Tree Damaged: 1967 Chevrolet Chevelle SS 396

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There are many reasons why a classic car can spend years in hibernation, and Mother Nature can take a toll on the unwary. This 1967 Chevrolet Chevelle SS 396 is a prime example. It sat since 1978 following damage inflicted by a falling tree. Repairing that issue would not be difficult, but rust has since gotten its claws into the classic steel, meaning the new owner faces a major restoration project. If you feel up for the challenge, the Chevelle is listed here on eBay in Louisville, Ohio. Bidding sits below the reserve at $7,400, although there is a BIN option of $11,000.

The seller indicates this Chevelle last saw active service in 1978. This shot reveals the damage to the trunk and roof inflicted by a falling branch. However, that panel damage is the tip of the iceberg regarding the work required before the new owner applies a fresh coat of Marina Blue paint. There is rust, and the deeper we dig, the worse it gets. It has afflicted the rear quarter panels, around the back window and parcel tray, and the trunk opening channel. From there, things head downhill in a hurry. There are the usual problems with the floors and trunk pan, but the seller indicates the rear frame rail on the passenger side has rusted beyond repair. They think the buyer would be better served to locate a replacement frame than repair what is there. Suddenly, this project is becoming pretty expensive. The glass, including the removed windshield and back window, appears in good order. Some trim pieces are salvageable, while others require restoration or replacement.

Although it isn’t specified, it appears this SS hasn’t fired a shot since 1978. However, purists will be pleased to learn that it is mechanically 100% original and numbers-matching. Its engine bay houses the L35 version of the company’s 396ci V8. That big-block sent 325hp to the 12-bolt rear end via a three-speed TH-400 automatic transmission. The original owner also equipped the car with power assistance for the steering and four-wheel drum brakes. The SS 396 was a genuine muscle car, and even though this configuration was the most conservative within that year’s offerings, it could still gallop through the ¼-mile in 15.3 seconds before climbing to 133mph. The sheer quantity of corrosion visible in the engine bay raises serious questions about the condition of the drivetrain components. It obviously spent the last forty-five years in a damp environment because rust has begun consuming items like the battery tray. If the engine turns freely, coaxing it back to life might be possible. However, with so much corrosion, it is safe to say that the perishable items and seals have deteriorated significantly. Therefore, budgeting for a complete mechanical rebuild could be wise.

As with the rest of the car, this Chevelle’s interior is complete and appears unmolested. It features a bench seat, air conditioning, and an AM radio. There are no visible aftermarket additions, but that is a minor consideration. This classic is consistent because only a total retrim will return the inside of the SS to its former glory. There is plenty of surface corrosion on the painted surfaces, and most plated trim pieces show bubbles and blisters. With so much requiring restoration or replacement, this aspect of the build will leave no change from $2,500.

If this Chevelle’s new owner faced little beyond the tree damage and tired paint to return the desirable classic to its former glory, I am sure it would have received more than the current seven bids. As we’ve seen, no aspect of the car will escape their attention, and it won’t be a cheap process. It will entail stripping the car to the last nut and bolt before the grinder and welder work overtime. Potential buyers must also consider the mechanical work required before the big-block again fires a shot in anger. With those thoughts in mind, is it a project you would consider tackling?

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  1. RamoneMember

    Those 11 years of use were tough ones.

    Like 11
    • Kevin Kendall

      Passed on one just like this in 84,guy fired the non original small block up & it sounded like the engine wasn’t long for this world,I wound up buying the LS5 M22 car sitting beside it,still have it(currently being restored)

      Like 5
    • Maggy

      I agree but the 45 years of non use look like they were even a little tougher .

      Like 7
      • Bob

        Some cars got into the wrong hands as this one proved! If this was parked inside after the obvious damage it would be a whole different story. I’ll pass…..

        Like 4
    • DON

      Id go out on a limb here and say this was thrashed to death by 1978 when it was a $500 car, when the engine let go. Then it sat outside for years and in that time a tree or something fell on it, and since it was already trashed, it was just left to sit and rot

      Like 5
  2. oilngas

    Typical Ohio car. I remember a 68 El Camino that came to Texas in 77 or 78. It was in worse shape than this one. Both quarters were missing up to the middle of the rear bumper.

