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No Reserve: 1969 Chevrolet Chevelle SS 396 Tribute

With the value of genuine examples of classic muscle cars climbing beyond the reach of mere mortals, many enthusiasts are turning to tributes as a viable alternative. This is understandable because a well-executed vehicle offers a similar ownership experience at a fraction of the price. That is the opportunity provided by this 1969 Chevrolet Chevelle. It has been transformed from a meek and mild family car into a firebreathing SS 396 clone. It has no apparent needs, and if you’re not already tempted, the seller’s decision to offer it with No Reserve could clinch the deal. The Chevelle is listed here on eBay in Baltimore, Maryland. Bidding currently sits at $18,100, with plenty of time remaining on the auction.

The American muscle car market looked pretty crowded by 1969, with General Motors marques wheeling out some of the more potent offerings. The Chevelle SS 396 has cemented its place in motoring folklore, helping to explain why spotless and unmolested examples continue commanding stratospheric prices. This Chevelle presents superbly in Garnet Red, although the seller doesn’t indicate when the build occurred. However, some clues in the listing suggest it hasn’t seen much active service since. The paint retains an impressive shine, cloaking panels as straight as an arrow. The seller emphasizes that they didn’t cut corners, ensuring every task was completed to a high standard. The buyer will benefit from this approach because the paint looks virtually flawless, the trim and glass sparkle as beautifully as the paint, and the underside shots confirm this classic is rust-free. The new owner can leave the grinder and welder in the cupboard because this gem is ready to rock and roll.

Since this is an SS 396 Tribute, you probably won’t be shocked to learn that its engine bay houses a 396ci V8. Its specifications are unclear, but since the “entry-level” L35 version churned out 325hp and 410 ft/lbs of torque, it is fair to expect at least the same from this big-block. The remaining mechanical components include a three-speed Turbo 400 automatic transmission and a 4.11 12-bolt rear end, ensuring all those ponies successfully meet the road. We can only speculate on potential performance, but this Chevelle should return a sub-15-second ¼-mile ET without raising a sweat. The seller states the car has only covered around 8,000 miles since the build ended, and with the bulletproof nature of the mechanical components, it is barely broken in! It runs and drives perfectly, and the seller’s claim that it has “a bunch of power” is easily believed.

If this were a genuine SS 396, some readers would be disappointed by the additional gauges, the B&M shifter, and the aftermarket stereo. Since this isn’t, all bets are off. However, that doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty to like inside this classic. The Black vinyl upholstered surfaces are in good order, with no rips, tears, or other issues. The dash and pad are spotless, and the carpet is in as-new condition. A couple of minor trim items require attention, but the seller includes the parts needed to address those issues. I suppose they could have completed the work themself, but this approach gives the winning bidder something to do beyond polishing and admiring their new purchase!

If this 1969 Chevrolet Chevelle was a genuine SS 396, a car in this condition should comfortably command a price well above $60,000. Values have softened during the past year but are heading in the right direction for those contemplating the investment potential. This car isn’t the real deal, but its condition and presentation mean it shouldn’t sell for peanuts. Will it hit $60,000? I don’t think so. I would expect the bidding to run out of steam well below $40,000, and I wouldn’t rule a figure of $30,000 out of the equation. However, since this is a volatile classic market, there is always the chance of surprises. Whatever the result, the No Reserve factor means it will head to a new home shortly. Are you tempted to make it yours?


  1. Steve Weiman

    Am I the only one who is instantly out at the site of crooked-misplaced fender emblems on these cars? Is it really that impossible to get that detail right? I’ve seen more 100k LS6s with this issue than I can count. Did I mention this drives me crazy and I’m not even OCD :)

    At least they caught the mistake and did not duplicate it on the passenger side.

    Looks like a damn nice driver otherwise :)

    Like 6
    • 19sixty5 Member

      The missing A-pillar rain gutter trim stands out like a sore thumb to me. Ditch that shifter and steering wheel. Install a repro factory gauge setup or use a era-correct Sun Super tach and a Stewart Warner or Sun triple gauge set.

      Like 1
    • chuck

      I like to play “spot the crooked emblem” at car shows. Usually Chevelle and Camaros.

      Like 2
    • Kevin Leary

      Good catch.

      Like 1
    • Jon Rukavina

      To go along this, why weren’t the door panel and pillar molding issues addressed before putting it on the market? Similar to the a/c systems “needing re-charge”. Also, I’ve never liked the looked of those B&M shift handles either. Would look better with some sort of console or a modified factory one.
      Make me the second- out!

      Like 0
      • Jon Rukavina

        I went back and looked at the front fenders. Aren’t there supposed to be SS 396 emblems on both fenders where the left fender one is?
        I’ll hang up and listen. Lol!

        Like 1
  2. Al camino

    Funky exhaust system!

    Like 0
  3. William Daniel Toel

    “Tributes” and “Clones” are just wrong. They should not even be able to compete in shows except for a tribute and clone category.

    Like 3
    • JC

      Well, since weak men can call themselves women now and compete against women, you can’t discriminate against clones…LOL. This is a nice looking car… and its not too far from me… its on my watchlist.

      Like 0
  4. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    I’m not a Chevelle guy – I like Camaros and Vettes – but plenty of people are. This one has met reserve and is going to sell, and someone will be excited to drive this clone around, crooked, broken stuff notwithstanding.

    Like 0
  5. RobbyME

    Hi, had a 68′ real deal…1 owner 13,369 mi. in 73′. like new really. my dad sold it w/out my permission. my other car was 68′ 400 firebird. I’m still looking for a 400. I also, hate fake 400’s, selling as a real 400…like no 400 on trunk lid covered that up w/spoiler also, no letters either! people don’t have them! that’s the best trunk-lid with all that. I have those items. I wonder how much someone would pay for that! a lot of cars are just thrown together painted w/minimal detail as possible.

    Like 0

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