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SS 396 Minus 396 = ???

Let’s face it: you don’t buy an SS 396 to go around corners–you buy one to go from point A to point B very quickly in a straight line! Well, this 1970 Chevelle won’t do that very well right now unless A is at the top of a mountain and B is at the bottom–it’s missing the 396 in SS 396, as well as the four speed that used to be attached! The car is located right now in Holbrook, Massachusetts and is listed for sale here on eBay, where bidding is already at $10,000 and there’s no reserve. This one only has a little over a day left, so if you want it, bid to win!

The seller tells us that this is a true barn find car that has been tucked away since 1998 awaiting a restoration that never came. There’s no mention of what happened to the original engine and transmission, but they are long gone. The seller does explain some body issues, including floors with just small spots that need repair, as well as rear quarter work on both sides, front lower fender work, lower door work and trunk work that will be needed. It does appear straight and has no accident damage apparent to the seller.

Here’s an example of the lower fender and door rust you will be facing, in addition to the obvious bumps and bruises. You’ll also need to replace or somehow repair (I’m skeptical on that front) the vinyl top. However, given the way GM numbered things, you might actually be able to come up with an appropriate engine and transmission for this car. Or, I suppose you could put in a modern power plant and turn it into a restomod, but I think I’d save that for a less valuable shell.

Considering the claimed 96, 398 miles, the interior doesn’t look bad at all. The steering wheel is not original and while the barefoot gas pedal is completely period, I think I’d remove it as well.

Here’s the scene of the crime–I suppose only the Shadow knows where the original components ended up. Oh–there’s something else missing as well–a clear title. I realize there are legal ways of getting one, but things like that always make me just a little nervous. What about you? Does this meet your A to B requirements?


  1. Howard A Member

    Hmm, let’s see. What motor could we use,,,,no no, don’t help me,,,hmm, should be a motor with a pretty big block, something, say under 400 cubes, AH HA!!! Why not the motor from the ’69 Chevy truck? This is much more what I had in mind for a 396. The 1970, 396 Chevelle was a pretty hot car. Restored, these go for $50- $75 g’s or more, so I’d say it’s worth it.

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    • RSMAN

      Not with out numbers matching 396 engine and transmission.

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  2. Kevin

    572 with a 5 speed! Bodywork paint new Viynl top add A/C. Cool weekend cruiser for local shows and taking the kids for ice cream very quickly. And your done. Providing you have an extra $10 or $15,000 you have to spare. Unfortunately I don’t, I’m caught up with my 64 409 but still a cool car.

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  3. BradL

    $50k – $75k IF it’s a numbers matching car, which this isn’t and will likely never be. With a production run of more than 53,000, these aren’t particularly hard to find. I’d say $30k – $35k tops in restored condition with a replacement 396.

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  4. Jeffro

    I’m thinking LS1 SS. It’s not original. Make it a nice driver/show car. LS1 with 6 spd. 4 wheel disc. And tweak the suspension. Then you can do 1/4 mile or road track

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  5. Vince Habel

    Way too much already with no engine trans and title.

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  6. Ck

    S&J ENGINES out of Spokane Wa.sells remanufactured engines for pretty much anything and get this their warranty is unbelievable. Its 7yrs or100K miles and their prices are verry resonable .They will also build anything that you want .My point is they have a 396/402 for this car .If you want to check out the web site it’s https://www.sandjengines.com

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  7. mike d

    most probably know this, but since it seems to be an issue, the title, any vehicle ( won’t say just cars) in New York State before 73 had a transferable registration. all the current owner has to do is give a bill of sale with the VIN and sign it .. if there is paperwork from the previous owner, that would help also

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    • Rabbit

      Correct, but personally, I’ve always had the seller go with me to a notary & sign an affidavit. Can’t be too careful. Then you have the whole ‘fair market value’ thing for the tax when you go to register it. NY DMV’s really getting bad with that.

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    • RickG

      In Massachusetts you can’t get a title on a car that has past excise taxes owed. Another thing about Massachusetts cars is corrosion issues from road salt. This would be a bad investment.

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  8. redwagon

    is there a way to run a vin check to see if it was reported stolen before bidding? it would have to be all states not just the one where it is located or where you are.

    stuff like this makes me leery. it could be legit. it could be stolen. i do know that if you buy it and it is stolen you lose the money and the car.

    just sayin’

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    • Toolbox

      About NICB
      The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) is a not-for-profit organization that receives support from nearly 1,100 property and casualty insurance companies and self-insured organizations. The NICB partners with insurers and law enforcement agencies to facilitate the identification, detection and prosecution of insurance criminals.

      The vision of the NICB is to be the preeminent organization fighting insurance fraud and crime.


      NICB’s VINCheck is a free service provided to the public to assist in determining if a vehicle has been reported as stolen, but not recovered, or has been reported as a salvage vehicle by cooperating NICB member insurance companies. To perform a search, a vehicle identification number (VIN) is required. A maximum of five searches can be conducted within a 24-hour period per IP address.

