List of options ordered on this car:
SS 396 which included:
350 HP 396 V8, special suspension, power disc brakes,
special doomed hood, sport wheels, wide oval white lettered tires, wheel opening
moldings, black resilient rear bumper panel, special SS dash panel and other
performance and identification features.
4 speed transmission, floor mounted lever
Soft-Ray tinted glass
Color: Cortez silver with black interior
Note: This is not a “stripe delete car”. The hood and trunk lid stripes, along with
the hood hold down pins were an option, not standard with the SS models when
this car was ordered.
The car was built at the Leeds plant in Kansas, the fourth week of September,
1969, production #64181
Sometime before I left Vietnam, Ron sent me a letter informing me that the dealer
had the car. He included a brochure for the 1970 Chevelle SS. It had a picture of
a red Chevelle SS396 with black stripes. My first color choice was silver, but
when I saw this brochure, I wished that I had chosen red instead. Now there are
so many red chevelles, I am glad I chose silver.
1970 Chevelle SS396
New Car Pictures 1969
Before Restoration in 1992
Picking up the car
I left Vietnam on Friday, Oct 17, 1969 at about 6AM, processed through the Army base
in Oakland, Calif., and arrived home in rural New Ulm that same night around 11PM. The
next day I got up and went with Ron to pick up my car. Upon arrival at the dealership, the
car was sitting out front. I went inside and informed the salesman that I was there to pick
up the silver chevelle parked out front. He told me that it was already sold to a serviceman
in Vietnam. I told him that I was that person. He knew I would be leaving Vietnam on Oct
17, but never thought I’d be there to pick up the car the very next day. He figured it would
take a week for me to get home. Since it was a Saturday, I couldn’t pay for the car. He
knew I really wanted the car, so he had the car prepped for me, accepted a $600
payment, put a dealer’s plate on the car and trusted me to be back on Monday to pay the
rest, register the car and finish the prep work on the car.
Driving the car
I had a year and a half left in the Army stationed at Fort Eustis, VA and Fort Mead MD.
The Chevelle went with me. The car made 3 trips back and forth to the east cost. I got an
early discharge from the Army on Dec. 23, 1970 to attend college. The car was my
transportation, being used for school, work and all social activities. The car was never
raced, except for a few street drags.
In November of 1971 it was involved in an accident. While waiting at a red light, a semi
truck rammed the back end. At that time the car was just about totaled out, but since the
frame wasn’t bent, I was able to get it fixed. It got a new rear bumper, trunk lid and right
quarter panel. The car was involved in two more fender benders in the next couple of years.
Helen and I were married on Aug. 30, 1975. The car wasn’t used for the wedding, instead
we used my brother Ron’s new Pontiac Lemans. The Chevelle was our honeymoon car for
a trip to the Black Hills of SD. and brought our first born, Scott, home from the hospital a
In 1992, I decided to get the car back on the road. The intention was only to get it running and looking good. The engine would be
pulled and overhauled, and some body work would be done at a local shop to repair the rust spots. I, along with our 2 sons, Scott
and Matt, worked on the car.
We took the front clip off and pulled the motor and transmission. The engine was overhauled by a co-worker, Denny Walser, who
does auto repair on the side. The wear on the motor was minimal, so all original spec replacement parts were used. All stock size.
Hardened valves and seats were installed.
The carburetor was rebuilt by The Carburetor Shop in Maplewood, MN. The transmission side cover and tail shaft seals were
replaced. No other work was done to it.
Once we had everything off the front, I decided to pull the body off the frame. Then everything was taken off the frame and the
frame sand blasted and primed. At this point, everything kind off sat for years.
At this point Helen and I decided that if we were ever going to drive the car again, we needed to get someone to finish the job.
After checking out several shops, we chose John’s Body Shop of rural Nicollet, MN. Owner John Sieberg came and looked over
the car parts and said he would be willing to do the job. I would assist since I had pulled everything apart and knew the car inside
It took another year before the car got into the shop, and was there for about 9 months. The body was had everything removed and
dipped to remove the rust. New GM fenders were installed along with new GM Restoration Parts quarter panels. The trunk floor
was replaced. The bumpers were re-chromed. New Firestone Wide Oval tires were put on. New carpet and headliner were
installed inside. A new windshield was installed. Many other NOS and reproduction parts were installed, keeping it looking as it
looked when new.
