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1966 Chevelle SS
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I put a deposit down on a verified 138 '66 SS. It's been sitting for 10 years and prior to was daily driven. Problem is, the bottom is completely rusted out, frame and pans. I know entire bottom pans including the trunk and any sheet metal is readily available and for a low cost. I'm not so much concerned with the work that needs to be done, but more so what the market value is on the vehicle in it's current condition. Some folks on here must've seen it on ebay. It had almost 60 watching it on eBay this past week. However due to the lack of photos and info posted, I think that might've kept people leary. In the end, I've verified after speaking with the owner and receiving a gallery of photos that the title and badges all have a consistent 138 VIN. Pricing is relevant to where you live I suppose, but given the fact that the underside needs a complete restoration and every panel has begun to rust a bit (I'm not sure how much is salvageable on the panel basis.) What's a reasonable price? Is this considered a project due to being a 138 or a donor because of the condition. I've been browsing the site for 3 straight days and seen the posts of "is it worth it" and "everything is restorable" which has given me hope, but I still don't want to be a fool and overpay just to get started. I'm even willing to pay on the higher end because of my timeline (see explanation below) but I don't want to be a complete fool and pay an outlandish amount.

Context/Side Note: This is just half the story. I'm sure as I become more active within the community you'll get the rest... It's been a rough year for everyone and most of you on here deserve more credit than I do. You've made it through worse and clocked in your time for longer or even twice the amount that I've been on this earth. My father is a retired electrician Local 3 New York who recently turned 70 - his father a pipe fitter. Sold his 66' seen below for a downpayment on a house when I was born. I restored and framed all his photos one year and it was the first time I swear I saw a tear in his eyes.
695486


When he retired a couple years ago he treated himself to a 'weekend' car - first new car he bought in his life - a modest MX-5 more inline with the roadsters and MGBs he owned. When I moved across the country, he sold the house and his weekend car to buy a van and drove cross country with my mother (something they always wanted to do). When he got here and saw all the mountain roads he said "this would've been perfect for the mx5..." Broke my heart as a son and as a car enthusiast myself. Unfortunately we don't have the same taste in cars or he would've enjoyed driving one of mine - I've always been partial to rwd sedans with naturally aspirated v8's but still anything OBDII... ha

Anyway, coincidently my birthday and fathers day fall on the same day every 7 years - 2021 is the next time it happens. A dream which I am fortunate enough to be in the position to make a goal now has been to gift him what he gave up for me.
 

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Do what you want, but there is a reason rusty cars are hard to sell.
I paid 25k for a rust free convertible 138 car that had no engine or trans. You get what you pay for and you will pay a fortune repairing rust damage.
Stay away.
 

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1967 Chevelle SS 396 L78 (Sold in 1970)
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276 Posts
Love the photo of the ‘66 SS with Cragers and a Tach on the steering column! That’s the way we did it back then!

Please share a bit more about your potential build car....price, photos, engine or a roller? Then we can help you better.

I’m your Dad’s age and I’ve been looking for my old ‘67 Chevelle SS L78 for many years. I’m considering building an exact clone of my car based on a 138 car, so I know what you are thinking exactly. I even found a ‘67 roller that might have been an L78 car originally.

Where there’s will there’s a way! Good luck!
 

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The only way a car in the condition you describe it is worth it to me is if you absolutely love doing the work, acquiring the tools and skills to do the work.

If it is, if you have a place to do the work and if you have the time then buy it. It is rewarding to bring an old car back from the dead. But if none of this sounds like fun, buy one that somebody else has already built.

Rick

Sent from my SM-G965U using Tapatalk
 

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The only way a car in the condition you describe it is worth it to me is if you absolutely love doing the work, acquiring the tools and skills to do the work.
I tend to agree... a 138 car isn’t really worth much more than a similar Malibu, unless it still has the original, matching numbers engine and the 12-bolt rear end. Tranny too, but not as much... original 375hp engine sure, 360hp possibly, 325hp version doubtful it’s worth restoring, unless it’s a labor of love. No docs or no original engine? Consider it a base 325hp for value...IMO

Even then, it’s probably not financially wise UNLESS YOU are doing all of the labor your self...

