396/4-Speed: 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS 396

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There is something undeniably sad about seeing a classic and desirable muscle car reduced to a rusting hulk. This is particularly true when the car is a 1970 Chevelle SS 396. It is a vehicle that, even in its most conservative form, offered performance that would stand up well in modern company. However, there may be a ray of light for this SS, as it has generated significant interest since the seller listed it here on eBay in Cudahy, Wisconsin. The bidding has raced to $11,655, with time remaining for the right person to stake their claim and drag it back from the brink.

Although Chevrolet only introduced the Second Generation Chevelle in 1968, a major 1970 restyle gave the car a fresh and clean appearance. This Chevelle benefitted from those changes and must have been a striking car in its prime. Time has taken its toll, with rust and corrosion peeking through its Autumn Gold paint on almost every panel. That is the tip of the iceberg because the rot continues when we venture below the surface. The seller indicates the trunk pan is junk, and there is significant rust in the rear rails. The floors aren’t quite as bad, although it is unclear whether they are salvageable. Every panel has problems, but the cowl induction hood looks okay. If the new owner plans a high-end restoration, they will face a nut-and-bolt process involving significant cutting and welding. Some trim pieces and the glass could be okay, although items like the bumpers will probably require a trip to the platers. However, the end product could be worth the effort if someone is prepared to put in the hard yards.

Lifting the hood reveals a ray of hope in the gloom and doom that is this Chevelle’s story. The engine bay houses the numbers-matching “396” V8 that had received a capacity increase to 402ci in 1970. It sent 350hp to the rear wheels via a four-speed manual transmission, making this a genuinely fast car in its prime. It would have demolished the ¼ mile in 14.6 seconds, with the big-block eventually running out of breath with the needle nudging 132mph. There are plenty of faster cars available in the current market, but you have to question whether any have the sheer presence of this SS. While it retains its original drivetrain, the state of the components is unclear. The listing suggests it hasn’t fired a shot since the 1980s, and the significant visible corrosion makes me wonder how things look inside that glorious V8. It would be realistic to factor a complete mechanical rebuild into the restoration costs because shortcutting this aspect of the build could lead to a future disaster.

Considering the condition of the rest of this classic, this Chevelle’s interior is a pleasant surprise. I’m not getting too excited because the seller indicates it features the smells you would expect from a barn find parked for more than thirty years. That suggests there may be some rodent damage, which is a distinctive scent that is hard to shift. Since a total retrim is on the cards, it is not the end of the world. The interior is complete, and apart from what appears to be an 8-track player hanging under the dash, it is unmolested. I agree with the seller’s assessment that the dash and pad look good, with the car retaining its factory tachometer and AM radio. It seems that whipping this interior into shape could be the cheapest part of the build.

The sheer quantity of rust and corrosion present in this 1970 Chevelle SS 396 means its new owner faces many hours of hard work to return it to its former glory. Some people might label it a lost cause, but it has generated plenty of interest since hitting the market. Thirteen people have submitted thirty-seven bids, suggesting they see the potential locked away in this classic. Would you be tempted to join the party, or is this restoration more than you would willingly tackle?

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. 19sixty5Member

    Monster project for sure. I’m surprised to see the original Muncie shifter present. I’m also surprised that the seller hans not mentioned if you could turn the engine over by hand, assume the worst!

    Like 6
  2. angliagt angliagtMember

    Buy it,& you’ll be as underwater as this car looks like it was.

    Like 22
  3. bobhess bobhessMember

    Lots of money, lots of time, and lots of talent to reincarnate this one.

    Like 15
  4. Kenneth L Harlan

    Why do folks let this happen?

    Like 0
  5. Jeff

    Could you imagine driving this car out of the Chevrolet dealership brand new?

    Like 0
  6. Big Bear 🇺🇸

    What a shame. Beautiful Chevelle SS .. it was put to the side and forgotten about! Very sad. I could picture this car and all its Glory was beautiful at one time. What is really amazing everything’s is still intact and I believe that 60,000 miles is true. But when you start taking it apart and start sandblasting…things are going to start disappearing or when you dip into the tank you’re not going to have much left. But there are companies that makes complete body parts sheet metal frames everything for these cars. You have to think is it worth spending all that money and about the return it you would get if you decide to sell it down the road. And right now the it is over $12,000 for this.. 🐻🇺🇸

    Like 4
  7. ACZ

    Wisconsin rust bucket but, at least all the parts are available in the aftermarket.

