Same Family 50 Years: 1969 Chevelle SS 396

The muscle car movement had likely reached its pinnacle in 1969, and the Chevelle SS 396 was right upfront. This ’69 edition was built at Chevy’s Kansas City plant and stayed in town until 1998, after which it moved to Arizona where it’s been ever since. Although not in perfect running order from sitting, it will start with a set of jumper cables and some gas. It’s well-equipped and the seller speculates as to its rarity but it’s hard to determine how many were made with things like a remote mirror. The car is available in San Tan Valley, Arizona, and here on eBay where the bidding has reached $29,200, but there’s no reserve to deal with.

The seller acquired the Chevy out of the carport of the son whose parents had bought the car when it was two years old. He recently passed away and his family has no interest in keeping it any longer. At 95,000 miles, the original drivetrain is present and appears to run with a little coaxing, but anything sitting for a while will require attention. Like all new fluids and a change of most anything made of rubber. The Chevelle was a popular car in 1969 with more than a half-million of them built that year. 300,000 alone were the Malibu Sports Coupe which the SS 396 was based on. The L34 (396) engine with the TH-350 transmission went into some 5,000 copies (of which another 12,000 had a 4-speed).

For being partially exposed to the elements, the body and paint on this Chevelle have held up went. Far from Mecum quality, but great for Cars & Coffee as an original. The car was undercoated from new, which likely helped its cause as Midwestern winters where it lived for 30 years aren’t known to be kind to automobiles. There is evidence from inside the trunk where the driver’s side rear quarter panel was repaired after the father had an altercation with a pole while backing up. The interior of the machine looks to have held up well, although black duct tape has become part of the driver’s bucket seat.

We’re not sure if the paint is original and we know the left side rear quarter isn’t. While a powerful car when new, this SS was built for comfort, as well, with a long list of factory options. Air conditioning, tachometer, clock, shoulder harnesses, remote mirror, and bumper guards, to name a few. The seller has the car’s original build sheet to help the buyer better understand what he’s getting for his money. Besides it at least being a running car, it stops, too. When the seller loaded it onto his trailer, it came to a halt fine and the transmission behaved properly.

If restored, the car might be worth upwards of $60,000, according to NADA. But since most everything looks to be at least passable, I’d start by cleaning it up and focus on getting it running again. And then put some time and miles behind me before deciding to take it all apart. As the adage goes, they’re only original once.


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  1. Jay Bree

    Beware the vinyl top and the things it hides.

    Like 13
    • Robert Hedden

      Just had the vinyl roof replaced on my 72 Monte Carlo. Not one lick of rust underneath. Garage kept since coming off the lot though.

      Like 1
  2. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    Not for me but pretty nice for the right buyer. Not a very good duct tape job but kudos for using for the same color as the seat.

    Like 4
  3. PaulG

    It’s 1970 that’s arguably the pinnacle of the muscle car but this car could be built to represent a great street machine.

    Like 13
  4. Jonathan Scheel

    My first car in 1978 out of high school. Damn near killed myself many times. 160 mph speedometer, buried it many times. I don’t remember the gear ratio but it was slow off the line but top end didn’t exist. Finally wrapped it around a telephone pole. Would love to have it again.

    Like 1
    • 454RAT Member

      I’ve never heard of a 160 mph speedometer in a Chevelle. Could your car have possibly been a Canadian car with a kilometer speedometer in it?

      Like 7
    • Don Eladio

      160 mph in a Chevelle? First of all…no Chevelle had a 160 mph speedometer, lol. Secondly, there is not a Chevelle on earth that would do 160 mph without a humongous amount of modifications. Third of all, if you got any musclecar above 120-130, you would quickly realize that it’s quite a dicey situation to be in and, consequently, you would likely crap your pants.

      Ahhhhh…how we remember the past…with such rose-colored glasses.

