Best Barn Find Ever? 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle

After appearing on the cover of the November 2016 Car Craft, this 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS 396 barn find has been listed for sale here on eBay. It was apparently called “The Most Amazing 1970 Chevelle SS396 Barn Find Ever” according to the seller, and while I’m not too sure about that, the car is certainly interesting. It’s located in Phoenix, Arizona.

As you can see, the seller wasn’t kidding – it was on the cover of the magazine. Apparently this car languished in a storage lot in California for many, many years. Why someone would let a car like this sit is beyond me, but I’m glad someone rescued it!

The car looks very sun-baked, but it is possible that this is what’s left of the original Cortez Silver paint. You can see some corrosion beyond the surface as well in spots. I love the bias-ply tires with the letter designation; I haven’t seen those in a long, long time! I like the rallye wheels as well.

I wonder if the seller would throw in a few of the signs? And I also wonder whether it makes sense from a value standpoint to restore this car or not. And that’s one of the reasons (the price tag is certainly another one) that I’ll leave this car for someone else. This is just a little too shabby looking for me to leave it alone and be happy.

The interior fits the same mold as the exterior. Tatty but complete and original. Here’s a list of the options on this car per the build sheet:

RPO-L78 396 cubic inch – 375 horsepower solid lifter V8
RPO-M21 Muncie 4 speed transmission
RPO-G80 positraction 12 bolt rear end with 4.10 gear
RPO-U14 tach and gauges
RPO-ZL2 cowl induction hood
RPO-D88 black stripes

Additionally, we know that the paint was code 14 14 Cortez Silver and the interior reflects code 756, black bucket seats with a console.

And here is that big V8! It doesn’t run at the moment and we’re not given any additional mechanical information apart that the car will roll onto and off of a trailer. What do you think – is this storage lot discovery the best barn find ever?

Fast Finds


  1. RoughDiamond RoughDiamond Member

    I remember reading the magazine article. It was an incredible find. I just wish an average working guy or gal car enthusiast would run across these not individuals who seemingly have the discretionary income to collect a stable of muscle cars. I predict this one will hit the stratosphere due to someone just wanting it for the purposes of entering it into concurs show like Pebble Beach in the “Preservation Class” just in order to win a ribbon.

    • Brakeservo

      I doubt this would ever be shown at Pebble Beach, I had a similar condition/just discovered 1934 Rolls Royce and I did apply to Pebble Beach but was rejected because the car was “too common” or maybe it’s just I’m too common. . .

  2. erikj

    pretty cool find. I have to note that those aftermarket sport mirrors got to go. Very cheap. A 4sp with the 375 horse mill and 4:10 gears out back this is a street killer for sure. I really like it, but again it would be way out of my reach.

  3. Dave

    I would take that car completely apart and do a 100% restoration. It would like it just like it came off the assembly line when was done with it.

  4. John M.

    Nice find. The only noticeable rust that I can see is at the bottom of the front fenders but getting replacements should be a problem since these cars enjoy a huge support from the aftermarket. It shouldn’t take much to whip this Chevelle back into shape.

    • John M.


      Sorry for the typo.

  5. Don Tennison

    Who wouldn’t love to get this car even though it would mean being upside dollar wise down once restored

  6. Gunner

    Although the desirability level on this Detroit muscle is high, I would not classify it as the “best barn find ever”. The 65 Shelby Mustang that was featured a while back for 115K was a good one. 2 ‘Birds in a basement maybe? IMO, I believe that many of these desirable and lost classic cars were just cast aside without a thought of that they may be valuable in the future. Same principle as the things that people may accumulate in their home that they have lived in for decades only to find out that some of the “junk” is quite valuable.


    The best barn find ever is the one we personally find. This one, we just dream ourselves in this position

    • Nova Scotian


  8. Andy

    Compared to that Bugatti they found in England, this is no big deal.