Yeah, need pictures and more info. I’d say a nonrunning 66 SS with rusted frame and floor is going to be $2000-6000+, depending on equipment, original engine and components, etc.

if it has the original engine and 12-bolt, then probably $4000 and up... options like bucket seats , console, gauges will add value, if they are decent and restorable.

4 speed tends to be worth more, but not much on a project car IMO.

naturally 360 and 375 hp worth more (if ORIGINAL).

usable SS hood?

138 is more about the equipment that came on the SS. If the original equipment is gone, then the 138 doesn’t mean much.

unless it has the original 375hp engine( matching VIN), then maybe $10k+, but probably half that would be the limit, unless a lot of good parts to sell


it’s a big initially outlay of money, but a complete, mostly complete or a drivable car will save lots of money.

finding a frame has become expensive as everyone selling thinks they are gold.

labor, especially bodywork/ panel replacement and paint will easily exceed to value, and possibly the finished value...
 

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Price is going to depend if the born with engine and trans comes with the car and how much of anything is reusable Figure pulling the body off the frame and the cost of that and then the price of body and paint work that follows all the rust repair. Because of the floors are shot so is everything else above it. Nothing hard to fix. It just takes time and money.
 

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Well in MHO is if you really love old cars buy what you can afford that's already running and driving and go from there, I was looking for a 70 malibu project since SS's were out of my $ range but found a 68 malibu with no engine, trans or interior that I THOUGHT was a solid start to what I'd be happy with, a restomod... $35K+ I'm still working bugs out but it turned into a labor of love, just something to think about
 

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1968 Chevelle Malibu, upgraded to a 396/TH400 from a 327/PG
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Save some coin and buy one that’s already been done for some time or one that is mostly done. That’s what I did. Not only do I not have the patience to take on a restoration, I‘d also rather spend my time driving and enjoying. I bought mine in June of ’19. It’s a driver quality type car. Yeah, the paint is thin in areas, it has rock chips, interior could use a little attention, etc. But, I get lots of thumbs up and it’s an absolute blast to drive. If I take it to shows, I don’t even bother to clean the bugs off of it. I drive it, and love every mile of driving it. Do I have plans for it? Sure, I do. Nothing real pressing aside from a few mechanical things. For what I paid, you’ll never be able to restore one unless you do everything yourself and don’t count time worked on it as part of the cost.
 

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1966 Chevelle SS
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Discussion Starter #11
Wow guys didn't expect so many replies - appreciate the advice. Just catching up now. Seller flaked, something was fishy. He said he needed to work some things with the paperwork out and sent my deposit back and radio silent since. I did a deep image search and nothing came up so the photos weren't stolen like I've found on so many classic car buying site (escrow scams). But based on the backstory there were alot of points that wouldn't be an issue until it came time to sell across state lines. The rivets were right, the rust consistent and the numbers matched... Even had the the clock down by the shifter. Anyway, I would rather not deal with rust but finding a non-rusted roller 138 66 SS within my timeline is going to be tough. I do plan to do all the work myself under the guidance of a guy who's restored over 8 cars in his private collection. He's offered me garage space with a full lift and will send it out to get blasted and bathed with his projects. I'll have the time and I am confidant I have to ability with the right guidance. Plus how could I give my dad a car that I didn't put the hours in? Wouldn't mean as much to me - might as well just give him cash then.

To give some more context. I'm located in California - Bay Area to be exact.



what your gonna hear is we need pics.hard to put a value on words.pics of the vin tag in the door jam and the cowl tag under the hood.also engine if it's there and rust issues.
All the tags and title matched which was real shame because he flaked out. I think there was something sketchy with the NAME on the title or something like that. Or he wanted more for it... I don't know - he went radio silent. As for rust there were no floorpans or trunk pan. It would've needed a complete rebuild which under the guidance of mentor I'm lucky to have.
 

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1966 Chevelle SS
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Discussion Starter #12
Do what you want, but there is a reason rusty cars are hard to sell.
I paid 25k for a rust free convertible 138 car that had no engine or trans. You get what you pay for and you will pay a fortune repairing rust damage.
Stay away.
There's a similar vehicle I'm considering now, price point being nearly identical, except the interior needs to be completely redone. I was going to ask you guys how to valuate that. My concern is that the firewall tag has round rivets (it is from the Fremont factory which from my research may be legit - is this true?)
 

