LS6 Barn Find: 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS 454

One of the most sought-after muscle cars from the genre’s heyday is the 1970 Chevelle SS 454. But not just any 454, the LS6 edition which produced nearly one horsepower per cubic inch (450). This is the story of one of those cars, for which just 4,475 are estimated to have been built.  Brought back to life after changing hands a few times and sitting for many years, it’s now owned by John Fardone in Eastern Pennsylvania. Fardone is known by many in car-collecting circles as “The King” for searching out rusty old barn finds. More on John and this great discovery can be found here on Motor Trend. Thanks for this great tip, Larry D Brooks!

The story of the car begins with a serviceman who returned from his tour of duty in Vietnam in 1970. Having been a Chevelle fan for years, he bought a new SS 454 LS6 finished in Champagne Gold paint with a black vinyl top and matching bucket seat interior. The car was used sparingly and with great care, avoiding trips out in the rain. Not having garage space at the time, the Chevelle was often kept at his in-laws out in the boonies. By 1975, the owner and his wife were looking to start a family and since a car like this wasn’t necessarily practical for that, they decided to sell it.

Another Chevy enthusiast took possession of the automobile next, who added orange paint to the underside when the car only had 17,000 miles. That owner may have pushed the car’s limit a time or two and ended up in a front-end mishap that damaged the passenger side front fender. He bought an OEM fender and had intended to fix it up, but life got in the way, and he quit driving it in 1989. From then on, it stayed in a dusty and dirty downstairs garage where all of that residue found its way onto the car, too.

After that, we believe it ended up at Muscle Cars Only, a restoration shop in Hunker, Pennsylvania. By then, it had just 50,000 miles on the odometer (though the odometer says 40,000). Other than the front-end damage from years ago, the car was complete, including the mammoth drivetrain combination. Since the company focused on projects for other folks, the owner connected with Fardone who he knew was looking for this Hail Grail of Super Sports and they put a deal together.

Fardone went to work remedying what time and misfortune had done to the car. Besides attaching the fender properly and fixing a radiator support bracket, he got busy cleaning it up. We’re told that the interior turned out better than you might think given some of the earlier photos provided. And the Champagne Gold paint still looked good. We assume that the painted NOS fender blended in properly with the rest of the car. The Chevy looks like it was restored but from the layout of the magazine article, which doesn’t look to be the case.

The photos here are a combination of before and after pictures, with an emphasis on the before. This is another notable example of the right guy finding the right car at the right time. Fardone, the current owner, is a lover of Chevy A-body cars and will likely keep the car until his time on Planet Earth is over. What a great find and story! Who doesn’t love a happy ending?

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  1. bobhess bobhess Member

    Great story, great car!

    Like 12
  2. gbvette62

    It’s interesting, that the car doesn’t have the Cowl Induction hood. Though optional, I think most people ordered it with the LS-6, to optimize it’s performance.

    It seems an awful lot of guys bought LS-6’s when they got back from Nam. I had two friends that cam back in 70, who both bought LS-6 Chevelles also. Both bought 4 speed coupes, one a silver one, the other a black one. The guy with the black one, bought his in California, where he was stationed when he returned. When he got out and moved back to Jersey, he liked to show everyone the CARB exemption sticker on it. Being from Jersey, he was able to order it with Federal emission equipment, and the sticker exempted him from California’s roadside emission checks. He eventually moved to Florida, where he traded it in on a Datsun Z car. The guy with the silver one tracked his down a few years ago, it’s still around and still in NY, where he originally bought it.

    Like 34
  3. Doug from MD.

    This sure was a great story that jarred alot of forgotten memories. The painting of the underneath of the car,I had all but forgotten. I remember guys doing that in some of the damnest colors. Also reminded of all the vets from Nam that bought muscle cars. My brother got out in 71 and bought a 340 Cuda in which he turned into a mean street racer. Another neighbor got out and bought a 70 chevlle in the same color as the feature car here. He put cragers and headers and boy was that a bad a$$ car. That’s for the great story enjoyed it.

    Like 15
  4. Bud Lee

    I don’t know anyone who isn’t a fan of Chevy A body cars .

    Like 17
    • Robert White

      I bought an A body 1969 Beaumont 307 automatic that had a terrible body with rusted out body mounts and rad support mounts. I found a ton of Bondo in the driver’s side quarter and decided to junk the car instead of getting it on the road certified.

      I would never buy an A body after that as I view them as junk as soon as the body mounts rust out along with the rad support mounts. If you buy an A body make sure to check all the body mounts and rad support mounts first.

      Good when new, but that was it IMHO.

      Built to rust like a Ford too.


      Like 1
      • Motorcityman Member

        Many FORD vehicles from the late 60s early 70s rusted quickly but a lot depended on where u lived and if they salted the roads where u lived.
        I bought a 72 Mach 1 back around 1980 in Detroit and the rear shock tower area was shot. Had to have metal welded in and the shocks still collapsed!
        My Dad bought a New Galaxie 500 in 73 and by late 75 the outer door skins were flapping in the wind! He drove it year round on salted roads.
        Back then, they didn’t coat the metal with ZINC and other stuff to help slow rust.
        I didn’t own any GM products back then so can’t say about them.
        I did buy a used 71 Green Cuda with the 318 auto back around 82, the trunk floor had a see through rust hole about 6″ in diameter!
        I got it welded with metal and the first Saturday night out cruising Telegraph Rd. I got rear ended by a young gal and it was totaled!
        Paid like $700 for it, interior was good shape and green paint was shiney…..sold it for the good running 318 and auto tranny for about $300. Young kid like me drove it away, one working tail light and all.