    Like 1
  8. Steve P.

    136 in vin code I thought super sports were 138

    Like 0
    • 19sixty5Member

      Through 1968 only.

      Like 0
  9. steve

    I’m still looking for that “ray of hope” in the engine bay. I sure don’t see it.

    Like 1
  10. Robert White

    This numbers matching 70 Chevelle SS 12 Bolt Pozi 396 cid with buckets & tack n’ Hurst shifter is not a parts car and I’d grab it pronto if I had the bucks
    n’ bank account to match.

    This is an easy restoration and it only needs to be disassembled and sand blasted and place on a rotissery for welding.

    40 bidders and it’s up to $12k with 22 hours left on the auction.

    I’d say that the comments on BF are ill advised, frankly.

    Moreover, I could restore this car complete within two months easy.


    Like 3
    • 19sixty5Member

      Easy restoration? Two months? Right…

      Like 8
      • Robert White

        8 hours to disassemble entire car in one day.
        8 hours of sandblasting for day 2.

        Day 3 disassembled body goes on rotisserie and welding starts.

        Welding new quarters trunk pan and floor pans is only 40 hours of welding tops.

        Once the body is welded up it’s only another 40 hours of bodywork and front clip alignment and door alignment before one applies high build primer for the finishing stage which wouldn’t take more than another 50 hours tops.

        Drivetrain obviously needs to be sent out for a rebuild and I’d let the engine rebuild shop deal with the original engine whether pistons are stuck or not.

        The transmission could probably use a rebuild too.

        Installing the engine and transmission only take a morning.

        That’s all under two months time.

        Carpets would be new. Bucket seats sent out to upholstery shop. Headliner steam cleaned by upholstery shop too.

        All the gages and instrumentation is easily polished up in a few hours time.

        Yep, two months.


        Like 3
      • bone

        It would take two months just to drill out all the bolts broken off during the disassembly

        Like 4
    • Craig Baloga Craig Baloga

      Bob, I agree with you…and this Chevelle is getting to the “tipping point” where it will be relegated to a parts/donor car……it’s that close…..sad. 😢

      Bidding on EBay sits at $12,100 and 40 bids….good interest, which is great to see.

      This one must be saved and brought back…these cars with the more unique colors, rare/strange combinations of RPO options, etc, will allow those of us without a thick check book to enjoy these classics, at more reasonable prices, and save us from the “Barrett-Jacksonising” of our great hobby.

      It’s not a 1970 Chevelle LS6 454 convertible 4 speed in black with white rally stripes, with 456 miles….it doesn’t need to be, it’s restoring the memories, and having the chance for us to re-live them…..that’s what it’s all about.

      Best wishes to the new owner/restorer of one of the best! 👍🤓

      Like 4
      • Robert White

        Exactly, Craig.

        The resoration is all the fun if one knows what one is doing.


        Like 4
    • Johan


      Like 1
  11. John R

    Bob is that what you do for a living? If so, are you in Florida?

    Like 2
    • Robert White

      I’m in Ottawa Canada. And I’ve done restorations before and have done bodywork on all my vehicles over my lifetime. I’m now over 60 and I sold my MIG welder seven years ago.

      Today I’m just a researcher schooled in Experimental Psychology/Social Sciences.

      If I was in Florida I’d take you up on the perceived offer. I take it that you can afford the car and realize I’m right about restoring this classic numbers matching beauty.


      Like 3
  12. DON

    Some 307 Chevelle is going to be a SS 396 soon ; the bidders are buying that vin and body tag , and hoping that engine is rebuildable – It was parked for a reason , and it sure looks like it wasn’t taken car of before or during its time stored .

    Like 1
  13. PRA4SNW

    SOLD for $13,700.

    After all the big bucks these cars are going for at the auctions, this could be restored and money made.

    Like 1
  14. Rex B Schaefer

    What a “roach”!

    Like 0
  15. Tooyoung4heyday Tooyoung4heydayMember

    Good base with everything present. Like stated above if you have the knowhow it saves a lot of money. Not every car that gets restored needs to go to a shop to get done. Some of us still know how to do things ourselves. And on that note, I reiterate the age old comment of….not all of us are worried about the resale value. For someone who wants a car like this and has the knowhow, its a good buy. It deserves to be saved.

    Like 0

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