Original Paint: 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle

When someone says the phrase “blue-chip muscle car” the 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle is usually on the list. Certainly, the LS6 Chevelle from 1970 is near the top with its 450 horsepower and rarity, however, even lower optioned cars like this base model have strong collectability. This one can be found here on eBay with a current bid of over $17,000. Located in Simi Valley, California, the ad doesn’t say if it is an original California car but based on the condition, I would guess it is. The paint is original and only shows a few flaws. Take a closer look at this awesome survivor!

Unfortunately, this car is not an LS6. It carries the fairly anemic 6-cylinder power plant mated to a turbo 350 transmission. When I see 6-cylinders wrapped in classic muscle car bodies, I think to myself “why didn’t the original buyer select the big engine boxes?” Well, there are probably two main reasons. First, in 1970 gas mileage was becoming a concern for some motorists. The Oil Crisis was still a few years away, but 1970 marked the steady decline of horsepower and increasing fuel economy brought on by oil shortages. Second, the LS6 option was expensive. Costing around $988 (Nearly $7,000 in today’s dollars), the option dramatically increased the purchase price of a base Chevelle which was around $2,800. With those two factors looming large, it’s not too surprising this one came with a straight-six.

The interior looks amazing with only a few upholstery issues located along seam lines. There is a small crack in the dash, but the rest of the interior looks great.

The only major flaw in the body appears to be the crease down the driver’s door. I’m sure a skilled person with a hammer and dolly could massage the metal back into place without much effort. Overall, this is a really nice survivor that will probably live on for years to come. If this was your car would you be tempted to do an engine swap?

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Comments

  1. Moparman Member

    Nice! As I get older, I find that the idea of a six is not necessarily a turn-off, even though my preference is for at least the base V-8! Personally, I always thought that this iteration of Chevelle looked smoother without the chrome spear on the doors and fenders. GLWTA!! :-)

    Like 13
  2. Tony Primo

    Your probably going to see this car listed next year on BarnFinds with a big block, stripes and SS badging.

    Like 25
    • JohnD

      And it’ll be numbers matching . . . .

      Like 19
      • Robert White

        With all the provenance needed for paperwork on high end sale.

        Bob

        Like 3
  3. Ray

    The 70 chevelle turns me off with straight 6 cylinder in it it doesn’t look like that engine belongs in this car it’s lacking 450 hp 7.4 littler v8 that made this car fast

    Like 4
  4. DON

    The original owner probably didn’t check any boxes for options , most car purchases are cars that are already on the dealership’s lot .
    You wouldn’t know it by todays car shows and auctions , but 99% of cars like this were just your ordinary bread and butter cars . As has been said many times on this site, there are more SS Chevelles on the road now then there was 50 years ago !

    Like 24
  5. Milt

    If it was MY car, I’d go the turbo/intercooler route V8 power when needed but six banger mpg as well

    Like 2
  6. Dusty Stalz

    I like to go fast, but I hope this car is left as is.

    Like 9
  7. David Shrider

    Nothing wrong with a 6. Own a 83 Mustang GLX convertible. 49000 miles. With a V-6.
    Is it fast? No. But, it looks showroom new, and is a ball to drive.
    Is it a classic? No. But never seen one on BF.

    Like 3
  8. William

    The Chevy in line six was a great engine. This is a wonderful car that needs to be left alone so future generations can see how most of us traveled. The performance engines were few and far between. I have always bought mostly standard engines, they are economical to buy and run, plus to insure. They are also a good balance as designed, the engineers made them standard for a reason.

    Like 17
  9. Rosso

    1970 is also when car insurance rates were soaring and you could save some dough picking the 6, especially in a sporty 2-door. These plain janes with their leisurely engines and rubber floor mats seem so rare now— and that makes them a lot more interesting to me. I’d pick this over a run-of-the-mill SS clone any day.

    Like 4
  10. Mike Skinner

    I had a 1970 Malibu 350-300 hp 4 speed. I wanted an SS big block but dad’s insurance man said NO NO NO. Wasn’t disappointed. She would run !

