454/4-Speed: 1969 Chevrolet Chevelle

There’s no doubt that automotive developments like fuel injection and electronic witchcraft allow modern cars to deliver more power per cubic inch than in decades past. They achieve that feat while producing less harmful emissions and cocooning their occupants in splendid isolation. That’s nice, but it can result in a pretty unengaging driving experience for genuine enthusiasts. Cars like this 1969 Chevelle are a different matter. They are loud, brash, brutal, and owe little to the art of subtlety. It is especially true when their engine bay houses a firebreathing big-block V8. If that sounds like a recipe too tempting to ignore, you will find the Chevelle for sale here on Craigslist in Santa Clarita, California. If you hand the seller $45,900, you can drive away in this spotless classic. They indicate that they may entertain offers or trades for the right vehicle. I must thank Barn Finder Pat L for referring this beauty to us.

While it wears all of the badges suggesting it is a genuine SS, the seller makes no such claims with this classic. Therefore, I have elected to treat this as a clone for the purpose of this article. It presents impressively in LeMans Blue, and while the seller admits to a couple of minor paint flaws the buyer may choose to address, the first impression is positive. The depth of color and shine is hard to fault, with no patchiness or matte sections. The panels are as straight as you could hope to find, while rust is not a consideration. The car appears to have spent most of its life in its current location, with the seller emphasizing its rust-free status. The chrome and glass are excellent, and I can’t spot anything this Chevelle requires in the supplied photos.

It isn’t clear what engine this Chevelle featured when it rolled off the line, but that’s pretty irrelevant now. Its engine bay houses a 454ci V8 backed by a four-speed manual transmission. The car also features power steering and power front disc brakes, which are welcome in a vehicle with the performance potential on offer. We know the car isn’t numbers-matching because the 454 didn’t appear until the following model year. The specifications of the big-block are unknown, but if the sticker on the air cleaner is accurate, the driver will have 450hp under their right foot. That means an easy sub-14-second ¼-mile ET will be there for the taking. The seller provides no information on how the car runs or drives, but if physical appearance is an accurate guide, the news should be positive.

The impressive presentation continues when we examine this Chevelle’s interior. I suspect the black vinyl seat upholstery may be original because the driver’s seat shows the shine that comes from years of use. However, there are no apparent rips or tears, while the carpet, dash, and pad look spotless. The wheel is crack-free, and none of the plastic shows signs of UV deterioration. The dash features a factory tachometer and a retro-style stereo. I would rate the overall condition as excellent driver quality, appealing to all but the total perfectionist.

If you yearn to own a numbers-matching 1969 Chevelle SS, our feature car probably isn’t the one for you. However, if total originality is less of a concern and a classic possessing brutal performance is what you desire, this could be your perfect choice. It is a turnkey proposition that will command respect wherever it goes. It is not a cheap alternative, but its condition suggests the buyer won’t need to spend a dime beyond the purchase price. You could head out into the current market and buy a Chevelle project car, but recreating a clone of this Chevelle would also cost plenty. Why put yourself through the stress and trauma when the work is already complete? Maybe your heart is set on a project build, which I would understand and respect. If it isn’t, would you consider pursuing this one?

Comments

  1. Michelle Rand Staff

    If this is what you want, there’s no way you could re-create this car for this money. That’s going to become ever more apparent as prices for restoration and parts rise. Beautiful car.

    Like 8
  2. jeff

    The new owner of this Chevelle SS will not care if it’s a 454 or period correct 396. Manuel with possibly a 12bolt out back will be just pure fun. The 46k is a little steep but the car is sight unseen “good to go”. It won’t be long before the ’69 in this shape is gone or spoke for. The 70’s body style will be around for a long time with just about every collector having one, some with the LS6. Having missed an opportunity for a ’70 vette with the LS6 pulled me away from the Chevelles, just sit in that vette!

    Like 1
  3. BajaPFE

    Given the 6K red line on the tach it may very well have originally been an L78. Even with that block missing it makes it more valuable as it could be restored as one with much of the hard work already done.

    Like 1
  4. V12MECH

    I really like this car, on the CL add , the rear end is tilted, camera angle or air shock leaking? Would like pix of drivers side without door open, odd . However upon inspection and road test, even with the California price, I know it is hard to believe a nice clean Chevelle hot rod is $ 40 K territory, this is not an investment car, buy, enjoy and drive.

    Like 1
  5. Mark

    I would take an 1970 L-78 SS396 chevelle over the Less rare LS6 454. Love the Solid Lifter Motors. Just Sayn’

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