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1969 Chevrolet Chevelle SS 396

Illustration for article titled 1969 Chevrolet Chevelle SS 396

Welcome to Down On The Street, where we admire old vehicles found parked on the streets of the Island That Rust Forgot: Alameda, California. Today we're going to look at an example of the kind of car that dominated my early gearhead experiences on the island: a beat-to-hell big-block 60s muscle car! There was once a time when primered-out Chevelles, Satellites, Fairlanes, and the like (along with hooned-up Beetles and 510s) could be found lowering property values on just about every block of Alameda… but most of those cars have been hooned into nothingness or restored to gilded-cage, car-show-only condition by now. Just a few survivors, like this '69 Chevelle, remain.

First, let's get in the right frame of mind by listening to a song that captures the wholesome appeal of the SS396:

Illustration for article titled 1969 Chevrolet Chevelle SS 396
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Well, maybe this car is a little more menacing than what those Wonder Bread-eating boys had in mind when they wrote that song. I talked to the owner's father, who verifies that it is indeed a genuine original 396 car and that it's currently in a "needs persuading to run" phase of its Hell Project lifecycle.

Illustration for article titled 1969 Chevrolet Chevelle SS 396
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Back in the '69, this was a fairly expensive machine; the base Chevelle coupe could be had for $2,458, but the price tag on the go-fast options started to mount fast: if you wanted the 375-horse 396, you'd have to shell out $253- a 10% premium; the aluminum-head version cost a wallet-vacuuming $648.

Illustration for article titled 1969 Chevrolet Chevelle SS 396

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DISCUSSION

Boy is he going to be chagrinned when he realizes that back window isn't broken, but just rolled down.