Team Chevelle member #15
In July, 1997, I started the search for a '69 Chevelle SS396. The plan was to find one with automatic and black bucket seat interior in order to eventually "restify" it to the way I would have ordered one in 1969. The automatic was for the original plan to make it a combination cruiser and E.T. bracket drag racer. The other "new" equipment was to be: Garnet Red paint with black SS side stripes, L78 engine, and 3.73 or 4.10 posi differential. I wanted a decent, mostly original condition or partially restored car and make gradual improvements as the budget allowed. The search was before I discovered the internet and therefore was limited to local and regional Trader type publications. In October, 1997 I located one about 130 miles from home. Although it wasn't as nice as I wanted and had a 4 speed, I liked it because it had the floor pan and quarters replaced and had the black bucket seat interior. It also had the required SS package, big block, and 12 bolt rear end in place, as well as headers and a Hurst shifter. It had no documentation and the numbers didn't match, but that was OK since I didn't want to be stuck with restoring it to original specs anyway. I knew it was an original SS by the SS-only equipment it had, and the 72 paint code (Monaco Orange - only available on the SS package in '69) on the cowl tag. I didn't realize until I closed the deal that the car was a 13437 300 Deluxe (hardtop). Though most of the spartan 300 Deluxe interior had been replaced over time with Malibu items. I later found out the 300 Deluxe based '69 SS's were a lot more rare than than the Malibu SS's.
Of course, after getting it home and inspecting it more thoroughly, I discovered it needed more work and parts than I thought. If only I knew then what I know now about Chevelles. My immediate goal was to make it at least presentable and mechanically reliable for summer '98. I pulled the 396 and rebuilt it, adding an L78 cam, lifters, and LS-6 valve springs. I also resealed the Muncie M20, replaced the clutch, detailed the engine compartment, rebuilt the suspension and brakes, reupholstered the seats, and replaced some exterior trim pieces. After attending Chevellabration in '98 and some local car shows with it, I changed my plans for it from drag racer/cruiser to show car/cruiser. The continuing improvements and parts replacements led to the decision in October '98, go ahead with the "big one".
In November, '98, I began a year-long restification project by completely disassembling the car and chemically stripping the entire body. Considerable rust repair and correction of previous poor body work was required. The fire wall and frame were also stripped and repainted. The body was raised off the frame and new body mount bushings and new fuel line were installed. The body finally received its new Garnet Red base coat/clear coat paint in late August, '99. Two months were required to reassemble everything and detail the trunk, dash and other items. New weatherstripping, fuzzies, windshield, headliner, more trim pieces, and other items were installed.
This winter so far has seen a complete rear end rebuild with 3.73 gears and new tires, with bumper rechroming and the addition of an L78 intake and carb planned. Future plans call for an L72 or LS-6 or similar engine and the possible replacement of Malibu interior items with 300 Deluxe (if can be found in good condition or new).
All work was performed by myself with the exception of the final paint finish. The assistance of Team Chevelle and it's members was a big help as was the patience of my wife.
I've learned a lot about Chevelles since puchasing this car.
Presently this Chevelle is equipped as follows:
- 300 Deluxe hardtop with SS package
- Black vinyl bucket seat interior, no console
- 1969 Chevelle 52 Garnet Red paint
- SS sport stripes
- Power steering
- Power disc brakes (std SS)
- Custom Autosound AM/FM radio
- 396, 350 hp engine with 375 hp cam and lifters
- MSD 6AL ignition box (hidden)
- Headers and 2 1/2" full exhaust system with Dynomax Super Turbo mufflers
- Muncie M20 trans with Hurst C/P shifter
- Positraction 12 bolt differential with 3.73 gears
- Polyurethane rear suspension bushings
- '69 SS sport wheels
- BFG TA radial tires, P225/70R-14
A photo background of Von's 69 is available here.