    Like 4
  11. John Polacek

    I’ve never seen that engine in a Chevelle.

    Like 1
    • John S Dressler

      They were common John. I’ts a 235 cubic inch in line six. I had one in my first car, a 1959 Chevy Biscayne, 3 on the tree. If you wanted reliable, cheap transportation – this is one of the best motors Chevrolet ever produced. I sold my 59 in 72 with over 300,000 miles on it. I never touched the inside of that motor. Plugs, points, oil changes regularly every 3,000 miles. Most reliable car I ever owned.

      Like 1
    • W9BAG

      You could actually get a Monte Carlo with a 250 six and a 3 on the tree !

      • Milt

        I would like to see one of those perhaps with an intercooled turbo and either a two barrel carb, or EFI.

  12. jokacz

    Why the Rally Wheels?

    • Charles

      Wheels make the car!

      Like 4
      • jokacz

        In a way, they give it some eyeball. I just doubt that the car came with them. A stripper Chevelle with Rally Wheels doesn’t make sense. The only options I see on this car are a radio and tinted glass.

        Like 3
      • jokacz

        Oh yeah, and an automatic transmission.

  13. JoeNYWF64

    Unlike Chrysler, i believe GM cars with the 6 got the same rear axle as cars with most v8’s. & possibly same brake drum size too.
    Not sure why they reduced the air cleaner snorkle opening by almost 2/3, compared to a ’68 with a 6. Taller air filter will compensate.
    Ist thing to do is to change the gas filter. Keep an eye periodically at that rubber fuel hose by the carb. Would prefer to see factory steel line all the way to the carb.
    Stock orig black Delco coil should still have been good, with such low mielage & garage storage. Could be STD brand Blue Streak coil on there now.
    A ’69 RS camaro with either 6 has yet to make an appearance to me – ever.

    Like 2
  14. Karl

    The car sure looks nice but I seriously doubt anybody is buying this car for their daily driver! The engine is a big let down to me!

    Like 2
  15. Keith

    Yes this car is going to get some kind of engine upgrade in its future life.

    Like 2
  16. charlie Member

    My wife bought a ’69 Camaro with the “bigger” 6, standard transmission, was the same price as the base Nova which she almost bought because it had a hatchback and more room for stuff and a bigger backseat. But, she was single, and liked the looks of the Camaro. I found out it was a 6 but I married her anyway. (I had a 327 Chevelle wagon with the 4 barrel and heavy duty everything, special order, to pull a 2 horse trailer.) It was fast enough, a good highway car and a good around town car. Third was very high, but the 6 had plenty of torque to pull away from about 25 mph in 3rd if you were so inclined. It lasted 14 years of daily driving in New England’s salted roads and finally rusted out everywhere below the belt line. The timing gears wore out and I remember setting it by the book, and the marks, and then retarding it “a little” so it would run well. The rear axel was held on by the end of the right rear spring on the “rear subframe” and the drivetrain. There was nothing left to weld anything to for the other spring and the front end of the right spring. You could not shift it if braking since the car would kind of crunch up on the drive train. The shift linkage would bind, and you would have to lie down next to the driver’s door, and free it up by reaching under the car. My wife did not like doing it but earned the respect of several guys who watched this performance. Like Mustangs, the prices may come down soon, she would like another one, but this time with a V8.

    Like 3
  17. Lance

    I’d stick with a six, a slightly warmed over 4.3 with a 700R4.
    Maybe try a.c.
    Keep the plain jane look overall and enjoy a fun cruiser.

    Like 2
  18. Troy s

    It’s funny, or hard to grasp maybe, but not everyone who buys cars are into…cars so to speak. Transportation, and maybe the new car thrill lasted a little while maybe not, is what I’m looking at here. I find it humorous that some folks believe the fabled LS6 454 Chevelle is what everyone would have considered to buy for everyday duties like taking the kids to school, pickin’up some groceries and so forth, ha ha ha, that package was anything but ordinary. Lets pick up gramma and scare the living shoot out of her, lol.
    This car here, even with a pokey 307 or just maybe the low output 350, was everyday stuff to be traded in a few years for a Vega…. or Toyota?

