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:
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.
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.