454/4-Speed: 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS 454

When Chevrolet shoehorned a big-block V8 under the hood of the Chevelle in 1965, they created one of the world’s great muscle cars. When they upped the ante with the 454 in 1970, that only served to reinforce this belief. Our feature car is a genuine 1970 SS 454, and it appears that it represents a straightforward restoration project. With good looks and stunning performance, it is a car that should satisfy the most hardened performance enthusiast. Located in Gallatin Gateway, Montana, you will find the Chevelle listed for sale here on eBay. The best way to describe the bidding to date is frantic because an incredible sixty-four bids have pushed the price beyond the reserve to $40,000. With plenty of time left on this auction, that leaves scope for that figure to climb significantly if two or more people feel that the Chevelle is a “must-have” for their workshop.

There’s a lot to like about this Mulsanne Blue SS, not the least of which is its lack of significant rust problems. Most of the known trouble spots like the lower rear quarter panels and rockers appear to be clean. Externally, issues seem to be confined to repairable spots in both lower front fenders, plus some that are just poking their head out around the back window. When we check below deck, the floors and frame have a coating of surface corrosion, but there is no evidence of penetrating rust in either these areas or the trunk pan. The body is generally pretty straight, with only a few minor and easily repaired dings and marks. The paint has seen better days, and I suspect that the buyer will address this when tackling the rust. However, with the rust problems seeming so minor, the buyer might choose to spend some miles behind the wheel before they tackle any restoration work.

When we lift the hood of this Chevelle, we reach the beating heart that defines this classic. We find that the original owner equipped the SS with a 454ci V8, a 4-speed manual transmission, a Posi rear end, power steering, and power brakes. With that big block churning out 360hp, there was no arguing that this would be a fast car. If the owner points it at a ¼ mile, the journey should be over in 14.4 seconds. If they’re willing to keep the pedal to the metal, this mighty Chevy should run out of breath somewhere around 137mph. Those numbers look pretty respectable today, but they commanded plenty of respect when this beast was shiny and new. The owner claims that the engine block is numbers-matching, but the remaining engine components and drivetrain status is unclear. He says that the car starts, runs, and drives, although he doesn’t indicate how well it performs any of those tasks. The generally tidy state of the engine bay gives us some cause to be quietly optimistic, but these things are never set in stone with classics of this age. It appears that the owner is approachable, so he may be willing to answer further questions on the car’s numbers-matching status and mechanical health.

The Chevelle’s interior is a pleasant surprise because not only does it present well, but lifting it to the next level should not be difficult. It looks like the seats wear newer covers and that the carpet is relatively fresh. The dash and console look good, while there are no significant problems with the remaining upholstered surfaces. The dash features a factory tach, and the lenses all look clear and crisp. The shopping list looks like it could be confined to $350 for a replacement dash pad, $260 for a wheel to replace the cracked original, and around $170 for a new headliner. The original owner ordered the SS with an AM radio/tape player, but I can’t tell whether this is missing. I performed a brief search and found a genuine tested unit for under $500, so that is worth considering if the original has gone walkies.

The Chevrolet Chevelle SS remains a consistently strong performer in the classics market, and pristine examples can command extraordinary prices. This car cost its original owner $4,392, but today, it could easily command $75,000 if restored to a pristine state. It seems to represent a straightforward project build, and those factors combine to make this SS 454 worthy of a closer look.


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  1. Phil

    I would like to buy it as is. How much?

    Like 2
  2. Clement

    A great car but very weak on info/details for $40k.

    Like 5
  3. JoeNYWF64

    Odd these good looking sport wheels were not avail on Corvette, much less magnum 500 type chrome ones.

  4. chuck

    Lots of people like these in red, but this blue gets my vote. Nice car that appears to have been cared for all its life.

    Like 8
  5. RoughDiamond RoughDiamond Member

    This is certainly a desirable 1970 LS5 Chevelle “SS.” Did anyone else catch this “will mail title upon payment in full.” I cannot imagine paying this kind of money without personally inspecting it or paying for a PPI.

