No Reserve: Mystery 1969 Chevrolet Chevelle SS 396

You have to give the owner of this 1969 Chevrolet Chevelle SS 396 full credit for his honesty. He purchased this car as part of a package deal from a collector, but it was a forced purchase because he had to hand over the money for this classic to secure the car that he wanted. He is honest enough to admit that while it wears SS 396 badges, he is unsure whether it is the real deal. It has been out of action for over a decade, and he has not attempted to revive it. That could make it a fantastic winter project for the next lucky owner. It is located in Hearne, Texas, and has been listed for sale here on eBay. The bidding has reached $17,600 in a No Reserve auction. Once you’ve seen what this car has to offer, you might be interested in joining the bidding war.

Hiding below that layer of dust is a Chevelle that wears Dusk Blue Metallic paint. While the presence of dust makes it impossible to be sure, it appears that the paint is in good order. I can spot a few chips and marks in the supplied photos, but these seem to be pretty minor. The panels are straight, but the big news is that this Texas classic remains rust-free. The photos reveal solid and clean floors, and there are only a few spots of light surface corrosion that the buyer may wish to address. The car features a Cowl Induction hood, which looks in good condition. The same is true of the trim and chrome, while this Chevelle rolls on a set of aftermarket wheels. I admit that my fingers itch when I look at these photos because I would dearly love to give this car a wash and polish. However, that rewarding task will fall to the new owner.

We’ve reached the point where the mystery deepens with this Chevelle. The owner admits that he knows little about these cars and cannot confirm whether it is a genuine SS 396. He has confirmed that it is not numbers-matching, which will disappoint some enthusiasts. However, the engine bay houses a 396ci big-block that is bolted to what appears to be a Muncie M22 manual transmission. The SS 396 gave drivers 325hp under their right foot in its most basic form. There are some visible performance upgrades to this engine, and it appears that it might have some more lurking inside. The car comes with documentation indicating that this V8 received a rebuild between 2005 and 2010. Reading the invoices should reveal what upgrades have been performed by the previous owner. It is probably safe to assume that this brute will be pumping out more than 325hp. The car doesn’t currently run, and the seller has not attempted to coax it back to life. The previous owner laid up this classic after it developed a fuel leak. This fault has not been repaired, so the buyer will add it to their “to do” list. They will need to splash some cash on new tires because the owner admits the ones fitted to the Chevelle are dry-rotted.

This Chevelle’s interior presents extremely well, but it won’t appeal to purists. There have been many aftermarket additions and changes, but many of the factory trim pieces remain intact. These changes include black and white cloth upholstery on the seats, a custom cover for the dash pad, aftermarket gauges installed above the heater controls, a column-mounted tachometer, a Hurst shifter, and a Kenwood CD player. Overall, the impression is positive, but I would probably spend $190 on a new dash pad because the cover that the previous owner installed has a “cheap and nasty” appearance. If the buyer seeks spotless originality, they will face the prospect of spending $500 to replace the seatcovers, but the remaining trim and headliner appear to be the factory items.

This 1969 Chevrolet Chevelle is definitely a mystery machine. The owner’s lack of knowledge of these vehicles means it is impossible to determine whether it is a genuine SS 396. Its overall condition looks pretty encouraging, and its lack of rust means that returning it to a presentable state should be a straightforward process. Once revived, its big-block offers the potential for mind-blowing performance. It has the makings of a rewarding winter project, and with what you have seen, are you tempted to make a bid on this classic? If you do, I would hardly blame you.


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  1. 8banger 8banger Member

    Now I’m just throwing this out here, but wouldn’t the VIN reveal that or is this one of GMs nebulous affairs. Hmmm, Nebulous Affairs sounds like a Yes album…

    Like 24
    • 370zpp 370zpp Member

      I think it was a “Rush” album..

      I was moving through the article and the photos feeling less and less concerned if this is a genuine SS and in fact just a nice car, until I saw that interior shot. Nevermind.

      Like 10
    • Mike1955

      Starting in 1969 the SS was only an option, not a model, so the VIN wont tell. Only way to tell is a matching number engine, Protectoplate, window sticker or build sheet. Wrong hood, not an SS.

      Like 11
      • chuck

        Who cares about the hood? It’s a Chevelle hood on a 52 year old car that’s in great shape. Geesch!

        Like 18
      • Mike1955

        I care…. and its not even a Chevelle hood. If you wanted to put back original thats another $1000. if you can find it.

        Like 9
      • chuck

        Life must be pretty frustrating when you are an expert.

        Like 12
      • piston poney

        so let me get this straight, i put a SS hood on 1971 MALIBU chevelle does that make it an SS? what i saying is just cause the hood is not corect for that spicific car is dosent mean anything, it take about 4 bolts to change a hood, i can put an air grapper hood and ducts on a satellite but that dont make it a road runner.

        Like 8
      • Mike1955

        Ignorance must be Bliss?

        Like 2
      • Mike1955

        4 bolts and a Thousand dollars….done.

        Like 1
      • Tom

        Nice “cowl induction” hood. Seriously??

    • Guardstang

      In 1969 the SS396 was an option, not a separate model. I think the VIN will only tell you if it was a 2 door hardtop with V8

      Like 2
  2. George Mattar

    Yeah. Looks like Johnny High School boy got his hands on this about 1980 when it was just a used car for $1,100. Then he went amok with a JC Whitney catalog. $17,500 for this. I have a rotted out VW Thing I will sell you for $17,500. At least the seller is honest. In. 10 to 15 years, no one will want cars like this.

    Like 11
    • Camaro guy

      JC Whitney? Hardly. price out the parts on this car with the exception of the steering wheel that is Whitney, and Johnny high school seriously? I’m 75 yrs old and this is exactly how I would have built this car it looks right just the way it is wish i could afford this it would be in my garage and I’d drive the wheels off it

      Like 14
  3. Dave

    Wasn’t the cowl induction hood first offered on the 1970 cars?

