Live Auctions

BF AUCTION: 1970 Chevelle SS 396/4-Speed Convertible!

This Chevelle may look familiar. Hot Rod Magazine ran an article about it last spring and I thought it was pretty awesome then. Well, fast forward 5 months and Paul, the owner, has asked us to help him sell it. Paul just took a work transfer so his car plans have changed so he has decided that a Barn Finds auction may be the perfect way to find a new home for the car! Some have claimed that this is the coolest barn find discovered in recent years. Let’s take a look and find out why!

This Chevelle had been parked since 1990 when it was found. It was originally ordered by a female GM employee and she obviously had very good taste! Just look at that build sheet: 396 V8, close-ratio 4-speed, performance suspension, cowl-induction hood, bucket seats, Positraction… The list just goes on and on. Package all that in a convertible body and you have quite a machine. Production records indicate that only 1,100 L34 equipped SS396 convertibles were built. So, factor in the color and options and you have an exceptionally rare car!

The original carburetor is still sitting on top of the engine, but it runs surprisingly well. You can watch a video here of it humming along for proof. The 53k miles showing on the odometer is claimed to be correct and there’s apparently documentation to back that up. Paul had planned to completely restore this car, but the fact that it’s still so original probably made it hard to dig into. There’s plenty of rust that needs attention, but how often do you a find big block muscle car like this that hasn’t been messed with?

The interior is showing some wear and tear, but check out that dash pad! There’s not a single crack. The driver’s seat has seen better days though. As have the quarter panels and a few other areas on the body. The bottom of the doors look good as do the floors, but there’s still quite a bit of corrosion. The car lived in Detroit until 2017 and obviously it wasn’t stored in the best conditions. So, the next owner will have to decide if they want to restore or preserve. Paul has left the clutch and rear brakes alone so they can be inspected to verify the mileage.

This is a tough one. I absolutely love this car, but I’m not sure which route I’d take. Rust never sleeps so hopefully it goes to a dry climate where a decision can be made soon. Be sure to take a look at the photos below and the extended gallery here on flickr before bidding. Please post any questions you may have in the comments below too. We want to thank Paul for this opportunity to sell this car and hope that it goes to a good home. If any of you have something special like this that you’d like to sell, please consider auctioning it right here on Barn Finds!

P.S. We would love to hear about what becomes of this car. Hint, hint high-bidder!

Location: Portland, Oregon
Title Status: Clean
Mileage: 53,468

Bid On This Vehicle

High Bid: $15,100 (Reserve Not Met)
Make An Offer
Ended: Aug 20, 2017 7:05pm MDT
Top Bidder: Robert
Buyer Premium: 5%
    Robert bid $15,100.00Aug 20, 2017 4:14am
    Dereck bid $15,000.00Aug 20, 2017 3:33am
    Robert bid $14,000.00Aug 19, 2017 11:40pm
    Dereck bid $13,500.00Aug 19, 2017 11:18pm
    Robert bid $13,100.00Aug 19, 2017 9:36pm
    Dereck bid $13,000.00Aug 19, 2017 1:40am
    Dereck bid $12,800.00Aug 19, 2017 1:39am
    hubrick bid $12,700.00Aug 19, 2017 1:24am
    Heidi bid $12,600.00Aug 18, 2017 11:34pm
    Edmund bid $11,500.00Aug 18, 2017 9:20pm
    Matthew bid $11,100.00Aug 18, 2017 8:59pm
    Dereck bid $11,000.00Aug 18, 2017 6:00pm
    patrick bid $10,900.00Aug 18, 2017 4:34pm
    Herb bid $10,750.00Aug 18, 2017 2:40pm
    Dereck bid $10,500.00Aug 18, 2017 2:22pm
    Heidi bid $10,000.00Aug 18, 2017 12:50pm
    DEAN bid $7,320.00Aug 18, 2017 11:42am
    Ken bid $7,220.00Aug 18, 2017 11:31am
    Michael bid $7,119.70Aug 18, 2017 2:44am
    patrick bid $7,000.00Aug 18, 2017 2:05am
    Caldwellfort bid $6,688.00Aug 18, 2017 2:04am
    Michael bid $5,719.70Aug 18, 2017 1:57am
    patrick bid $5,600.00Aug 18, 2017 1:56am
    Dereck bid $3,600.00Aug 18, 2017 1:54am
    Randall bid $3,500.00Aug 18, 2017 1:28am
    Robert bid $3,200.00Aug 17, 2017 11:37pm
    James bid $3,100.00Aug 17, 2017 11:06pm
    Spencer bid $3,000.00Aug 17, 2017 10:57pm
    George bid $2,600.00Aug 17, 2017 10:53pm
    patrick bid $2,500.00Aug 17, 2017 10:33pm
    Steve bid $2,100.00Aug 17, 2017 10:10pm
    George bid $2,000.00Aug 17, 2017 10:00pm
    Greg bid $1,000.00Aug 17, 2017 9:49pm
    Herb bid $100.00Aug 17, 2017 9:29pm


