Rock Solid: 1971 Chevrolet Chevelle SS 396

This 1971 Chevrolet Chevelle SS 396 offers potential buyers a thrilling motoring experience. With 375hp on tap, it is sure to grab the owner’s attention should they choose to push the pedal to the metal. It is in excellent condition for its age, but the owner has decided that the time is right to part with the potent classic. Located in Kempton, Pennsylvania, you will find the Chevelle listed for sale here on Craigslist. Hand the owner $31,500, and you could be driving away in this classic muscle car. I have to say a big thank you to Barn Finder Pat L for spotting this beauty for us.

Let’s tackle the elephant in the room first because the Chevelle is finished in Hugger Orange. That’s fine, except that it wasn’t a color that Chevrolet offered in the 1971 Chevelle range. That is the first clue that this car is not 100% original. Leaving that thought aside for a moment, you would have to admit that the Chevelle presents pretty well. The paint shines nicely, with no flaws or problems. The white strips have no defects, while the panels are as straight as you could hope to find. Rust is not an issue that will cause sleepless nights with this car. The panels appear to be clean, and the single shot of the vehicle’s underside seems just as promising. The Rally wheels are new, as is the windshield. The rest of the glass is flawless, which adds up to a classic that will grab attention wherever it goes.

The owner describes the interior as being beautiful, and I will admit that it presents well. Beautiful? Not quite. There has been a split of tear on the outer edge of the driver’s seat, and the repair work is not the greatest. It’s a shame, but it is hardly the end of the world. Some buyers would be able to live with it, but $210 will secure replacement covers for both front seats for those that can’t. The rest of the interior is pretty good, with no significant flaws or problems. The SS gauge cluster is clean and crisp, while the dash and pad are impressive. The wheel isn’t original, but that is in keeping with many aspects of this vehicle. The console adds a touch of class, and the Chevelle is fitted with an AM/FM stereo.

The paint color was the first sign that this SS isn’t original, and lifting the hood reveals the jackpot. The engine that we see is a 396ci V8, but it hails from a 1968 Camaro. This is the L78 version of the big block, and it should be producing 375hp. All of those ponies find their way to the rear wheels via a 3-speed Turbo 400 transmission. It appears that the motor has received a few performance enhancements, so the output figure could be slightly higher. If this is the case, then a sub-15-second ¼-mile ET is a definite possibility. The owner hasn’t merely focused on engine performance, because she has equipped the car with a 4-core radiator, power steering, F-41 suspension, and 4-wheel power disc brakes with cross-drilled rotors on the front. That means that this classic should go, stop, and handle better than your average SS. The Chevelle is a turn-key classic, and the owner says that it is super fun to drive.

This 1971 Chevrolet Chevelle is not 100% original, and that will put off some potential buyers. However, if it were a numbers-matching classic in this sort of condition, the asking price would be significantly higher. It would undoubtedly top the $50,000 and could even push past $60,000 on a good day. The price is half that figure, so potential buyers need to decide whether it ticks enough of the right boxes to justify the cost. It has been on the market for less than a day, so it will be interesting to see how quickly it sells.


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  1. Dave Rhodes

    video please !

    Like 1
  2. 86_Vette_Convertible

    It may be a ‘clone’ but this looks to be a car someone can get and drive and not worry about getting that first scratch or rock chip in it.

    Like 6
    • Steve R

      There are more than a few signs it’s a clone. The price and condition will probably keep it from being driven rather than if it is or isn’t a real SS.

      Steve R

      Like 5
    • PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

      86_Vette: My thoughts exactly! This is for the person that wants a turn key car that looks as good as a 50K+ real one, but you can drive it and not worry about it (as much).

      Like 1
  3. gbvette62

    It’s a little hard to tell from the ad if it’s a real SS, or a Malibu cloned. Hugger Orange is a great color, but Chevrolet offered a pretty nice Burnt Orange Metallic in 71, the looks good, and factory correct, on a Chevelle (I know, I have a Burnt Orange Metallic 71 El Camino). The stripes don’t look right to me, they don’t seem to be as wide as OEM ones were. That’s not an aftermarket steering wheel though. That’s the 4 spoke steering wheel commonly referred to as the Vega GT wheel, that was sold as the optional “Sport Steering Wheel”, on 71 Chevelles.

    Like 4
    • Tom

      A high school buddy of mine had a ‘71 SS454 that was burnt orange metallic. Nobody understands why I prefer the ‘71 over the ‘70. We had a lot of fun in that car! RIP Todd…

      Like 3
  4. Jcs

    I don’t know, seems to be an awful lot of Chevelle for the ask. Personally, I am surprised that the listing is still up.

    If she were in the SE I would be there inspecting her as we speak. Would love to hear if anyone has or knows more as the days go by.

    Like 6
  5. stephen r feind

    it would have been a 402 ci by 1971 right?

    • Roy Blankenship

      Yes, if it was original, but the article states the motor is a ’68 L78.

      Like 3
      • Glenn C. Schwass Member

        Very Clean. I lime the color. It will go quick at this price…

        Like 1
  6. Leoroy

    I always thought the stripe color was the same as interior color.

  7. John

    If I had one of these I’d put the ’70 dual headlights on grill on it. When they changed to the single headlight it really killed the look.

    Like 3
  8. DaveL

    I’m sure some one with a 1969 big block ss l78 Camaro would love to have that motor back in ir!! Killer Chevelle!

  9. Kevin

    This will be a fun car,yes not #s matching, oh well, that’s why it’s half the money, personally I would have fun with the high maintenance engine for about a week or so,then sell it due to its value, and swap in a lower maintenance, hydraulic, roller motor, I would not race it,so maybe even a small block would work.

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