      Like 7
      • John Weber

        I agree that the car didn’t have a speedo that went to 160 but I had buried my speedo over 120 a few times on the freeway and it held the road pretty well.I’m sorry I got rid of it.

    • Mark

      Sounds like a fish story…. 69 Chevelle’s had a 120 mph speedo. 120 maybe, 160 no way.

  5. Steve

    At $30k or more and the seller can’t put a working battery in it? I’ve worked Mecum auctions driving vehicles across the stage and you would not believe the cars that come and have no gas or have a bad battery, trans leaking or not functional, ect. When I’ve traded cars in or sold them outright they were spotlessly cleaned at least.

    Like 13
  6. Robert j. Williams

    Ive sold cars at mecum i alwqys bring the best running condition and detailed. A little effort goes a long way

    Like 2
  7. Norman Wrensch

    Big blocks never came from the factory with a turbo 350, all were 400’s

    Like 14
    • stillrunners stillrunners Member

      So they put a turbo 400 behind a 1965 396 car ?

      • Big_Fun Member

        No, not in ’65 – those Chevelles were all M20 4 speeds. Speaking on the automatic transmission only, in ’66 and ’67, you could get the 396 Powerglide combo. In ’68, you had your choice, Powerglide or TH400. In ’69 (and going foward), TH400 only. This also parallels the Full size Chevys (the ’65 396/325 horse could be had with a Powerglide or TH400).
        I hope this helps.

        Like 4
      • Don Eladio

        Duh, I think he was referring to the ’69 we are discussing…nice try though. He certainly responded well to your poking. Big Fun, well stated.

        Like 1
  8. charlie morrison

    I’m going to have to agree put a couple of hundred in it to at least have it started and running,but overall a nice detail and polish could make this for at least a few if not more summer before a tear down

    Like 3
  9. Tom

    Nothing screams flipper more than a guy who can’t wait to get the car off the trailer before taking pictures and posting it for sale.
    Like others have said, is it too much to ask for the seller to at least clean it up and get it running? Hard pass…

    Like 3
  10. Joe

    This car needs a lot of work that you can see, and work that you can not see $29.500 to much money.

    Like 2
  11. 454RAT Member

    Lots of rare options, like AC-168,000 made, Tach-24,000 made, clock-75,000 made, remote mirror-20,000 made, bumper guards-20,000 made? El Camino side stripe-1 made? This ”seller” either doesn’t know the definition of rare, or he is used to dealing in Corvairs only. The only thing rare about this car would be the vin number-1 of 1. Having whined about all of that, I will say this, it looks like an excellent car to buy and restore. It is all there, pretty much un-molested, and is a great color combo. Super nice car, but rare only because of it’s condition. If I had the cash, I would buy this car in a ”Heartbeat”.

    Like 3
    • Steve R

      Why restore it? Clean it up, fix the seat, make it mechanically sound, then drive it. Restoring it will cost a significant amount of money as well as adding a significant amount of down time and almost guarantee it will never get driven on a regular basis, except to various shows. That’s a lot of downside for very little in return.

      Steve R

      Like 3
  12. Kirk

    A 1969 chevelle will not do 120mph with any gear ratio . Possibly could break 160 in kilometers per hour on a good day

    • 454RAT Member

      You’re a joke. Go back to your Nopowr page. My 350 Malibu with its 2.56 rear end would run 120 all day, and not even breathe hard. You’re just used to Fords and Dodges.

      Like 1
  13. Don Eladio

    I’d drive the s#!+ out of it. Jack it up, maybe some bias-plys and Cragars, and some vintage drag stickers on the 1/4 windows.Oh yeah, and headers and ladder bars.

    Like 2
  14. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    Ended:Jun 13, 2021 , 4:59PM
    Winning bid:
    US $30,000.00
    [ 47 bids ]

    Like 1
  15. Matt Sheppard

    Brakes worked fine loading it on the trailer!!🤣🤣

    Like 1

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