  1. greg

    I wonder if Paul realized this thing was so rotted it’s beyond help.

    • Edmund

      I wonder if Randall realizes he bid $142,500 instead of $14,250.

  2. canon

    Looks like 153,000 miles to me. Must have been stored outside. No thanks

    • patrick

      i think by the pictures it has a lot more miles than 53,000 .i have a 1969 gto with 44,600 miles and looks like new under the hood . the gto was built to race around in . except mine its vary rare its called an economy version , 400 motor , 400 turbo trans, dull exhaust and posatraction . if you don’t know what makes it special it came from the factory with a two barrel carb they only made 920 and i don’t think alot if any are left. the first to go is the number matching carb for a four barrel. the older big blocks were built to pull heavy loads . not speed, i had 4 old big blocks as a kid ,396 and 454 chevys , they were just gas hogs. i also have a 1968 olds 442 , convertible all numbers matching , all motor parts numbers , block and trans match the title numbers , i am the second owner. i’m thinking of selling. over half done on rotisserie . have many new parts . just tired have the funds but not the will.

      • 87WE2 87WE2 Member

        Seriously Patrick is there a point, or question here? If you are you concerned about fuel economy, buy something else… The mileage statement is your opinion, not a fact.

        The motor doesn’t smoke, and there is no lifter noises. The important parts… like the radiator, carburetor, and/or brake booster don’t last 153K miles without wearing out.

        If you are you looking to sell your Pontiac project… then list it. Your car is not even in the same league with this.

        I don’t care how many miles, or owners this car has seen. When it’s restored nobody else will care either.

      • patrick

        well seams i hit a nerve. i take it its your car. its a fact they are gas hogs and parts were built better back in the day and last you cant say the motor or other parts wont need rebuilt maybe the motor has been rebuilt some time in its life but dont try to push it off as 53k cant be.if you read what i said i would never sell my Pontiac gto i was referring to the 442 they go for big bucks too. so calm down drink a beer . remember beauty is in the eye of the beholder. your car is in sad shape but will cost so much to bring it back. good luck it is past what i would pay for all that work. im thinking ill list my 442

      • 87WE2 87WE2 Member

        The only nerve you hit on is my intolerance for ignorance… but for anyone else who wants to know, I have the (signed) bill of sale from the original owner who states the 53K miles is ACTUAL.

        Besides, I really don’t care what your opinion of the car’s condition is… the fact remains you are NEVER going to own It.

        Like 1
  3. Jesse Mortensen Jesse Mortensen Staff

    The rot is a bummer, but this is a valuable car and definitely worth saving. Hagerty lists a #4 4-speed at over $80k. Whoa! Fully restored it’s a mid six figure car, so even if you paid $50k for it, you could still come out ahead after the restoration.

    • patrick

      even if you paid 50k it will cost another 30k to restore it so all for nothing .

      • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Mortensen Staff

        Well, hopefully you could make it nicer than a #4 for $30k.

    • Rodney Corriveau

      30k wouldn’t touch the price on a resto of a car like this….. MAYBE if you did all the labor yourself.

      • patrick

        yes i was thinking of doing it my self for 30 k even a decent top is over 2k. they dont show the top bows hope they are good.

    • patrick

      hagerty puts the value up to sell higher insurance values like they do with diamonds . Even tho they are out there hard to find buyers with 80k to invest or can even barrow.

  4. txchief

    Way too much rust to be a survivor. I bet it needs full floors, inner rockers and probably frame rails repairs, at least.

  5. Jesse Mortensen Jesse Mortensen Staff

    What’s with all the negativity here today? This is a special car and we see much worse get restored all the time. We didn’t cherry coat anything in our presention and the seller isn’t trying to get restored value for it. Paul was nice enough to list the car here so let’s at least be respectful when pointing things out. Thanks guys!