    • Tony S


  9. Woodie Man

    The fact that the car has been passed along and not restored says it all. The principal of OPM is at work here. If someone does take it on and restores it, the next buyer will make there will be no way you cannot end up upside down. Add to that the inevitable aging of the cohort who would buy these, and at some point, they will be like Model T’s. Happens to us all unfortunately,


      I agree Woodie, some one will likely spend a bucket full of money on this car. Only if they do it for themselves, would it make sense. Likely the only one to profit on this car is the current seller.
      Also true about the Model T, as the audience and buyer pool fades, so does the price. My Dad had a 1921 Center Door Sedan for the first 45 years of my life. He sold it for 5k. It obviously had so many hours of a labor of love in it, but that didn’t make it valuable to anyone but him… well to me too, but I couldn’t keep it

  10. Terry J

    I’ve had hot solid lifter engines . They require valve adjustment. I have a rat rod truck with 3.90 posi gears and no O.D. Really low for the highway. 4.10 is lower yet. This amazing Chevelle is a STREET RACER, and that’s what it’ll do very well. :-) Terry J

  11. Robert White

    $29k for 89k miles, ripped seat covers, major surface rust, factory lead work popping out, aftermarket rims, a beat 396 in need of a complete rebuild, and need of a transmission rebuild.

    This car is by no means the ‘greatest barnfind ever’ IMHO.

    Not buying the hype whatsoever!


  12. JamestownMike

    In my opinion, “the best barn find ever” for me would be a 70 Chevelle LS6 454, 4 speed car at a price I can afford……..Yeah, like that will ever happen!…….but one can hope and dream! I’ll never stop looking.

  13. Shayne

    This is the same gentleman that owned the Black 1970 Boss 302 you featured earlier in the year. I went to look at the Boss and this was sitting on the side of the house as well. He’s all about rare cars, he’s a flipper and a collector. He is definitely a chevy guy. Even has an unrestored 1969 COPO sitting in the garage. Wonder why he is selling such a low number car…

  14. Howard A Member

    Now see? This car and the ’69 442 from the other day, were kind of in the same class, except, this was more “blood and guts”, while the Olds had a bit more class. Pick up your best girl in one of these sent a clear message to the old man, where as, show up in the 442, and you’d probably get a nod of approval. Even the paperboy or pump jockey could get one of these, beat the crap out of it, if it didn’t get twisted around a tree, pass it along. This, amazingly, makes the 442,,,,AT $35G’S already, seem like a deal. So strange, I remember a time, you couldn’t GIVE these away.

  15. RoughDiamond RoughDiamond Member

    Great analogy, Howard. What we don’t know is what the Reserve is for either so it will be interesting to watch both. I’m guessing the Chevelle is just being advertised on eBay and will change hands privately. It is a beast, however, in my town if you get caught street racing you are risking having your car impounded for an indefinite period of time. The Olds I would donate one testical and one kidney for since I am know separated plus maybe I would pee less.

  16. Leo

    Buy now, lose your ass later when this whole insane “patina” fad goes away. There is nothing incredible about this “barn find”.

    • Loco Mikado

      As I have said before patina is CYA for either not having the money for a decent paint job or else too cheap to but still wanting to be center of attention of oohs and aahs. A poser in other words.

  17. Chebby

    I would say refresh the interior so it’s a nice place to be, leave the outside as is and enjoy. It looks like Clint Eastwood: grizzled and tough. You can always paint it later and bring it back to youthful status….a luxury we humans don’t have!

  18. ben

    28 gs already all fools ant dead yet I rather a nice 61 pontiac 389 tri power 4 speed conv or a 63 to 65 riv with 2/4s

  19. Dan Almashy

    Its really not in that good of shape considering it was a “barn Find” I see that added descriptor far too many times these day..even when it was in the barn for a year or less…it apprently sit outside for awhile looking at it. My buddy just restored his 23k mile one he bought new when he exited the AirForce in the summer of 69, he searched and looked at some 69 camaros and Chevelles and ordered this Gold LS6 SS. He started restoring it 5 years ago, although I told him to keep it original, his point was he thought it deserved it. So it is his to do. I think he just wanted to do it for the love of the car. It sat outside in his back yard for about 6 years at one point and then on his carport for 10 years. had a cover on it for awhile…This picture is from 1998 when he was at a Nostalgia drag race at one of the North Carolina tracks, he won his class at Darlington at an even back in the 90’s. Its shiny because it’s in a picture frame but it was a good looking paint on it, in my opinion just needed a good buffing.

    • Dan Almashy

      And this is photos from last summer as it has completed a full frame off restoration mostly by himself. a painter had the body for 18 months while he did all the mechanical etc.Its like it rolled out of the showroom now.

      Like 1
  20. Sid Member

    I agree with BRAKTRCR.
    The best barn finds are the ones you have found yourself.

  21. Don

    Very nice🔝

    • Dave

      That looks Awsome Don. I love the color.

