In the world of classic cars, there will be exceptions to every rule that you can imagine. Take this 1970 Chevelle SS 454 as a prime example. If I told you that it had spent its life in the drier climes of Texas, you would typically expect to find a car that potentially had some surface corrosion issues but was otherwise solid. However, if I turned around and told you that the location was a coastal city fronting onto the Gulf of Mexico, that is potentially a gamechanger. As you will see, this is a classic that needs plenty of TLC, and it will take a dedicated enthusiast to return this highly-optioned SS to its former glory. If you feel up to a challenge, you will find the Chevelle located in Austin, Texas, and listed for sale here on eBay. Bidding has raced beyond the reserve and currently sits at $7,700.
A life spent on the Gulf has been pretty unkind to this Green Mist Chevelle. The combination of that paint shade and the optional stripes would’ve made this a car to turn heads in its heyday. It is now a shadow of its former self, and the rust that we see in the panels is the tip of a corrosion iceberg. It looks like there is also a good collection of problems with the floors and trunk pan, so I see plenty of cutting and welding in the future if this body is to be returned to a structurally sound state. The seller provides no information on the state of the frame, so hopefully, it has no significant problems. There’s no arguing that the buyer will be facing a full nut-and-bolt strip-down if the Chevelle is to become factory-fresh once again. I suspect that even the teardown will consume plenty of time and patience because more than a few seized bolts will require a light touch if they aren’t to snap along the way. On the positive side of the ledger, the original owner ordered the SS with a Cowl Induction hood, which appears to be intact.
Lifting the hood reveals that the original owner liked their cars to go hard and wasn’t afraid to spend some money to make this a reality. They ordered the SS with the LS5 version of the 454ci big-block V8 that would have produced an impressive 360hp. They chose to back this with a 3-speed Hydramatic transmission and a 3.31 Posi rear end while also equipping the car with power steering and power brakes. Pointed at a ¼ mile, the Chevelle would’ve blitzed it in 14.4 seconds. Sadly, that was long ago, and things have deteriorated significantly over the past fifty-one years. From a positive perspective, the owner claims that the car is numbers-matching. I noticed that the V8 wears aftermarket headers, but I can’t spot any other changes. There is no indication of whether the engine turns freely, but the sheer quantity of surface corrosion visible on the engine and ancillaries makes me slightly nervous. Given the potential value of this SS, if restored, I think that the buyer will need to resign themselves to the fact that this big-block will need a rebuild if it is to pump out those high horsepower figures once again.
When this Chevelle was shiny and new, its interior specifications were nearly as impressive as its drivetrain. The original owner picked up a pen and the Order Form and then went to town. This car featured bucket seats, a console, the AM/FM/8-track player, and the comfort of air conditioning. It seems that everything remains intact, but it’s also evident that it follows the familiar theme of requiring a total restoration. The bones are generally good, and with trim kits readily available, whipping the interior into shape has the potential to be the least expensive aspect of this restoration.
Now that you’ve had a chance to look at what this Chevelle SS 454 has to offer, I’m not going to insult your intelligence by saying that it represents an easy restoration. The truth is that it has some significant rust problems, and addressing these will take a lot of time and cost a lot of money. I’ve often said that virtually no car is beyond salvation, but it comes down to the question of whether such a project is financially viable. Restored to a high standard as a numbers-matching vehicle, there would be no reason why this SS couldn’t eventually command a value beyond $70,000. Whether it is worth the effort is something you would have to decide for yourself. However, with seventeen bids submitted at the time of writing, it appears that there are a few people who are willing to give it a shot. Would you?