Wednesday, October 7, 2009

1970 Chevelle SS barn find

I’m always on the lookout for cars parked in yards when I’m driving. I’m also willing to knock on the door of a house that has a yard full of cars and trucks in all sorts of disrepair. Junkyards or junk yards, I’m not picky. 

I spotted a house on a hillside littered with 70s and 80s relics among the weeds. I drove up to a home that looked like a place most people would be afraid to stop even if their car was out of gas. A gravel driveway zigged up the rough outcropping of land. When I pulled in I could no longer see the road or imagine anyone hearing me call for help, if need be. As I cautiously made my way toward the front door, I spotted the back of a 1970 Chevelle. The unmistakable 1-year only taillights flanked a legendary SS emblem on the rear bumper. Stripes ran the length of the short deck lid. A wooden door burst open on an out building away from the house. About a half dozen dogs howled loudly when the owner appeared from an out building.

The Chevelle was our first topic of conversation. The owner purchased the 1970 Super Sport Chevelle while in high school. Its original 396-cubic-inch engine and 4-speed were still in place. The price: $600. The year: 1976. Gas prices had put a huge dent in the values of muscle cars during the mid-1970s. That was bad news for people trying to unload muscle cars but good news for a kid wanting to burn rubber and bang gears. This blue Chevelle SS was driven hard and fast. A young driver at the wheel of one of Chevrolet’s most-fear street machines. Drivers of Hemi-powered Mopars and 454-cubic inch Chevys were ready to race when they saw this blue SS.

The owner was smart enough to hang on to the big block Chevy. He had plans to restore the car but an attempt at restoration was put on hold when the owner became a dad. He says he still has all the parts to put the Chevelle back together, including the disassembled front end. His storage situation, a makeshift garage under deck, is far from ideal and he plans to rectify it soon.
No, the car is not for sale. The Chevelle seems to be the crown jewel of his automotive collection which spans his yard. Getting behind the wheel of his restored high school hot rod is his goal. I hope he does.

I was lucky to find this hidden part of muscle car history. I promised not to divulge his name or location in return for permission to climb around his cars for some photos.

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