    • Melton Mooney

      They’re Okay.

      • Motorcityman Member

        Says the guy who doesn’t own one!

  5. flynndawg

    i served in iraq in 04-05 and kuwait in 07-08, when we got home from iraq seems everybody except me bought a harley… i bought a hot tub, and a 57 met, when i returned from kuwait i bought my 2nd 89 mustang gt…

    Like 7
  6. Motorcityman Member

    Gonna make a Beautiful ride for somebody!

    Like 3
  7. Morley Member

    In 1970 to 73 I did a lot of drag racing at the local track. It seemed to me that at least 30 plus of these LS6 cars would show up. They would drive them to the track, intall some slicks, open the headers and every one of the would be in the low 11s, then they would change tires and drive home! And that was 50 years ago. Ah the good old days! Morley

    Like 21
  8. Utes

    As the comments are entailing back from ‘Nam stories…..I ordered a SS396 Chevelle convertible @ the Freedom Hill PX in Da Nang in the spring of ’69. At last check, “my” Chevelle was still alive’n kickin’ in Antigo, Wisc. It was Dusk Blue, bench seat, M21, L34. Other options were: AM/Stereo 8-track, fiber optics, posi. 3.73, rear antenna, HD battery, & block heater….for $3679.85!

    Like 16
  9. gaspumpchas

    Guy who worked pumping gas at an Amoco station had one of these in Metallic Green, never forgot how cool it was and the sound of the M-22 Rock crusher tranny. Good days.

    Like 6
  10. George Mattar

    Never heard of Fardone, but thankfully he is finding these cars before they rot in Pennsylvania. I know the LS6 hunter and finder to be Patrick Glenn Nichols. He even said he finds most of his LS6 cars in PA. We have many muscle cars here and three famed dealerships which sold thousands of muscle cars, like Yenko in Canonsburg, Potamkin in Philadelphia and Reedman still in business in Langhorne, Bucks County. Reedman was in nearby Bristol, PA, where I used to live.

    Like 3
    • Leo Murphy

      We used to go the Reedmans and test drive all kinds of muscle cars on their test track in the back on saturday nights when there was nothing to do! Of course we did not call them muscle cars back then! I remember me and my friend smokin the tires on an LS6 bench seat 4 speed the telling the salesman we get back to him? I ended up buying a 71 cuda there! Problem with ls6 chevelles now you better have a build sheet!

  11. Jay McCarthy

    Beautiful car, but if it’s not for sale why are you teasing us… just sayin

    Like 2
    • erik johnston

      You should move on to a newer vintage. Barnfind is ment to present these long forgotten cars. People like me loved the 60s-early 80s . And to see whats next is great,reinforces why I love to see what happened to the originals good or bad. Just ny thoughts.

  12. mooseandsquirrel

    Glad you gave it a wash. Heck, you can even pay your housekeeper to do it if you are too lazy. Cleaned up nicely.

    Like 1
  13. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry Member

    Okay tried twice to show pics, but to no avail. Just wanted to show a Chevelle SS LS6 factory 4 speed car. The owner changed the transmission to a tremec 6 speed but kept the 4 speed. It’s a beautiful red car that sparkles in the sunlight. He keeps the engine bay clean and shiny. He did add two electric fans.
    It was at local cars and coffee in Katy, Texas.
    God bless America

    Like 2
  14. Dave Peterson

    My memory of these is that the 454 cars said that below the SS on the grille? Is this yet another false memory?

  15. Dennis McCutchan

    I ordered my ’69 Vette in ’68 while on R & R in Subic Bay, Philippines from the Navy Exchange. I picked it up in Chicago after I got discharged in early ’69. Won my class at Bunker Hill Drag Strip. Unfortunately 79 days after I got it, it was a total loss. Ordered a new Chevelle with a 454 and my insurance man [small town] got wind of it and told me if I took delivery of it he would cancel my insurance. I wound up with a ’69 Grandprix. All my Vette buddies called it “Queen Mary” as it was a large yacht.

    Like 2
  16. Jack Member

    To avoid having the dealer installed undercoating which had to be burned off a friend’s 4 speed linkage I decided to paint the underside of my 1970 454 Chevelle with Rusteum Damp Proof Red Primer number 769 when it was new and before it was driven in the rain. Maybe others were doing something similar 50 years ago. My car ended up with Dennis Conner and some potential buyers questioned if the car was original because of the paint on the underside. I had to write a statement of what I did in 1970 and that it was not done to cover up any rust. After that it sold easily. Dennis Conner’s made a video of this true survivor on his website Genuine 1970 LS5 Chevelle 454 4 Speed M22 With Air Con – YouTube

    Like 2
  17. Larry Member

    Here is a photo of the 70 Chevelle SS 454/450hp LS6 that I bought back in 1975.

    Like 1
  18. Tom Marsh

    Great write up, great car. Listed as 450hp, but were they actually more than that and stated that way for insurance?

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