Rust-Free Patchwork Quilt: 1971 Chevelle SS 454

Sure, all the sheet metal isn’t original any more–but that might be a small price to pay if this 1971 SS 454 Chevelle really is rust-free. It’s listed for sale here on eBay without a reserve, and bidding has already passed $13,000. Livonia, Michigan is where you’ll have to pick it up from if you are the high bidder. As it’s forecast to be a high of 6 degrees F in Livonia (-14.4 C) on Friday when the auction ends, I think I might send someone else to pick it up for me!

The car has a reproduction hood, but NOS GM fenders and quarter panels have been added. The seller maintains the car never rusted, but I can’t see replacing all those body parts if not for rust, and that’s exactly why the quarters were replaced — the car originally had a vinyl top and it undoubtedly rusted at the edges. At least if they are factory GM panels they should fit well, and it does look like the fits are good in the pictures.

This is a genuine SS 454 car based on the VIN and several features present. I think the car will look great once it’s repainted in the original code 53 Placer Gold as seen on the door. The seller does report some minor shelf damage to the new panels, so you’ll probably need to complete some body work prior to painting.

On the inside, things aren’t quite so nice, although they are original. The seller recommends reupholstering the seats and replacing door panels and quarter (kick) panels as well. They do say the dash is in good shape.

While this isn’t the original engine, it is a 1971 LS5 454 that has recently been rebuilt. Minor internal modifications have been made to the engine but it is basically a stock rebuild. The seller has all the air conditioning parts as well, and they are included in the auction. What do you think about this Chevelle?


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  1. KSwheatfarmer

    Paint and a little TLC good to go.

  2. Superdessucke

    It reminds me of those multi colored VW Golfs from the 1990s, only bigger, louder and a lot more expensive.

    • Olaf E

      VW Harlequin, Golf and Fox (Polo).

  3. Robert René

    Gorgeous vehicle and great paint scheme too! Good luck, neighbor! (From Windsor, On. Canada)

  4. Troy s

    Good looking car, these have always been popular with the street crowd, drag racer’s, and basically anyone who likes cool cars. It’s no LS6, but still plenty fun to drive, and the curbside appeal is huge with these!🚓🚓🚓

  5. Steve R

    The VIN alone will not tell you if this is a factory SS, let alone a 454 SS. For production years 1969-1971 you need a protect-o-plate, build sheet or matching number drivetrain to verify. Even then you need to watch out for faked documentation and restamped blocks.

    Steve R

    • Mike

      Thank you for beating me to this. I want to know how they can figure out real SS by vin number alone. I have heard some Canadian built with certain color are good, but without the paperwork, I question all of them.

  6. Joseph Wayne Haddock

    Why wouldn’t a stock 454 SS have a full guage package? Nice car but I wouldn’t bet on it being a true SS.

    • Steve R

      Tach and gauges were always optional, they were never part of the SS package. The instrument cluster is correct for an SS that did not have tach and gauges, non-SS cars would have come with a sweeping speedometer as standard equipment. You could also order tach and gauges with El Camino’s and Malibu’s.

      Steve R

    • Mike

      Zooming in, does anyone else see filled in Monte Carlo dash holes? Even more suspect

      • MDW66

        See Steve Rs response right cluster when guage package not ordered

  7. Frank

    As is ready to go!

  8. 86 Vette Convertible

    Good question. Unless “A LOT” of parking lot dings or comparable, doesn’t make sense about all the sheet metal replacements. If it was done well and there’s no hidden rust or other damage, could be a fun car once done.

