4-Speed Driver: 1969 Chevrolet Chevelle SS 396

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The Chevelle SS 396 has achieved legendary status in the muscle car world, with spotless examples commanding attention and spirited bidding when they hit the market. This SS isn’t 100% original, but that hasn’t prevented it from raising interest since the seller listed it here on eBay in Staunton, Illinois. Thirty-seven bids have pushed the price to $17,215, although I suspect that figure is well short of the reserve. With plenty of time remaining on the auction, there’s an opportunity for our readers to stake their claim on this beauty.

This Chevelle makes a positive first impression, with its Fathom Green paint shining beautifully and showing no signs of significant flaws. The seller confirms it rolled off the line with a vinyl top, but a previous owner removed it and painted the roof to match the rest of the car. It may be that they chose that path due to rust, and there is evidence that may support that view. While the panels and underside are clean, there is visible corrosion around the tops of the door frames, which needs addressing before it deteriorates further. The door seals are dried and split, which could exacerbate the problem. The trim and wheels look excellent, and the tinted glass is flawless. This Chevelle shows early promise if an in-person inspection confirms the corrosion is limited to around the door frames.

The mystery of this Chevelle deepens when we lift the hood. It features a 396ci V8, a four-speed manual transmission, power steering, and power brakes. It is unclear whether the car is numbers-matching, and the seller doesn’t specify which version of the big-block this is. However, the air cleaner decal and intake point towards it being the L78 version that produced 375hp in its prime. If that is true, this SS should storm the ¼-mile in 14.1 seconds. The L78 was not a cheap proposition, adding $252.80 to the sticker price of the SS. However, that didn’t deter the 9,486 people from ticking the box on the order form to experience this motor’s impressive acceleration. The engine wears aftermarket headers, but I can’t spot any other additions. Although the seller doesn’t specifically state it, the listing suggests the Chevelle is a turnkey classic. They supply this YouTube video of the 396 running, and I can’t see or hear any problems.

The Chevelle’s interior is a mixed bag, featuring newer seatcovers and carpet. The dash and pad look good, but plenty of shortcomings require attention if it is to present at its best. Some plastic pieces, like the armrests and kick panels, exhibit significant deterioration, with the headliner split and damaged. The lower door trims have issues, while the gauge lenses are pretty cloudy. None of the problems will cost a vast sum to address, and the successful bidder could tackle them in a home workshop. There is still time remaining before summer hits to tackle those tasks, meaning the buyer could have the interior sparkling like a new penny by the time the sun reveals itself.

This 1969 Chevelle SS 396 offers potential buyers a few contradictions, which may help explain why the current bidding amount is modest despite the relatively intense action. The visible corrosion around the upper door frames, interior imperfections, and crumbling seals require money to address, but the car would redeem itself if the engine is numbers-matching. If that is the case, recent sales results suggest bidding should threaten $50,000 before the hammer falls. Are those thoughts enough to tempt you to pursue it further, or would you prefer to let this one go?

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. angliagt angliagtMember

    So,is everyone selling their Chevelles now?

    Like 3
  2. Fahrvergnugen FahrvergnugenMember

    BAM (Bring a Magnet).

    Like 6
  3. Burke

    Due to the high cost of a restoration, no build sheet or Protecto Plate this is no deal unless you want to maintain a driver in #4 condition.

    Like 1
    • Glen


      No Build Sheet?

      No Protect-O-Plate?

      No thanks.

      Like 1
  4. Maggy

    I’d just cruise it as it is.69 was my favorite year for the Chevelle.Nice car from what I can see but definitely would inspect 1st.

    Like 4
    • RtdreepMember

      My first car was a ’72 VW Bug, whose engine broke without much fanfare on an interstate in Iowa in 1981. I sold it to a VW mechanic for $475. With cash but no wheels, I didn’t know what my next move would be. My brother-in-law at the time said that if I helped him get his car back up and running, I could drive it for the summer: 1969 Chevelle SS, 396/375HP, nearly the same color as this one. All I can say is, that was one fun summer full of new experiences. . .like breathtaking acceleration. Passing people going uphill. A clutch so strong my left thigh was twice as strong as my right. Cruising at 80MPH so loud inside the car that the Chuck Berry 8-track was practically inaudible at full volume. The dashboard shook at 70MPH in a way that made me wonder if it just might fall off in my lap. The broken gas gauge! That certainly made life interesting. But I loved nearly every minute of that experience!

      Like 8
  5. Fred Wilharm

    I recognize the location as a HUGE classic car dealer in that area, Country Classic Cars. Based on the quick look I took one time, they are known for quantity, not quality. This car is on their website for $39,500. Their popular vehicles, like this one, are priced accordingly- but their less popular ones, like orphans and 72 and up, can be real bargains. There are typically several hundred in inventory.

    Like 5
  6. James

    On principal alone I wouldn’t buy from this dealer. If you can’t spend a few hours properly cleaning a rare car for sale then I have no confidence in anything else you do. Pathetic.

    Like 10
  7. PRA4SNW

    A dealer ad being purposely vague about what is for sale is a big red light.

    Like 3
  8. Pugsy

    The body and paint work are horrendous.

    Like 1
  9. Jerry Rodriguez

    Definitely stay away from Country Classics!!! They sold me a grand wagoneer with a bad title

    Like 2
  10. B Wallace

    My how times have changed I was at a Mecum Auction about 10 years ago and a very nice 396 4spd with nothing to fault came across the block and sold for 13K. Even then I thought the new owner got a pretty good deal.

    Like 0
  11. Reid Hall

    Sounds alittle high 🤔, in price, looks like a part,of the air/filter assembly, bottom,and or filter element,is incorrect,no telling what else,so no documentation, 25-35k,kinda high, also 🤔, possibly a rust,belt,car, l know that it doesn’t look like that 🤔, but maybe it’s not as good as,it seems.

    Like 0

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