seller, did not say ” I did not paint it so YOU could pick your favorite color !!” Wow, you by chance have any swamp land or bridges for sale that I could buy?!!

        I saw a first gen Firebird go through Mecum Chicago a couple weeks ago where someone did some really quick and poor body work, slapped a 35 mph paint job on it and man was is terrible! I would have had more interest in the car before someone really screwed up the car with bad body and paint work.

        Yet some middle age dude with a girl friend half his age with “big twin carbs” ….pretty sure he paid 24K for that piece of crap after she said “oh please buy it for me !!! Stupid people with too much money paying way too much for some of these cars. On that same car someone took a rattle can in the wrong color blue to the engine, entire engine belts hoses and all! Other than being a 4 speed an convertible that car was a piece of crap and I am a HUGE 67-68 Firebird fan. Ok, I’m done.

        Like 9
  7. Dave Mika

    Either the front clip was stashed in front of the car, or another Chemalibu is staring it it nose-to-nose in that murky garage.

    Like 1
  8. Chris P.

    No way that is the same car in the garage. Look at the top. Original on which car?

    Like 4
  9. Lucky strike

    I don’t think it’s a true SS

    Like 1
  10. Raymond Hurst

    Two oservations. 1. The original top would have had a glass back window, not plastic. 2. The primer will have to be stripped to see what is underneath; vari-prime, bondo, surface rust pit holes, etc. Car is NOT ready for paint. If documentation; and matching numbers; and good body; car could be worth 25 to 35. Someone who doesn’t know these cars should stay far away or at least take someone knowledgeable to look at car.

    Like 1
  11. Fred A

    $15K tops = = = by time the primer is stripped, body long blocked prepped, doors aligned as with the trunk lid, hood.interior kits etc purchased and installed.
    Then there’s the numbers matching thing — if they don’t and it’s not a verifiable SS then the value drops like a stone.
    even if you got it for $15K and sunk another $40K to finish it, what’s it going to bring on a good day – – – – forget the auction prices – – – – that’s what inflates value guides when ” A Fool And His Money Are Soon Parted”
    Was it W.C.Fields that said “There’s A Fool Born Every Minute”
    Anyway – – what’s the bottom line on a good day – – $40K $50K ?


    That convertible top is not installed correctly. It looks like there are no pads over the frame of it. That plastic back window looks brand new. Needs lots of documentation, receipts on rebuilt or freshly painted engine. Lots of red flags on this one. Way overpriced in this state.

    Like 1

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