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  9. mtshootist1

    Well, I am not that much of a car guy, but I will remember for the rest of my life running down the interstate on I-70 in Kansas one night in the spring of 1970 heading east in a 69 SS 396 Chevelle that my best friend owned. I was driving and running 115-130 mph. Straight line it could go. There wasn’t a much straighter road east-west than that stretch.

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  10. redwagon

    btw, i am in a particular mood right now and i am thinking that a stovebolt 6 mated to either a 4 or 6 speed manual would be great fun. blow someone’s mind when you pop the hood and see …… one rocker….. and one driver off their rocker!

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  11. Robbin

    There is a reserve on this car! Also, the eBay ad states the car is documented as a true SS396. It could very well be a true SS. However, the owner has no “actual” documentation of proof. One would need the original Protect-O-Plate warranty which contains the option listing; the build sheet; or the actual window sticker. Otherwise, there is no way to tell if this is a real SS as the VIN and cowl tags will only tell you the car is a ’70 Chevelle Malibu 2-Door Sport Coupe and the car color and top option. This year SS is probably the most cloned muscle car. Also, Chevrolet Division has build records only back to 1977. So, GM is no help. There are a couple very subtle ways and a few SS only parts that experts hold very close to validate a true SS. The car for sale is certainly a restoration candidate, but with a hefty investment. If not a true SS, when completed would be worth maybe $25K to $35K. Here is my ’70 SS454 under going some final restoration.

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  12. stillrunners stillrunners Member

    A numbers matching GM – aren’t those easy to do ?

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  13. geomechs geomechs Member

    The big issue here is NOT the engine and transmission but the accessories that go with them. Alternator brackets, power steering brackets, throttle linkage(s). The list goes on and on; you end up spending more time tracking down those items than you do, restoring the car. All that aside, I like the car and sure wouldn’t kick it out of my shop. For me, it would be as close to original as possible although I probably wouldn’t turn a 454 down. It’s still a big block….

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  14. RoughDiamond

    I thought I read where GM used their Canadian Division to document pretty much any GM VIN.

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    • MR Member

      You are correct- GM of Canada should have the records for this car. If you look at the door jamb sticker, and the cowl tag, it states “GM of Canada” stamped on it. The cowl tag also has the RPO codes – including M20 for the Muncie 4 speed.
      You can send the VIN to this website, and they can verify it for you: http://vintagevehicleservices.com/
      That is why the bid is so high. Of course, the door, cowl tag, a VIN could be from another car, if you want to play devil’s advocate.

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  15. William Bonjour

    Humm- no 396,no trans, no title. Remove the engine and trans hide the body for years with no title. Whats the old saying– Buyers beware.

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  16. jeff6599

    “Restomod” does not apply to a car already equipped with a ‘modern’ suspension, 4 link rear, F & R sway bars, P. steering, etc. When will we be satisfied with a car and not beat it to death by ‘driving the wheels off it”

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  17. Chimmy13

    I say throw a Cummings in it and make it a sleeper torque monster. Never mind the coal it throws!

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    • Chimmy13

      It was supposed to be Cummins, damn autocorrect. Note to self; check spelling and grammar before submitting!

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    • Howard A Member

      Hi Chimmy, that’s your answer for everything, throw a Cummins in there. Just kidding, although, while I like Cummins, this is probably one car I’d refrain from doing that, and btw, there’s nothing wrong with calling a Cummins, a Cummings. That’s what I called them for years.

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      • geomechs geomechs Member

        Hi guys. A Cummins would probably DROP. You wouldn’t even need to use drop spindles to get the front end down. I somehow can’t get around the idea of dropping a diesel work horse into this bay. But there are those who like to push the envelope in a different direction.

        Now I wasn’t there to see this but enough credible witnesses were. Some years ago a guy showed up at a show-n-shine with a ’70 Chevelle SS, with a Ford Boss 429/C-6 under the hood. He painted the motor Chevy orange and had bowties specially made to replace the Ford ovals on the valve covers. The install was very well done and gave the appearance that it was a factory job; it had a lot of Chevy fanatics fooled. When they found out what it was they wanted to kill him. The owner himself was a Chevy guy, and had the original 454/400 on a stand at home, ready to go in; he had seen enough Chevies in Fords and thought this would be a good protest. Anyways that’s another idea for you too….

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  18. Flmikey

    …can someone explain to me why this car is bringing more than a whole 70 Torino 429 cobra jet?

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    • Ck

      Sure…its a Chevelle SS.

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      • CapNemo


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  19. Ck

    Really? Where have you been? I guess you haven’t seen a classic car auction over the last decade or so.

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  20. Pete

    I can tell you the Corvette market has cooled down some. Parts and cars aren’t selling like they use too. You could lose in this car. If the car has no title Ibwiuld be very leary of this car. To me a car without a title isn’t worth the hassle. Besides if it turns up stolen you lose 😕

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