    Like 5
  19. cmarv

    I sure hope this car is left in it’s present state . These were the stock order cars on the dealers lots at the time . I remember my next door neighbor bought his daughter a 70 Camaro with a straight six , auto ,PS , PDB and A/C to go to college in . It was a split bumper RS car and my 9 year old brain could not believe such a car could exist . Her Dad told me it got good mileage and it looked good and served it’s purpose . Another close by neighbor had a 66 Chevy 2 SS with a 6 and a powerglide , had buckets and console . There were alot of cars produced in that era with the “Sport Packages” and small motors not just Chevy’s . I think it is a great piece of history !

    Like 4
  20. Frank

    Back in the 70’s, I believe it was hot rod magazine did an article on a 66 cutlass 6cyl, they put a small turbo on. It had a 4 speed and 4.11 gears and was a decent performer that averaged 17 mpg.
    With todays technology, you could add fuel injection, and a 5 speed, put 3.55 gears in the back and have a great cruiser.
    The only probem with the stock 6 would be the lack of power and don’t even
    think of adding air conditioning.
    My thought on preserving old cars is unless it’s a real collectible, build it to suit yourself. It’s only going to be worth so much so enjoy it

    Like 2
  21. Charles

    My 1970 Malibu has SBC, turbo 350 transmission, PS, PB, A/C, AM/FM
    I think it is “loaded”
    1970chevy.com

    Like 4
  22. T-Bone

    Leave the 6 banger and drive it, It’s been like that for fifty years probably last another fifty left alone.

    Like 4
  23. Jack Member

    This apparently is a good example of a low option 1970 Malibu which was a very popular car due to its attractive looks. I imagine this car was brought off the dealer’s lot by an older man or woman who didn’t know or care about cars or engines.

    It was sold well before the 1973 gas embargo so gas was cheap when it was delivered. This was during the muscle car era and people were not thinking of gas mileage. I have a friend that owned a 68 Road Runner and he would put $2 of gas in each day, which would buy him a little more 8 gallons of gas for his trip to work and back of around 140 miles.

    My experience on the insurance rates for a new 1970 Chevelle was that they didn’t have a surcharge on engines that were 350 cubic inches of less. I checked into whether a Malibu 400 , which I thought was a small block, to see if it had the engine surcharge. I found the Malibu 400(402) did have the the surcharge so I changed my order to a SS396-350HP before updating to a LS5 454. The LS5 with the M-22 was a great street engine with its 650RPM idle and unrelievedly fun to drive even in traffic.

    I hope they leave this car, which doesn’t have the original wheels and hubcaps, alone. The people looking at it should inspect the rear window which seemed to be a problem area. This car probably would still catch people’s eye at most car shows, with them not suspecting it is a 6 cylinder.

    Like 1
  24. W9BAG

    The 250 6 cylinder was very dependable, as well as economical. A clean example with this engine, no P/S or PB, and a three on the tree would suit my needs to a tee. As well, you can get unobtrusive bolt-on after market parts to get over 200 HP. I have no problem with that. A real attention getter at car shows.

  25. Jack Member

    John S Dressler commented about the durability of the 235. The 235 was originally a durable truck engine and was not a light weight, weighing about the same as a 265/283 V8. This Chevelle has the 250 cu in six, which like the 230 cu in engines were lighter and probably had the same durability as the 235s. I think the 250 cu in had seven mains versus four in the 235s.

    I have a Chevrolet Speed Manual written in the early 1950s and it is surprising how much they were doing to these inline sixes to compete against the Flathead Fords back then. They were modifying the 216s and the 235s.

    I had a 55 Chevrolet with the 235 and 3 speed in 1963. My 235 which had solid lifters in 1955 seemed to run very well. I would mainly street race against the many 1952-53 Fords with straight drive 239 Flatheads. The Flatheads would stay with me through low gear and then drop off after that. I even raced a 52-53 six cylinder Ford hot rod once and the guy had five buddies who got out to lessen the load. That really wasn’t a competitive race against that Ford six cylinder as the 235 ran away with it in low gear at the start.

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