  22. Sid Member


    • Dan Almashy

      I like a balck vette..nice find…

  23. Larry

    Wow, the holy grail of Chevelle muscle cars! The original buyer checked all the right boxes for street racing. Now that’s what I call a great barn find. I’ll bet it sells for crazy money. Dan, tell your friend his 70 Chevelle is beautiful.

  24. Dave Member

    Love rat motors. As far as barn finds, my pick is the black ’61 Ferrari 250 GT Spyder found in France a few years back.

  25. JRATT1956

    The guys bidding on this one are crazy. It is up to $28,600 reserve not meet.
    Why not just but this red one in Florida for $39,900.

    It is going to cost way more than $10 K to bring the rust bucket back to life.

  26. Brakeservo

    When bidding reaches stupid levels but ‘reserve not met’ you know he’s asked his friends and neighbors to place those bids.

  27. mtshootist1

    I had a good friend that owned a 69 Chevelle SS396, with a three speed on the floor. If I remember correctly. It was that silvery green color, we took it back to college one time, two hundred and fifty miles mostly up the interstate 35 then hooked on to I-70, ,middle ol the night, with Steppenwolf blaring on the eight track, spring of 1970. averaging between 85 and 125 mph. I think it was a high geared car. We were running Corvettes, and they couldn’t keep up. I was doing most of the driving. Gas was about 25 to 30 cents a gallon, no smog devices, pure power. I was 18 years old, and life was grand. A year or two later, he wrecked that car right out by our farm on a sweeping curve, went airborne, flipped and rolled, and got out of it with no broken bones, but beat to hell. not a quarter panel was straight, and the roof was crushed down to the seat. I have no idea how fast he was going. But that night of rolling up the interstate has stayed with me for forty seven years.

    • Nova Scotian


  28. JRATT1956

    I know and when you can find cars at the click of your mouse that look as nice as the one in Florida, you know this one has plenty of ghost bidders. I am watching it, I bet it does not sell. It is worth about $10 K in its current condition. It is going to take $20 K or more to bring it back from the dead and that is if you do a lot of the work yourself.

  29. John

    A 396/375 would throw you back in the seat hard enough to make you a believer. This was, and could someday again be, an awesome car. But it will be a labor of love, and not a lust for profit. It’ll cost a fortune if it’s done right. I truly hope somebody wants to love it.

  30. Bruce

    If only Hot Rod Magazine knew what was hidden in other garages and storage units. One day soon you will all see a very well preserved Barn Find (garage kept).

    • Dan Almashy

      That’s right, who cares if it’s a barn fin really, I just want a cream puff that found that looks like it’s got 5 miles on it and is well preserved, that term itself makes my guard go up as soon as I hear it. It is nice to find and old car or one of your dreams in a barn where no one ever knew about it but, in truth, it has become an overused word to try to pry more dollars out of a wallet…Ha ha …My wife has a car she is saving in our garage, she bought it new in Nov 1984, a black on black Z28 with tpi on a 305. Its got 8111 miles on it presently, we move it around a couple times a year or drive it around the block. Some day it’ll be worth the 13,500 we paid for it..LOL…

      • Brakeservo

        You say someday it will be worth the $13,500 you paid for it . . . but what will that $13,500 be worth though in 1984 dollars? Better to drive it, wear it out, enjoy it and get your value that way!

      • Dan Almashy

        you are on point Brakeservo…i was trying to make a joke sorta…I always tell my wife that…she’s firm on her feelings for the car though and I guess if it gets another 20 or more years on it, maybe it will be the only one left ..LOL I know a guy here that buys them up as much as he can afford, and has been rebuilding them into good driver cars and selling them to make a profit, he gets a lot of teens wanting them or young ladies. They do handle and drive well. Just sad that there is so much plastic and rubberized stuff on them. I see some of the mid 70’s to 80 models are starting to bring a little money these days, as compared to where they were at 10 years ago. Hopefully a few will be saved so that others can enjoy them later on….My grandsons see an old car they always ask me if I saw that old Chevy….no matter what it is…hopefully they will learn the brands later on….

  31. Dan Almashy

    you guys are all correct and i’ll pass on you thought his car looks good. I forgot to say his name is Fred Powell, The article about the muscle car shoot out at Darlington was in a magazine back then..maybe mid 90’s Not sure which mag it was, he used to drag it at Peidmont Dragway some over the years and after sitting about 10 years he freshened it up about90 and started racing once in awhile again also at Farmington Dragway off of I-40 near Statesville, NC. Fred lives in Reidsville, we helped him build his garage after retiring in 2008 and he started the car about a year after. 1st order of business was finding just the right painter. He says the car has a TOD to transfer to his oldest daughter after he’s gone..LOL I tried many times to buy it, now it’s worth way more than I am.