When it came to painting the car, John suggested putting the stripes on it. Since they were an option on the car, he would have no
problem with putting them on and thought would make it look better. I really had intended to restore it to original. I really didn’t
know what to do. So I put the question on Chevelle Tech Forum on “Chevelles.Com”. I got several responses. Several thought the
stripes should be put on, and several thought to leave them off. Reading the responses, I concluded that having the stripes at the
local shows and cruises would be popular, but leaving the stripes off would be more attention getting at the bigger shows, since
most of the SS’s have stripes. I decided to leave it original and the car is solid Cortez Silver. And it does attract attention being a
real SS without stripes.
When we got it back in August of 2002, there was still work to be done on the engine. I wanted to have it far enough along to show
at the Auto Restorers Club show on Sept 15 in St. Peter, MN. Installing the exhaust system was the last thing done. The exhaust
system missed three ship dates, three weeks in a row. It looked like it would be a show stopper. But the system finally arrived Sept.
7. The car was started for the first time on Sept. 9, 2002 and made it to the show and received an award.
What started out to be a project to get the car back on the road looking good, ended being a complete frame off restoration to
original. Knowing all that had been done to the car previously, made it easy to keep everything original. This is a numbers matching
Parts for the restoration came from many sources. Aside from the parts still available from local auto supply stores and Chevrolet
dealers, parts were purchased from Ground Up, Original Parts Group, National Parts Depot, Auto City Classic, Classic Muscle,
Year One, Brake and Equipment Warehouse, plus others. The brake master cylinder came from Chuck Mueller, a fellow Northstar
Chevelle Club member.
Going into retirement
Helen had a 1968 Camaro that she had bought in 1970. In 1977 we bought a new
Pontiac Grand Prix. We couldn’t get what we wanted for trade on either car, so
we decided to sell one of them on our own. The Camero sold first so the Chevelle
stayed. Later that year we bought a pickup truck, and the Chevelle went into
At this time the car had about 89000 miles on it, and was beginning to show wear.
There was rust behind the front wheels and on the rear quarters around the wheel
opening. The engine was running poorly do to the carburetor float being saturated.
The interior was good.
Driving and showing
Now, the car is driven to shows, parades and local “classic car drive ins”. The car attracts
more attention than I ever figured it would.
A highlight was taking it to the Mid-America Chevelle show, in an enclosed trailer, in
Olathe, KS. on August 1, 2003. We registered for the “participant judged class”. After
seeing the car, several of the sponsoring club members said they thought the car should be
shown in the points judged class. So we switched to the 1970 Original Restored class and
to our surprise, received third place. We enjoyed the show and plan to attend more of these.
Some information about 1970 SS’s
Once this restoration was started, I found that GM changed a few
things during the production year.
The first SS’s had:
Polished aluminum trim under the headlight molding. These were
eliminated on later built cars.
The doomed hoods had smaller openings for the hood insulation.
Later hoods had larger openings.
Tail light lenses with smaller reflective area and the backup lens area
has a flat surface. The later ones had more reflective area and the
backup lens area is convex.
The standard battery had the posts on top. The year end cars had
batteries with side posts because the 71 models would have them. All
the heavy duty batteries had side posts.
Had the battery ground cable attached to the right front side of the
engine block. Most of the cars had the ground cable attached to the
top of the alternator bracket. This may not have to do with when the
car was built.
Ordering the car
In 1969 I was 21 years old, in the Army stationed in Vietnam with October 17
being my day to return home. While in Vietnam, I was able to save most of my
pay. I always wanted to have an SS Chevelle, so, I arranged to have a new one
waiting for me when I returned home. The major car manufacturers had sales
representatives in Vietnam that could sell you a car that would be ready to be
picked in the US when you returned. Where I was stationed, there were
salesmen for Ford and Chrysler, but no GM. I checked on a Dodge Charger
and Plymouth GTX, and used their advertising brochures to select the options
and color choice for my Chevelle.
My brother Ron placed the order for me with a local dealer, Fering Chevrolet in
Sleepy Eye, MN. I was told that the car needed to be ordered in early July if I
wanted it by Oct. 17. The order was placed on 7/3/1969. The car was ordered
based on the 1969 Chevelle option and price lists, since the 1970 information
was not yet available.