375 HP! 1969 Chevrolet Chevelle SS396

Oh boy, here we go, yet another 1969 Chevrolet Chevelle SS396. True enough but this one has some interesting aspects so I thought it worth a gander – it’s not like many SS Chevelles that surface and are of questionable value due to abuse, poorly executed modifications, or inauthenticity. Located in Mentor, Ohio, this Chevy is available, here on eBay for a current no reserve bid of $31,499 with five bids tendered so far.

This one started out as a storage unit find, it’s from an estate sale and was last registered in 1998. The current owner has had possession for a year so whether it’s a flip or it’s taken that long for the estate to get settled is not stated, and probably immaterial. It’s externally in fair shape, the LeMans Blue finish is good at a distance, though there is some surface rust on the roof and some rot starting in the passenger side fender leg and along the lower door edges. It isn’t too deleterious, yet, but these GM A-bodies are known for their proclivity to rust. The underside shows significant scale and also noted under there are the original Delco “spiral” rear shock absorbers – they’re usually long gone on a car of this era.

The mo-jo residing under the hood is a 375 HP (RPO L78) 396 CI V8 engine. The illustrated “JD” block stamp code does equate to a four-speed manual transmission version of this engine as used in a Chevelle or an El Camino. Additionally, the engine’s sequence number, 351292, matches the last six numerals from the VIN. Under the proper divorced choke Holley carburetor, which is wearing the correct dual feed fuel line, is a required Winters “snowflake” aluminum intake manifold. Yes, the whole shebang it looks genuine which means that this is one of about 9,400 SS396 Chevelles assembled in ’69 that bore this engine. They are really not rare, but they sold extremely well for a $252 option that was never advertised or promoted. It sounds as if this 24K mile example (supposedly documented) yard drives with a gas can – the fuel system will need a flush. There’s just one small item, the engine appears to be painted blue and that doesn’t add up, why? All the seller says, is, “Not sure why the engine block is painted what looks like ford blue“. At the least, I would insist on removing the valve covers to verify that this engine is wearing the correct “HI-PERF” cylinder heads. It may be nothing but the color change makes me think that the engine has at least been out of the car once.

The interior is surely a bright spot. The dark blue vinyl upholstery has withstood the test of time and still presents well. Same with the carpet, it shows little sign of use. The originality continues with the presence of the born-with Muncie gear shifter. Known for balking, they frequently got the bums-rush for a Hurst unit. Also of note, there’s an abandoned bracket languishing under the dash, it’s probably for a long-gone tape deck of some sort.

So, the real thing? I’d say so. The body and underside warrant a closer inspection and that blue engine is a head-scratcher. But four bidders and five bids aren’t deterred so they have a level of confidence in this car. We’ll have to watch what it takes for this one to change hands, right?


  1. Dan H

    Let the crazy bidding begin!

    Like 13
  2. Tenspeed

    The CB antenna tells me what the bracket and wiring were for. When I was in high school (early-mid 70’s), everybody had CB’s and interesting handles (names) too.

    Like 25
    • DW

      And some still have CB radios and handles though not as many.

      Like 5
      • Kman

        More of these truckers should go black to using the CB radio it would help to avoid all of these multi car and truck pile ups. Got your ears on, pile up on I90 in Chicago,

        Like 1
    • Mopar55

      Yup…had a new 1975 Jeep CJ-5 with a 304 and a 4 speed…My handle was “puddle jumper” Good times were had by all…LOL

      Like 4
  3. JWKJR


  4. Jerry Bramlett

    Looks like a neat car.

    I don’t understand what the seller is talking about title-wise, though: “Title work will be Processed thru the estates attorney once payment is secured turn around time within 48 hours.”

    If the seller has owned it about a year, he’s obviously not the one who put it in storage. Maybe it’s still in the name of the deceased previous owner and the seller wants to jump title just to avoid paying sales tax… I just dunno.

    Like 7
    • Todd J. Member

      The attorney is a class act: “As executor of the estate, I suggest we jump the title, it will save you some bucks.”

      Like 4
  5. George Mattar

    Tread lightly. Pretty crappy underneath for 21,000 miles even in bucket of road sakt Ohio. A friend at Penn State had a duplicate of this car in 1979, except with parchment interior. The quarters were rotted by then, at only 10 years old.

    Like 2
  6. Mike K

    The heads look to have the “bump” of square port heads, I like it. Yes get underneath of it, the humidity and road salt on Ohio roads has killed millions of cars.

  7. Cadmanls Member

    I am from the state and I have mentioned this before, spring and fall with the changes in tempature the car pulled the moisture out of the air and it will cause problems. Add that rust has begun I can bet the underside of this car is not healthy. One picture on the lift and part of the frame rail showing can’t quite get a good look on my phone. For someone to paint the block blue doesn’t make much sense either. Rattle can of Chevy orange isn’t expensive, so they used what was in a cabinet? I live in Fl now and if it’s the real deal it’s cool but maybe too many faults also. But I’m sure someone will snag it.

    Like 1
  8. David Cummings

    I’ll bet the engine was painted blue to match the color of the car. Back then it would not be a big deal, today, you wouldn’t think of doing that.

    Like 9
  9. James Cotton

    i like you just the way u are

  10. Idiot Boy

    That dreaded deleterious rust proclivity obfuscating yet another A-body’s mojo. Sigh…

    Like 3
  11. Idiot Boy

    Rusted out exhaust sounds GREAT. Wish you could get a Gardner exhaust to sound like this. Stainless is absolutely no fun. The interior is in remarkable shape and the unobtanium Hercules Wide Belt 70 fatties are spectacular! I would leave this car just like it is. Don’t mess with greatness.

    Like 1
  12. Andy Schab

    If you look closely you can tell the 840 heads are still on it.

    Like 1
  13. Mark

    These 375 hp Super Sports were strong runners. Very fun car to drive.

    Like 1
  14. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    SOLD for $42,278.78.

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