    • 87WE2 87WE2 Member

      Thank you Jesse..
      The trunk pan and quarters are shot… it is a convertible. The floors do not need complete replacements; the driver front will need a patch (see pics). The front fenders both need a patch. The hood and trunk are good. The passenger door is solid, driver side needs a patch, however the bottoms of both doors are clean, and neither sag. The rockers and frame are perfect (see pics)

      This car has none of the usual salt rust damage found on cars from the same area. I would love to see some of the restored Chevelles (before restoration), they probably looked similar.

    • Tony

      I have a 72′ Chevelle, SS, Convertible, 4spd., big block, orig. owner, full documentation, protecto plate, build sheet, under 35k.miles.

      • patrick


    • Mountainwoodie

      It’s definitely a well optioned car and in my opinion certainly worth saving though it will no longer be original. But that I think Is a lesser problem than the creeping deterioration of so much of the sheet metal. The trunk is gnarly.

      If I had unlimited funds I would take it on…in the end you can’t beat a big block ‘vert with a 4 on the floor……….and someday soon it will be worth an even prettier penny! They aren’t making anymore of them……and even millennials and those that follow will be seduced by the same thing that seduced their folks and grandparents…………..speed and wind in their balding pates! :)

  6. gaspumpchas.

    Yes Jesse,correct…too much negativity—lets keep it fun and objective,Your comments are welcome but lets not ruin it…keep it upbeat. My $.02 worth.

    • Brian Crowe

      Why didn’t you just hit the  ¢ key? 2¢ lol

      • Michael

        I don’t know about gaspumpchas but my laptop keyboard doesn’t have a cent key. Smartphones might have a cent key.

      • Brian Crowe

        I was just joking. Hold down Alt and hit 1 5 5 on right side number pad and release Alt.

  7. Elrod

    Wow. There aren’t any cherry survivors of this rarity left. If you want in the game these days – this is the level of vehicle that is left. I think its DEFINITELY worthy of a complete frame off restoration. No rookies or dreamers need apply – this an experienced builder only job. When completed, it would make a profit if that is your goal. This one would be a labor of love and a keeper in my book. In its present state – its really hard to value.. I would think no more than 7k. Good luck to all. Oh – and the first thing I would do is remove that trailer hitch and hang it on my garage wall as a reminder of where I started at…

    • Michael

      I can assure you, it’ll bring far more than $7k! It’s already up to $7k with 6 days, 18 hours left in the auction.

      • Elrod

        Right you are! Looks like others think they can save this former beauty :)

    • nessy

      Guys, you can not buy cars like this anymore for 7k or even 10k. Those days are done. Rusty or not, this is a wanted car by many. I don’t think it’s junk at all and it may bid over 15k maybe 20ish. Every panel for this car is available and at a reasonable cost. If this is the real deal, 20k would be a good buy.

      • Vanessa Wright

        In the UK, we have taken all of our heritage metal for granted for years… Only to realise what a rich heritage we have sent to the bin so wrongly.

        I can see it in the USA….. You never knew what you had, until it had gone.

  8. RoughDiamond Member

    I’m a bit of an odd duck. I would buy this Chevelle as is, keep it as is and enjoy it as is parked in a garage. I would just sit behind the wheel with my left hand at top center and my right hand on the shifter knob going through the gears and just dreaming of all the possibilities.

  9. Chebby

    It looks mean as-is. Fix any structural weaknesses from the rust, put in a new interior, and drive the hell out of it.

    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Mortensen Staff

      Chebby might have a better plan. The restoration would be expensive, as everyone has pointed out multiple times, so why not just clean it up and drive it? The trunk and floors could be fixed without touching the outside and it wouldn’t take much to go through mechanicals. The value would go up after it’s driveable, but you wouldn’t have a ton invested. Just keep that rust from spreading and have some fun!

  10. Paul

    This is the best barn find I have ever seen, well worth restoring…. numbers matching big block convertible……as good as it gets!!

  11. Clinton

    I know the car lived in Detroit but is that where it still is? Auctions should show location of the car pretty clearly somewhere in the title or heading of auctions.

    • Josh Mortensen Staff

      Hi Clinton,
      It’s currently located in Portland, Oregon. We put the seller/car’s location below the image gallery in every auction. The car’s mileage and title status are also in the same area with it.

    • Clinton

      Nevermind just missed it.

  12. Rustytech Member

    I don’t know about mid $100’s, but this is definitely a valuable car. I could see this easily hitting $105 to $115k restored. If I were 20 years younger I’d go for it.

