1969 Chevrolet Chevelle SS396 Coupe
(Featured on 31st May 2011)
Sellers original description:
There were two marketing slogans associated with the 1969 Chevrolet Chevelle, one official, one not. Both simply told the truth: "America's Most Popular Mid-sized Car" said the hidden persuaders from Campbell-Ewald, Chevy's long-time ad agency. However, when it came to the SS396 option package for the '69 Chevelle, hot-rodders didn't need a fancy slogan; the mid-sized Chevelle with Chevy's big-block "Porcupine" mill dropped in it was, "Everyman's Muscle Car." And that just about says it all!
Great example of a real '69 SS396. "REAL" is specified because there are so many cobbled together "re-creations, "tributes" and, shall we say, "fakes" out there, that you want to be sure to check as to originality. This one'll pass the test as it's documented with owner history and a copy of its build sheet.
Benchmark's '69 Sport Coupe comes in a color that we can all agree should be called, "Really Red!" Is it a factory red? Nope. Does it work on this baby? Oh, yeah, and it is beautifully applied. Surprisingly, it has all its original body panels, better than average chrome and a brand new all black interior. It has power brakes and steering, but no air. That's something you might consider having Benchmark find and add for you.
This GM rocket sled sits on a set of huge Boss wheels (they look like Foose wheels to me,) 18 inchers in the front and 20s out back. This might sound way out of scale on a two-door '69 from The General, but once you see the package I think you'll agree that it all works together wonderfully.
Since the whole idea of an SS396 is what's under the hood, let's take a tour of the very clean engine compartment. There it is, painted in black, a period correct and very ferocious Chevy big block. Sitting under the 396 Turbo-Jet air cleaner, there's a big Edelbrock four barrel carb sitting on one of those cool Edelbrock Performer manifolds. And to make sure that all that air coming in can get back out again, there's a set of good lookin' coated headers feeding a custom exhaust that exits in front of the rear axle.
All that power runs through a Turbo-Hydromantic 400 transmission, famous back-in-the-day for being the first "slush box" able to handle the torque of these Chevy big-block beasts. The tranny feeds a Posi-traction rear end, with a smooooth 3.31 or so cruising gear. Don't worry, there's plenty of twist from that rat motor to launch you just about as quickly as you could ever want. The cruising can come along later, eh?
The Chevelle SS396 was the absolute king of many parking lots, from high school on up. Millions of Americans lusted after one of these blacktop blasters and often still do.