    Like 8
    • Jackiejack

      I believe 70 454 460hp cowl induction

      Like 1
  4. DRV

    Fix the fuel leak, fire up the motor, and check the numbers. How hard can it be to be really honest here?

    Like 11
    • Terrry

      If the motor will fire..I’m smelling a loose rod or seized bearing, because why not get the engine going before selling it? It would attract more $$…UNLESS there is something majorly wrong with the motor.

      Like 20
  5. erik j

    I like it,Even has the correct exhaust tips.The rear is a 12 bolt and its a 4spd. I dont think the blue is a factory shade and look at the rear qtrs. from the trunk,someone was banging on that metal. All that said, It has the abilitys to be a nice car- I hope its a ss.

    Like 5
  6. Terrry

    Nothing wrong with this car for what it is, other than its high price. What scares me is its unknown mechanical condition. You’re placing an 18k bet here.

    Like 6
  7. timothy r herrod

    just my own opinion, I have never liked that type of steering wheel on any car. Doesn’t do anything for me, maybe i am just too old to like it

    Like 18
    • Mike K

      You’re not to old, I think those steering wheel is universally hated for anyone over 30. There’s nothing like a stock black rally steering wheel on these, that’s what I had on my 67, even though they didn’t come out till 68 or 69……….

      Like 11
    • joenywf64

      I think these type steering wheels are a lot cheaper to buy than say a lot better looking(IMO) t/a type formula wheel on this el camino …

      Like 1
  8. Cadmanls Member

    Wow a steering wheel problem? Come on guys it’s a big block Chevy with a 12 bolt and a 4 speed. Even if it’s broken big block Chevy parts are reasonable to buy and take it to the track and power shift the day away. That steering wheel has nothing to do with having some straight line fun.

    Like 15
    • chuck

      It’s hilarious what people nit pick about. It’s a 52 year old car in relatively good shape for God’s sake. Makes me wonder if they ever made changes to a car they owned “back in the day.” As soon as I saw the hood and the steering wheel I knew the nit pickers would show up.

      Like 13
  9. Howard A Member

    I think it’s perfectly understandable, most people that weren’t a teenager in the late 60’s, could possibly know the impact the ’69 396 Chevelle had on our car culture. It’s out of the box, neck snapping power was a hit. Priced at $3816 new, it wasn’t for the paperboy, who probably bought the Dodge Dart, but for anyone with a decent job, a hotter stick couldn’t be found. By the time I got a decent job ( ’74) ’69 Chevelles were getting pretty tired, and $500 could indeed buy a very well used one, and since muscle cars were fading fast, it seemed every gas station had a ’69 Chevelle or GTO out front for sale. It’s why they command such a premium today, nobody wanted them, and in most cases, only the best ones were saved. Again, going to cost some poor sap 5 figures for what we enjoyed for $500 bucks. Hope they get the same thrill, and don’t need a kidney down the line,,,

    Like 17
  10. Carl Bacon

    When I was 12 years old in 1973, I helped my brother rebuild the 396 in his 69′ Chevelle SS. A couple weeks later, he drove it into a big pine tree and got a DUI. When he got out of the slamer, he and his buddy took a logging truck and recovered his car. I wish I had a picture of what that log jammer did to the roof of that car. But, back then, we didn’t have smart phones, LOL, we had a party line phone. Another fond memory is when my mom borrowed his car to take two of us to the dentist 30 miles away in the big city. I tried to tell her, “mom, you got to give it more gas”. Good times…

    Like 2
  11. JC

    Bid up to $22,600 for a car that doesn’t run… smh

    Like 5
  12. Bob McK Member

    Crazy money… or am I crazy to think it is way too expensive for a car with unknown mechanical problems?

    Like 4
  13. bobH Member

    Reminds me of a 68 Camero that my son-in-law has… Bitchin black paint job, ca no rust no damage body, 350 badges, dressed up engine with chrome and Edelbrock manifold, Edelbrock carb, headers, lumpy cam, turbo 400…. And, when I looked up the casting number for the block, it is a 307 (or 305, I’ve forgotten). My point being, hard to tell on this Chevelle, and I’m suspicious. No matter, I thinks it cool, maybe at a lower price.

  14. Howie Mueler

    Check out their other listing on a truck, starting bid is $75K.

    Like 2
    • JC

      Man, that is one fugly truck. That Yellow just screams Heinz mustard. lol.

      • Gary J Lehman


        Like 1
  15. Kelly G Waldrop

    If you don’t care about it being original then buy it repair it and drive it.

    Like 5
  16. Martin M

    The cowl induction hood was not an option in 1969. They were an option on the 1970 SS and included the hood pins.


    Actually, Nebulous Affairs was a solo project by Roger Waters that never really hit the U.S. shores. It was somewhere between Meddle and Ummagumma.

    Like 1
  18. Troy s

    Trying hard to be a street/strip warrior, definitely a show and park -cruiser. That look is fine with me. I say trying hard for the simple reason a 396 is a small big block Chevy. 427-454-502…and all the bore and stroke combinations in between and a host of go fast parts out there. And no GM corporate rules either. Cool ride.

  19. Chris Sisson

    Closest Rush ever came to nebulous was on the album Farewell to kings that had a song called Cygnus X1 Book 1, were they sing about the cosmos and name a few constellations ….FYI

  20. $ where mouth is

    I looked extensively for the supposed ‘Nebulous Affairs’ from Roger Waters, excited to hear of something i didnt know by him, BUT, not a trace.
    If you ‘AmishTrucker’ read this, please follow up with a lead or something..

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