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1970 SS 396

Rich Recupero

Eatontown, N.J.


Team Chevelle Member #442

My story goes as follows;
From the age of 10 back in 1970 I started my fascination with the Chevelle. At the time my dad had owned a 1965 Malibu of which he purchased new in '65. After having an accident with it he went on to purchase in 1971, a used 1969. I was hooked, at thirteen I started saving my pennies for my first Chevelle. By the time I was 16 I had $800.00 and by 17 in 1977 I had my first Chevelle, a 1971 White Malibu - it was beautiful. In the next several years I had owned three Chevelles and a sleeper Monte Carlo.

By 1982 in order to raise funds for my wedding and my first home I had to part with my Chevelle and some other projects, needless to say it was a heart breaking time, however I always knew that one day I would purchase another Chevelle.

Fast forward to Jan of 1999 - 17 years later - married - two children, third house and settled. After attending many car shows over the years my need to own and restore a Chevelle was stronger then ever. I couldn't keep myself away from the internet searching every conceivable website where muscle cars were for sale. I spent hours and hours browsing and printing ads. The phone calls, then the car trips. The search was on. In Oct of 1999 after being disappointed time and time again, my search had ended. I stumbled across the ad on Team Chevelle. I contacted the owner by email. The following week I had a full set of pictures in my mail box. My wife, having been very educated through the search of what I was looking for, called me at work and said "This is the one, when you come home from work and see the pics I think you'll agree." Sure enough she was right.

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The following weekend we loaded up the kids and drove 4 hours to see the car. It was as described - perfect condition matching numbers car with all of its original parts and only 55,000 original miles. I knew this was the best unmolested original car I had seen but I was overwhelmingly nervous and got cold feet, plus I wasn't sure if I wanted a green car. My wife was angry with me for not making an offer. As I left the owner gave me a video tape that the second owner prepared on the history of the car. He also showed me the protecto plate attached to the original warranty, the original owners manual, an original set of keys, titles and other documentation with the car.

A week later I decided to watch the tape, it was great-a full story on the first owner and how he purchased it. He had bought the car new in California when he was 56 years old, he sold it 21 years later at the age of 77. Him and his wife were the only drivers, his children we not permitted to drive the car. The next owner was in his early 50's and the owner I bought the car from was 36. Needless to say that Monday I was on the phone with the current owner and made the deal. The car was delivered a week later. I was 39 when I bought the car, it seems no one younger than 36 has ever driven the car, thus the reason for it's original condition.

Over the 18 months I have owned the Chevelle, I have done a complete restoration. I have kept and restored most of the original parts. I brought the car as close as possible if not better to it's original show room condition. The condition and previous care of the car made the restoration very enjoyable, no rust, very little grime. All in all an amazingly clean car.

The 396 was rebuilt, the only upgrades to the motor were forged pistons and Pertronix conversion, all other internals are stock. Behind the 396 is a stock TH400 with a 331 rear.

The suspension and undercarriage are completely restored, everything was removed and replaced as needed. I guess you can say it was a partial body off - I raised the body off of the frame to access the areas that would have been otherwise impossible to get to, also needed some room to replace the fuel, vapor and brake lines.

august2001_interior.jpg - 11026 Bytes The interior is original with the exception of the AM/FM Stereo - a correct 1970 radio, and the addition of rear speakers. The speaker grills are correct original 1970 and the package tray is new. The seats were disassembled and fitted with new padding - the vinyl is original. The original carpet was removed, cleaned and replaced. The dash was disassembled, cleaned, new A/C vents installed and all reassembled.

The A/C system is completely restored and was refilled with R12 - Nothing like those old GM A/C systems.

This car is my dream come true - I had always wanted a brand new SS, but I was too young in 69 and 70 to buy one. Now I can honestly say with all the dollars and time spent, my wife's and children's support and all the help from my fellow Team Chevelle members - I have one to drive, thank you to all.

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For more pictures and information on the restoration please visit my web site My70SS.com

Richard & Angelique Recupero
TC #442 - richr


Team Chevelle would love to feature your Car on one of our future monthly articles.
If selected as a feature, we will send you a high quality Team Chevelle license plate!

To take part, send a few quality pictures to us and as much information as you can (we LOVE reading about Chevelles!)
Note: preference is given to submitted photos, unless you have access to high quality scanning equipment, we would prefer to do the image work and touch-ups.

Al McKenzie, Box 68, Porthill Idaho, 83853

or: Al McKenzie, Box 231, Creston, B.C. Canada, V0B-1G0