  32. joseph enlowe

    Wasn’t the 396/375 more scarce than the LS6 ?

    Like 2
  33. Gurn B

    Many of you are so missing the point here. Original condition is not a fad. It’s the ultimate truth . Even if not exactly the way it left the factory. Its what we did to these cars and how we used them. Anybody with a checkbook can restore it better than new. Then it looks like all the others. That being said, you do what you like , what ever floats your boat. I personally hope someone buys this gets it running and driving .. just the way it is

    Like 1
  34. Omar J.

    This is a nice car, but in my opinion, not worth $30k. I mean if it’s worth it to you, ok, but there’s too much work that has to be done in order to get it right. This restoration has to come from the ground up. You’re basically starting from the ground up. It has to be completely torn down.

    • EricG

      They only made the 375 hp 1970 chevelle SS 396 until March or April of 1970, after they started offering the LS-6.

    • EricG

      They only made the 375 hp 1970 chevelle SS 396 until March or April of 1970, after they started offering the LS-6. PGH barn finds

  35. Cubs win

    Hey it’s cool but it ain’t rare or the best barnfind ever. Go to any car show and see how many Chevelles are there in many flavors.
    It’s only different because of its story, which makes it cool. Restore it and you lose ll of that.

  36. Doug Towsley

    While nicely optioned and has provenance I dont see anything on this car for preserving it in its existing patina and condition.
    (I call them “Previously enjoyed”).
    Its a pretty solid car, has a few issues but nothing major. Nice if you could find most projects in as nice of condition. I would document the heck out of it, and then restore it with some tasteful and subtle mods. I would ALSO removed the original engine (Assuming it truly is original and numbers correct) and set it aside and install a 454 and put 396 stickers on it. Virtually nobody would know better except the truly OCD bolt polishers, to calm their palpitations I would remind the the motor is still around to go back to stock.
    As to the overpriced comments and the wildly inflated expenses to finish it,,, I suppose just like every time this comes up, If you have to do a check book rebuild-restore I suppose so, (Expensive $$$$) But a semi talented person with skills can do this on a relatively decent budget. We are rebuilding my wifes 69 Chevelle and while we need to throw more money at it,, We are well in the black on budget and I expect to stay that way. Of course we are doing 98% of the work ourselves so perhaps apples and oranges to the peanut gallery estimates. This feature car is at $31,000 currently which seems excessive to me. But who am I to judge?
    Just for fun, here is some approx numbers on our car currently.
    1969 Chevelle malibu. (Nuttin’ fancy just a period hot rod as we grew up with.
    Paid $1000. Missing motor, trans and a few odds and ends.
    Chevelle Bucket seats $250 for the pair. (We might sell them and instead buy aftermarket buckets)
    Muncie 4 speed, bell housing and bits. $0.00 robbed from my parts stash)
    350 4 bolt main, high nickel block and other bits. $100 from a early 70s Pickup I parted years back, the $$ is my estimate of what I have into it.
    Hurst 1/4 stick shifter new in box, Bought on sale $300?? (Need to check)
    CPP Front disc Brake kit package deal bought on sale Approx $600
    Centerline Wheels and lug nuts w/ roller tires. $300 off CL a couple years back.
    So, We have more stuff to order and locate, but we figure not counting our labor we will come in well under $8,000.00 total by completion. That included paying a friend to do the upholstery work and we supply the kit for the upholstery. We will paint it ourselves and she will be rebuilding the motor and trans herself. Her Dad will help with some of the electrical.
    What will it be worth?? Hard to say,, but I bet we could sell it high 20s when done, perhaps even $30k ++ but thats all speculative as If we built it to sell I would do some things different. We have no intentions of selling so its all academic.
    I know from some friends what they got bid for similar body and paint work so I realize by using my skills and experience on that alone we are saving a bundle,. I suppose we COULD slap some SS emblems on it and take it to some auction and tell lies,, but thats not our scene. But my point here is there ARE affordable hot rod projects out there. You just gotta work at it, network with friends and trade favors to get stuff done. Or have a very well padded checkbook. Your choice!!!

    Like 1

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