  9. Steve

    A few years ago my older brother lucked into a 71 El Camino SS that his wife’s grandpa bought new. Unfortunately gramps went to a nursing home. It was in decent shape and still ran and drove, no rust to speak of. He gave the family $1500 for it. It was a big block car originally, but grandpa swapped a smog 350 into in in the interest of fuel mileage. Somehow the LS5 got lost in the shuffle. The car was dark green with black SS stripes, TH400 auto, and AC. People think “SS” meant you got the full package. It had a tilt column and the tach in the dash, SS domed hood, 12 bolt (not sure if posi or not. Did SS automatically include posi?), front discs, F41 larger sway bar in front. I don’t recall whether it had a rear sway bar or not, BUT it was bench seat, column shift auto. He found a complete running $1000 ’71 LS5 and TH400 out of a station wagon , of all things. He was going to restore it, but he and his wife decided to build a house, and needed cash. Since I had a 71 EC in high school, non ss 350/350, lemans blue with black bench interior that I added a 70 SS dash, hood and disc brakes to , he gave me first shot, but he got an offer for $7500 and I couldn’t meet it.

  10. 123pugsy

    This will hit 20 G’s easy.

    That floor is absolutely rust free. Trunk drops, inner rockers, door bottoms, this is the real deal for rust free.

  11. Pete

    That is a solid platform to begin from. Far better than most that haven’t been totally redone already.

  12. Mark

    Correct Steve R. about the sweeping speedo since I have one. The underbody is very clean!!

  13. Dt1

    The only thing that I’m Concerned with is that most supersports come A tachometer this one doesn’t have 1

    • Chevelle SS

      No, the gauge package was optional, right down to whether there was a clock or not.”SS” badging was just that, part of a trim package and even there you could delete the stripes.

      Got to have the build sheet to verify anything.

  14. sluggo

    For a 50 year old car seems like a nice platform to build on to me, Be interesting final price, But these have been solid investment hotrods whether restored, Period Mod, Or Restomod.
    We have a 68 & 69 pair of Malibu’s,,
    As to rust?? Define how much is a problem? Any 50 yr old car will have at least SOME!. In the pacific NW we dont salt roads (Well, apparently now they are) so generally what we see is areas that clog with leaves, pine needles and dirt tend to plug up, and you get rust. Patch panels are easy for most common areas. IE: Door bottoms, bottoms of front quarters/fenders, Drainwell on either side of the trunk and usually around windshield and rear window on the vinyl roof cars. But the cancer rarely penetrates the frame and structures that matter.
    Rust does NOT mean terminally ill,
    Personally,, I prefer small block for these if you want to drive it much. The big block is fun for short rides, but not much fun for a daily or every weekend driver.

  15. Ray.

    THAT … would be the perfect replacement for the 71 Chevelle the State of California forced me to sell in the early 90’s or go to jail ! . Sniffle.
    Mine was rootbeer brown, with a small block 400, black bucket seat interior and no A/C.
    Nuff said, I don’t want to think about it.

  16. Henry Drake

    I hate to be cliche, because I usually like the odd ones, but man I just do not care for the front and rear ends on the 71 and 72s. Give me a 70 all day long.

  17. junkman Member

    Back in 99 I got one of these a 71 SS 454 bench seat 4 speed power disc brakes and manual steering with a cowl hood and vinyl top that needed a full resto, so being a car guy I did all the mechanicals, had quarters, floors and fenders, new bumpers, glass,headliner, door panels. And more, spent 27k and it was beautiful, long story short I advertised it in Hemmings and a couple magazines took 3 years to sell and I ended up getting 18k for it. Not a hot item!

  18. Willybill

    Yes please

  19. Chevelle SS

    There is an inner fender brace that runs from the top of the fender to the bottom, right behind the wheel opening. It’s about 3″ wide and maybe 1/2″ deep. It has a hole, about 1″ diameter at the bottom, that was part of the “flow-through” rocker panel washout system that was supposed to allow water flow through and out drain holes at the rear of the rocker panels. Good idea, bad execution. The holes would quickly clog with leaves and other organic detritus which would hold moisture leading to rapid rust-through. I’ve seen otherwise beautiful, low – mileage examples with rust blowouts right behind the front wheel wheels! Typical Chevelle rust point.

  20. six t 8

    Rear quarters were replaced by second owner due to the rust from vinyl top. Just have to read the e-bay ad for details.

  21. J coburn

    I am not a expert but where is the factory tach in dash.

  22. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    Sold for $15,600.
    I wonder how much he could have gotten if it was painted up nicely.

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