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SS Chad's 69 Build

4913 Views 29 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  Woj
I've been procrastinating on this build thread but it's time to get it done. I recently "finished" restoration of my November-built Kansas City 69 SS.

Here's the story (or just scroll down to see the pics):

When I was 15 my dad and I bought a 69 Malibu. It was my high school car and I vowed never to sell it due to all the "old" guys who said they wished they had never sold their first car. It sat in storage (corn crib) for many years and one day I got the idea to start gathering parts to restore it. Once I started collecting parts I thought it would be best to find a Super Sport to restore and save the Malibu for a later date.

I began looking for a project in about 2004. I had no illusions about a cheap build so I never put a budget together for the project. I knew what I wanted and I was willing to take the long route to get it. Check that box. After looking around a bit I came across an eBay ad for a car that had everything I wanted: a great, unique color that I like, bucket seats, 4 speed and AC (yes, I’m that old).

The car didn’t sell on eBay so I called the owner and made an appointment to see it. It was about 3 hours away from me so I hooked onto the trailer one Saturday morning and, with cash in hand, headed out. I wanted to drop the gas tank and find a build sheet this was going to be my “go or no-go” for purchasing the car. This was because the car came without the original motor or tranny and the rear end is an April, 69 replacement due to an accident.

I got to the guy’s place, dropped the tank and there was no sheet. I went ahead and offered him a little less than I had brought with me and he agreed to sell the car.

Here are a couple pictures from the original eBay ad in February, 2006:


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As I mentioned before, there were certain things I was looking for and this car had all of them. In addition it had a factory tach and 3:55 posi rear. I then began the task of finding and buying all date matching components and having them restored. This included heads, manifolds, water pump, distributor, alternator, etc. The car’s prior owner directed me to a date and stamp-correct block in Little Rock, AR so I made the trip and picked that up as well. I purchased a correct, rebuilt Muncie M21 from Wayne Euper near Kansas City that has never been stamped and I was pretty well set for power train.
When I brought the car home I didn’t have a shop in mind to restore it. I put it in a garage and began the search for someone who I could trust to do the car right and who wouldn’t think I was crazy for wanting to restore this basket case. A couple years later I found a local guy who does terrific work in a very deliberate way (which means you’re going to WAIT). I started doing just that – I waited 3 years for a spot in his shop and delivered the car in November of 2010. This was mainly to get it out of storage since he had another car he was still finishing up.

He got to work in Feb, 2011 by cutting the roof off followed quickly by the rear package tray & seat divider, trunk pan, etc.


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The more we cut on the car the more we decided to take off and replace. I already had a three piece trunk pan that came with the car as well as full quarters. We decided to go all-in on the rear sheet metal with a full trunk pan as well as drop offs and inner and outer wheel wells. The trunk gutter was poor and the package tray had been cut for speakers so I wasn’t crazy about them either. I’ll address them on the next page.


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Here’s a quote from the seller’s eBay ad: “FRAME HAS NO VISIBLE DAMAGE FROM ANY WRECKS”. BS. Maybe this is something I should have noticed from seeing the car in person when I bought it so I never found fault with the seller for saying this but the car had been wrecked and had severe damage to the left rear spring pocket. There were cracks in the pocket and frame which had been welded, patched and begun to crack again. The spring pocket was pitched up and forward and was a mess.

I first bought new spring pockets and then decided to do a search for a replacement frame. I got (very) lucky and found a 69 Malibu shell nearby in Springfield, IL that had a very nice frame. In addition it had a great tail panel, trunk gutter, seat divider and package tray. I used all these things and junked the rest of the car.

In the process of searching I found that, although any 68-72 A-body frame will work, a 69 frame is unique. As I’ve pointed out on a couple of threads here on Team Chevelle the rear wheel arches on a 69 have recesses along the top that the rear wheelhouses fit into. A 70-72 frame is beveled in this area, not recessed. A 68 frame is different in the front crossmember so I was very happy to find a 69 frame for my car. I had the original date stamp cut from the old frame and patched into this one.


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The next couple years was a little “fast and slow” due to the nature of the restoration (panel replacement looks like great progress; small metal work looks minimal) and the fact that the shop took on another project shortly after mine was started. The 59 Impala that came in was supposed to be minor body work plus sand and shoot. Turned out to be a LOT more so some of the focus that should have been on my car went to that one.


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Any project needs a deadline so I decided I wanted to show my finished chassis and motor at the local car show in September, 2013. With that goal in mind I delivered the date and code-matching block to the engine builder with all the date-matching parts. I got a call from Walt (my builder) about a week later telling me he was going to have to sleeve every cylinder if I wanted to use that block. Turns out the cylinders were so pitted on the backside they would be too thin if bored to clean up. I chose not to use that block but went with a virgin, standard bore CLB block. This kind of stinks since I now have two more dated blocks, one with a perfect stamp that would be great for the car.

I delivered the complete motor to the body shop in July of 2013 and we started putting it all together. We JUST made the show in September (minus one headlight).

After the show we installed the complete Gardner chambered exhaust system. Very happy with that!