    Like 1
  3. Howie

    Was the tree growing in salt water?

    Like 9
    • Chris Webster

      A mangrove branch perhaps?

      Like 1
    • Eric Kam

      Another worthless car pulled outta a field someone is trying to find a sucker to buy. Nothing special here. Bench seat, column shift automatic w/manual windows. Every inch of car rusted. A much needed bead blasting of the body, or acid dipping, to remove all rust, old paint, sealant, and filler to see exactly what there is to work with. Since it’s such a common optioned basic 67 Chevelle SS the cost to make a decent driver is even way to high. Especially when taking the selling price into the equation.
      Pass on this one. Unless making a demolition car and not fixing up.

      Like 0
  4. Sam

    Lots of money for a vin tag and parts.

    Like 0
  5. R.Lee

    What a shame, highly desirable car that sat and took the weather after a umm, tree fell on it. Great color combination and looks to been able to fix rather easily. What a shame someone did not care for it to be covered.

    Still looks like it could be saved. And if all the original parts are still there, has air, power drum brakes and steering, cowl tag. I would toss down 5K without a look. At 7,400 maybe he should take the bid at close.

    Like 7
  6. Steveo

    A lot better beaters are available for that money.

    Like 3
  7. Maggy

    I personally wouldn’t tackle this one as it will take a lot more $ then the car is worth when your done. 3 to 5k car tops imo. Pretty much a parts car at this point of deterioration.I’d take the 7500 that it’s up to now and be very happy with that .

    Like 9
  8. Bob

    Would make a great retro late model roundy round car but not at any price they feel they’re entitled to. People need to stop thinking they should be rewarded for abusing a classic.

    Like 5
  9. Gary Gary

    Definitely will be a labor of love to bring this one back.

    Like 5
  10. John W Kriegshauser

    Its in bad enough shape to really question why you would want to attempt a restoration on this Chevelle…and then I see its an automatic on the column. Forget it!

    Like 3
  11. Taconix

    This car needs everything. The terminal block on the driver’s side inner fender is not original.

    Like 1
  12. Gary

    Typical rotted overpriced Chevy. Good parts car is all.

    Like 1
  13. Dan H

    The trailer hitch looks like it’s restorable.

    Like 2
  14. bone

    ” The original owner also equipped the car four-wheel drum brakes” ? Id say that what you’d get unless you specified differently back then

    Like 1
    • Kevin Kendall

      Kinda like bench seats,standard equipment unless the bucket seats box was checked,67 was the first model year disc brakes were available on the Chevelle

      Like 1
    • John M Stecz

      Would like to have the engine to put into my 67 Camaro ,SS roller !

      Like 0
  15. karl

    11G ? Thats one expensive VIN plate

    Like 0
  16. John L.

    This is not even a good parts car. Even the parts would require extensive restoration.

    Like 1
  17. Robert Levins

    Don was right, this car was trashed by 1978. The fact that it has a trailer hitch tells me it did a lot of towing because it could. 396. Remember, come late 1973, nobody wanted these cars because they were deemed “Gas hogs”. Everybody panicked when the Oil Embargo hit and cars like this either sat or they got put to “work” utilitarian style, (towing). Yeah, this car was well used.Good luck though. Thanks for a great article!

    Like 0
  18. Jason

    I agree with Frank, The trailer hitch does with a lot of work seem to be restorable. Once that’s removed everything else could be thrown away. Have it acid dipped and recrhromed, And you’ve got a real beauty onYour hands!

    Like 0
  19. Rick R

    Its sad but so many old muscle cars ended up like this one or worse. The thing is that not many people from back in the day had any idea that the muscle cars would be so collectable 50 to 60 years from than. Even if a person did, they would have had to have the money to buy them and a decent place to store them all those years.

    Like 1
  20. Richard

    Looks like it sold for $7300

    Like 0

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