  13. Rodney Corriveau

    Some people watch too much Jackson-Barrett.

  14. Jerry Brentnell

    the thing to do with this car is buy a after market ragtop body which is being produced and strip the rust bucket of every thing and end up with a nice car! but that depends how bad you want to do it and have deep pockets

  15. charlie Member

    I had a 68 wagon, with heavy duty everything and it handled incredibly well, so this one, with sport suspension, would be a joy to drive, as long as fourth was high enough for highway speeds You could always put in an economy real axel, which I did, and it cruised at relatively low rpm while really pulling in 1st to get the horse trailer with two horses off the line.

  16. JohnD

    Wonderful presentation, and a true ‘Barn Find’. Isn’t that what we’re all here for? Did I miss something?

  17. john

    I try to stay positive on these sites and maintain my faith in fellow car people, but really? Quoting a resto price of 30k or 30k if you do the labor is crazy and seems to lend to some type of sales strategy here. From what the naked eye can see, this car, once opened up would be on the high side of 80k to fully restore in hopes of getting what, 100k? I have restored many cars in better condition than this one, and at the end broke even or made less than 10k. To get the big bucks you have to go all the way, and if you are not a well known resto shop, the gavel always stops short… Sorry guys, nice car that I hope gets restored, but to think the big bucks are here would be putting the cart before the horse. Maybe if Jay Leno buys it and has it restored on a TV show we might be told it sold for 125k finished. Just sayin..

  18. HeadMaster1

    Nice Bid Randall, with the buyers premium you just spent $150k on a rusty Chevy. I’ve got some ocean front land in AZ I’d lot to talk to you about….

  19. john

    Its Apparent that Randall fat fingered the keyboard, I don’t think his intentions was to bid $142,500 but rather $14,250. Anyone with a little common sense can see that.

  20. Brad

    I think it was meant to be $14,250 …. Now what happens?

  21. Dereck

    Well…… That got high quickly. Lol. Hope they can fix that bid or this auction is over.

  22. Jesse Mortensen Jesse Mortensen Staff

    One too many zeros Randall! That last bid has been removed.

  23. 87WE2 87WE2 Member

    I’ve received a lot of good questions, and some off the wall statements concerning the Chevelle. What’s important (to a restorer) is how complete this car is. Good luck searching for the date correct factory parts.

    Items like the starter, distributor, carburetor, alternator, brake booster, all the glass… the motor/transmission, and POSI rear (everything) is original to the car. The radiator still has the original fill tanks, and the original date coded AO wheels are still on the car.

    Yes there is rusty sheet metal. The quarters, and trunk pan obviously shot, but the car does NOT need new floors, doors, fenders, hood or trunk replaced. The rockers are perfect and the frame is perfect.

    The undercarriage shows NONE of the scaling salt rust normally found on Midwest cars. Everything works as it should (even the cowl induction hood flapper).

    Being stored for 27+ years did nothing to help the car’s overall condition… however it may have prevented the parts from being molested.

    The original parts/documentation, current one owner status, and that it was featured by Hot Rod Magazine make this Chevelle a great candidate for a restoration. If it doesn’t sell I will eventually restore it. Whatever happens… the car is not going down in value.

    Like 2
  24. BMW4RunninTundra

    I have been considering putting one of my vehicles on BF to sell. I’m not in need of selling it, just looking to get it into a home that will use it. Not “Garage Queen” it like I have!!!! BUT, I keep asking myself “Do I REALLY want to open myself up to all the negativity that gets spewed, by some, on virtually every car that comes across here!!!!! Whether it’s BF sale or an internet sale! It seems that BF readers are much harder on their own “brethren” when they offer BF readers the “inside scoop” first dibs”, on almost always interesting and some down right historic vehicles?!?!
    Sorry, just my 1/2¢ on needless “infighting”! There is enough of that outside this screen!!!

    Like 1
    • 87WE2 87WE2 Member

      I agree with you completely. This auction is over…. Jesse cancel it.

      Like 1
  25. Jesse Mortensen Jesse Mortensen Staff

    The auction has been cancelled. I’m very sorry Paul. This is disappointing guys! I disconnect for one day and the negative comments spiral out of control. We don’t want to censor anyone, but for some reason many of you turn into jerks when you’re online. I know it’s acceptable on your favorite news site, but it’s not ok here. I’m closing all commenting until we figure out what to do about this. This reflects badly on all of us!


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