    Like 7
  6. Troy s

    And…..we’re off and runnin’! LS 5 454 powered beast that has that muscular vibe, in something besides red with black stripes, the blue looks good. The wheels are so cool there is no point in aftermarket stuff, plus you get to shift gears manually and listen to all that gear noise. You know, between the rumbling 454 and other mechanical noise a radio seems, well,,, not important! Great ride indeed.

    Like 4
  7. Hank

    I was in Gallatin last week, darn

  8. AJH

    No stripes. Original SS in 70 all had stripes standard. Where did they go?

    Like 1
    • Ken

      I had a 70 SS396 and the build sheet said ” hood stripe delete”. . It was solid black with a black interior.

    • Rainer

      Stripes were part of the ZL2 cowl induction option. Not all SS cars were ordered with cowl induction, so that meant they did not receive stripes as well.

  9. Miminite

    I had a ’70 Chevelle SS with a 402/375 hp and 4 sp back in the day when they were just used cars. I think I paid $1500 for it. My 2nd favorite Chevelle bodystyle – first being ’66/67. Great fun and it would do smokey burnouts for a long long time!

    Like 2
  10. Al Aamodt

    Agree nice car, but the SS stripes were not standard. I had one–ordered it. They may have been standard with the “flapper” in the hood. Mine didn’t have the flapper and it looks like this one doesn’t either…

    Like 1
    • Miminite

      My ’70 SS that I bought used in ~’77 or so did not have the flapper air intake, so that must have been an option. Not an expert in these, but do remember that about it.

  11. Utes

    This is HARDLY Mulsanne Blue! It’s code 28, Fathom Blue.

    Like 1
  12. Ken

    I had a 70 SS396 and the build sheet said ” hood stripe delete”. . It was solid black with a black interior.

    Like 1
  13. Jack Member

    AJH, the stripes were an option on the SS Chevelles in 1970. It seems like most had them, but some of us didn’t want them and preferred the looks without them. This car might have been ordered from the factory like mine.

    Like 1
  14. Jack Member

    The RPO Z25(SS396) and RPOZ15(SS454) both came with he same base equipment except the engines. Both of these SS packages had what was called special domed hoods. You could order the D88 hood and deck stripes option on any Malibu sport coupe in 1970. The ZL2 cowl induction hood package came with the D88 stripes Option and you could order a car and have the stripes deleted on request. The ZL2 cowl induction option package did come with hood pins, but they were not standard on the regular domed hoods of the SS396s and SS454s.

    Below are articles in “Chevelle Stuff 1970” about Cowl Induction hoods and stripes that might explain this in more detail:

    ZL2 Cowl Induction Hood

    This brings us to RPO ZL2, the cowl induction hood option. D88 Hood & Deck Stripes were part of this option package. Therefore the stripes could be deleted on request, and often times were. The second part of the ZL2 cowl induction hood package were the hood pins. Contrary to other reports, hood pins were only standard with the ZL2 option package; hood pins did not come standard on the SS domed hoods and did not carry a separate RPO number that would make them available to other 1970 Chevelles. They could easily be purchased over the counter from Chevrolet or in the aftermarket and added by the owner. I went to a Chevrolet dealer in the early 70s and purchased a pair to install on my 1967 SS396 rather than buy some aftermarket kits.
    This is the same domed hood when RPO D88 Hood & Deck stripes were ordered. Yes, the stripes were an option on both SS396 and SS454 Chevelles. Since this is not the ZL2 Cowl Induction hood, these stripes were optional, there is no such thing as ‘stripe delete’ on a standard, SS396 or SS454 domed hood.
    When RPO ZL2 was checked the standard domed hood was replaced with a cowl induction hood that has a vacuum controlled ‘flapper’ that would open when the engine was under throttle. Part of the ZL2 option was the D88 Hood & Deck stripes. These could be deleted when ordering the ZL2 at the buyer’s request, unlike the mistaken notion they could be deleted from the special domed hood when they were an option on the domed hood (and the standard Malibu hood as well).

    Like 2
    • Miminite

      Great information, thanks for contributing.

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