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After the 2013 show my body man needed to spend some time on the other car in his shop and I needed to spend some time away from the hobby. Summer 2013 had been pretty intense.

The owner of the Impala in the shop was getting very anxious to have his car back. I agreed not to complain (too much) if my body man worked on that car and got it out of the shop first. It took longer than we both thought it would as Impala repop parts are no better than the ones we deal with in the Chevelle world.

We finally got back into full swing on my car in June of 2015. Color went on in July and then it was block, polish, drop on the chassis, vinyl top and final assembly.


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I had given in to the fact years ago that, without documentation or the original drivetrain, the only proof of provenance for this car as a genuine SS was the often discussed “L” on the Kansas City cowl tag. (I’m making no claims here so this will not be a discussion about the validity of the “L” hypothesis.)

I decided to ask someone I know in St. Louis who owns a dealership to do a Missouri title search for me. He agreed to do so and quickly got back to me with the names of the first 5 owners of the car! After some research I found the car was sold to Rick K after he graduated high school in 1968. Rick did indeed put the car in a ditch early in 1969 which caused the damage to the frame already documented. He traded the car to his buddy, Larry M, early in 1972 for Larry’s 67 Chevelle SS. Larry wanted a 69 to replace the one he had bought new and totaled. Dumb kids.

I’ve been in contact with both Rick and Larry and they’ve provided me with pictures of the car from April, 1970 and April, 1972. Love the day 2 look, especially the Cragars Larry put on the car!

Unfortunately the trail goes cold after that as the next two owners are either dead or in prison (no joke) and the fifth owner won’t return my attempts to contact him. Rick and Larry did confirm this was a 350hp, 3.55 posi, chambered exhaust car. Very cool.


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I took the car to a shop in Springfield, IL for final tuning, AC charge and front end alignment. I then brought it back to the body shop for some final tweaking on things like door and quarter glass. (Do NOT get me started on the junk repop glass on the market.)

Rolled the car out of the shop for the final time June 3rd, 2016!


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I saw this beautiful car in person at the NOCC show this past weekend. It's about as perfect a restoration as you can get. I love that color too. Congrats Chad. In the last pic I think that's Chad on the left and Roger Day on the right. Roger came from Texas with that Monaco Orange Dick Harrell COPO 427 Chevelle seen next to Chad's SS.
I've learned a great deal about these cars that I didn't know when I started and I've had some great help along the way. I want to thank a lot of folks.

Thanks to:

Dan Vasic (Postsedan) - Dan is one of the best 69 guys in the business and continually steered me in the right direction for parts and assembly.
Greg Cullum - never a more generous guy
Rick Nelson - actually learned some things about 69's, didn't you, Rick? :thumbsup:
Von Cassidy (von)
Jerry Welter (cheveslakr)
Dave Birdwell
Chris Carney (ccarney69)
Phil Woj (Woj) Not going to try to spell your last name, Phil!
Original owners Rick K. and Larry M. for the pictures and info
My buddy Brian (BKRSS396) for going first :D

Super Special thanks to Russ Lael Restorations for doing a top-notch job and matching my attention to detail
Double Super Special thanks to my wife Stacy for putting up with everything - especially the endless boxes showing up on our porch!

Dan Vasic, of course
Steve Gregori (brake booster)
Karp's Brake Service (master cylinder)
Wayne Wiles (steering column)
Wayne Euper (transmission)
Ken Bruno (alternator)
Dan Kirkconnell (fan clutch)
Steve Hackel (wiper motor)
Eric Jackson at Vintage Musclecar (carb)
Rick Nelson (anything Rick does is golden)
Performance Plating (pot metal plating)
Tri City Plating (bumpers)
Walt Gillespie (motor)

Thanks to anyone else I've forgotten who have made this one possible. I won't do it again! :smile2:
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Von, you're right. That's Roger and me on the last day of the show before we loaded our cars up.

Good to see you last weekend!
Really looks nice. I was thinking about using repop glass on my 69. Sounds like I will run into problems?
Only if you're SUPER picky like me. I just didn't like the temper marks in the new glass. You can really only see it if you're wearing polarized glasses.

The first set I got just had a bad shape. The other two sets had good shape but temper marks. It has to do with modern production methods. They all have them now.

Great spending time with you this weekend at NOCC....All of your time, money, aggravation, patients and will power paid you now have the beautiful 1969 SS396 Chevelle of your dreams. I was glad to help.

See you next year at the NOCC or if not MCACN.

Thanks, Dan. Great to spend time with you and Cuz! :D
Thanks, Dan. Great to spend time with you and Cuz! :D
Car looked great :thumbsup:
It has been an absolute pleasure following along with this car over the last several years. Also, thanks for allowing me to restore some of the component parts for you. You will now have to take back all those anal restoration (meaning crazy about small details) jokes you made as you have now joined the ranks of us anal retentive type people. I have yet to see the completed car and very much look forward to it. You also need to purchase as wide and tall period correct rear tire, skinny front tire and some Cragers for that occasional Day II look. ;)
WOW Chad. What a gorgeous 69.Looks like it was worth all the effort.
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