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1966 Chevelle SS
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Discussion Starter #13
The only way a car in the condition you describe it is worth it to me is if you absolutely love doing the work, acquiring the tools and skills to do the work.

If it is, if you have a place to do the work and if you have the time then buy it. It is rewarding to bring an old car back from the dead. But if none of this sounds like fun, buy one that somebody else has already built.

Rick

Sent from my SM-G965U using Tapatalk
I'm a glutton for punishment and I do love learning new mechanical skills. I'm looking forward to learning about classic cars. I've had enough retrofitting and reprogramming my own vehicles that something simple and straightforward would be a welcome experience. Additionally, because of the sentiment behind the restoration - I feel like it needs to be from me - not that I just bought one to give him. I know not everyone can relate but he taught me skills and gave me a foundation for physical work, which got me through a really tough time - with the work ethic and what he taught me I wouldn't have made it.
 

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1966 Chevelle SS
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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks again guys for the input - the next candidate right now that I'm seeing locally is a shell. and as you guys have said (and I've suspected) the real difference between the $50K car is all in the originality. So if the engine and transmission is gone, wouldn't that already put a ceiling on the value of the car? regardless of how much time and effort you put into it? I'll include some pictures this time - let me know what you would offer. I know its overpriced.

Tha being said I get that resto-modding is a different beast, technically those are the only cars that should be nearing the 100K range based on custom builds or additions - or is this still ridiculous... I'd like the know how many sell at that price range.
 

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1966 Chevelle SS
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Discussion Starter #15
Asking price $30K no engine or transmission. (fails to mention there's no interior and the whole bottom pan should be replaced. No way to evaluate suspension either.. But from what you guys are saying is that without the engine VIN there to match the whole 138 thing doesn't hold weight anyway in terms of resale or appreciation? Should I even bother requesting the door jam tag and title photo? I would do a frame off restoration on this one also...

(I should mention the reason I have time for this is I was recently given the option to resign from my position. As an expecting father, I can't lose medical benefits. One option is to take unpaid leave of absence for 1 year but retain full coverage of benefits. My stock options/RSUs would continue to vest though and after that period or if I find another job I would receive the rest of my severance package. I chose to prioritize not introducing any other stress for my wife so there are no interruptions or changes in health care providers so I will more or less be free starting end of November.)
 

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1966 Chevelle SS
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Discussion Starter #16
Save some coin and buy one that’s already been done for some time or one that is mostly done. That’s what I did. Not only do I not have the patience to take on a restoration, I‘d also rather spend my time driving and enjoying. I bought mine in June of ’19. It’s a driver quality type car. Yeah, the paint is thin in areas, it has rock chips, interior could use a little attention, etc. But, I get lots of thumbs up and it’s an absolute blast to drive. If I take it to shows, I don’t even bother to clean the bugs off of it. I drive it, and love every mile of driving it. Do I have plans for it? Sure, I do. Nothing real pressing aside from a few mechanical things. For what I paid, you’ll never be able to restore one unless you do everything yourself and don’t count time worked on it as part of the cost.
Well I have until June 20th 2021 - I don't know how spirited the driving will be (my father is 73). But its something for him and mom to take drives in on the weekends, or I can hear my mom now "I'm not getting in that its so loud - that kind looks like your old car when we first got married...." haha. I do know the first thing he's going to do is tell me there's an empty road nearby, take my car and we'll if I "did things right" with a big smile on his face. That being said it'll probably need headrests...

I mean my one concern is reliability and integrity of the suspension components. He still knows how to tinker but I can't have anything that poses a safety risk mechanically. It'll be more of a weekend car than a drivers car - but I know what you mean. I have the mountain roads in CA that I usually drive around this time - along with many other spirited drivers. My modifications for drivability are a different breed. like upgrading the steering ECU, having the car re-flashed so the front doesn't feel so heavy and reduces understeer.
 

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The seller is asking about 15K too much. Only an idiot would pay that kind of cash for that shell. You can buy a beautiful clone, completely redone, with a big block, 12 bolt, and 4 speed with console, in the 35K-40K price. BTW, my car is very similar to your last pic - but a 136 car cloned to be an SS.
 
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