The story of finding my 1970 Chevelle SS 454.

I still remember the day I found this car on Craigslist in April 2007. It was a daily ritual, scanning that site for local Houston cars ranging from 1960-1972. I still do that today. We all know that 9 out of 10 times the search results are junk, or overpriced rusted crap. Too many people watching Barrett-Jackson auctions and seeing pristine musclecars cross the block at six-figure purchases, but the reality is that most cars aren’t nearly B-J levels of build quality. These sellers usually set asking prices too high, which turns me off to even waste a moment to consider a daydream build of the cars. I’m also always astonished at how poorly people photograph or describe their vehicles for sale, but I digress.

When I saw the ad, the photos were taken from the owner’s driveway (shown above) and the car appeared very clean. We all know photos lie, and most of the time cars look worse in person. The price of the car seemed about $10K too low for the photos and type of vehicle. SS 454 (LS-5), 4-speed, Cranberry Red on Camel interior. I’ve grown to be a skeptic from all the scam ads on Craigslist, of cars that were not actually available. I noticed the city listed was the same area of town that I lived in, and there was actually a phone number posted with the correct area code, so I gave it a buzz.

The seller answered the phone, and only knew general info about the car. How long he’d owned it, and just general maintenance that was done along the way. He and his wife had inherited the car from her Father, who restored it back in the mid-1980s. The car basically just sat in their garage under a car cover, and wasn’t ever driven. They were not car enthusiasts, just safe-keepers of this handed-down vehicle. He explained that the car didn’t run well, carburetor was likely gummed up, brakes had low pressure, bad battery, and bad fuel in the tank. It would start, but wouldn’t keep running. None of which scares me, as general repairs are common on classic cars. I knew it would be a useful bargaining list. The seller explained that he was just selling the car to purchase a new Harley Davidson, something he and his wife would enjoy instead of this old car in their garage. I asked if he was home right now, and he was – so I left work mid-day and went for a peek at this car.

When I arrived at the house, the garage door was open but the car still had the cover on it. It was sort of dusty from sitting there. When he pulled away the cover, I had to try really hard to contain my excitement. The car was much, much nicer than I thought it would be. I crawled around the outside of the car, looking at all the typical rust areas – and found zero. The paint needed a wax, but still looked 9/10. Interior was all original. He had a huge folder full of all the receipts, dating back from the 1980s when it was restored. I didn’t haggle the guy at all, just asked him to take a ride with me to the nearest Chase bank – and I got him a cashier’s check from the teller. We got back to his house, and got the car started. I only lived about 3 miles away, so I gave it a chance and decided to drive the car home, and come pick up my truck later on. I didn’t want to chance them changing their minds, or having some other buyer show up and offering them more. His wife was in tears as I drove it out of their garage, she had been attached to the car so long. I remember feeling a bit sad for her, but happy about the car at the same time. I told her I’d take care of it, she smiled and waved it goodbye. So, I puttered the car well below the speed limits home, left plenty of distance for those ailing brakes to stop, and finally wheezed it up the driveway.

About that time, I called my wife and told her I had bought another car. She was used to me doing silly car things. On the phone, it sounded like I was describing just some old car, I don’t even know if she knew what a Chevelle was at the time. She sounded pretty skeptical herself. I think she still had her doubts about the car even when she got home and saw it, but I assured her it was a good deal that couldn’t be missed. Besides, the red/black 1970 Chevelle was one of my childhood dream cars, and now I owned one. I spent a few weekends and some elbow grease, got the car running, driving, and braking properly. To this day, I’ve still not done much but replace some worn parts and trim, and keeping it pristine. It is by far the slowest car I own, but I still enjoy firing it up and cruising in it. It reminds me of my childhood, when it was a daily thing to see these classic musclecars driving around. Newer cars just don’t have the soul or character of old cars.

Thanks for the read, hope you enjoyed the story. Comment below and tell us about your favorite vehicle’s story.