1969 Chevrolet Custom El Camino SS 396 (numbers matching)

*** SOLD NOVEMBER 2009 ***


This is a chassis and engine matched SS El Camino that I have owned since April 2004 and was one of my daily drivers until October 2006 when I exclusively began to drive my A/C-equipped car for the new and longer job commute. The SS has been in the garage over the past 3 years. I recently installed a brand new battery, NGK spark plugs, and Mallory 8mm Pro Sidewinder plug wires. I replaced the air filter; changed the oil filter; drained and replaced the oil with Mobil 1 (it has been on synthetic for at least as long as I have owned it). With the carburetor bowls filled with fresh gasoline, the car started without a single hiccup and ran as tight and smooth as I remembered while I took it for ride around the neighborhood. I have always had the clear title in hand.

The JE-spec engine has been rebuilt and has the cylinder heads off of a 1972 402/454 - this was done to accommodate the block being bored 30 over and I was also told that the heads were ported at that time. The transmission is a rebuilt TH-400 out of a 1978 Corvette. The 12-bolt rear-end has been regeared to 3.30. The four KYB shocks are newer and the front suspension components have been upgraded with a PST Polygraphite kit. All of which was done circa 2003. 

The car was repainted (it was originally gold) and reupholstered sometime prior to my purchase. The car has the original, single-piston brake calipers that also came standard with the SS package. Decoding the 12-bolt rear-end leads me to believe that it is the original. Noting differences in patinas, the gas tank has been replaced, as well as the starter and the crank-driven fuel pump. Decoding the 625cfm Carter carburetor, its stamping indicates it was originally manufactured for a Ford vehicle. Honestly, the carb was the first thing I was going to replace when I had the extra time and money to improve/restore the car. I'm not saying the carb is bad since the car runs really well - I just think there is room for improvement here as far as mileage and performance go ...actually, it might benefit from a simple rebuild kit.

Although it looks amazing at a glance, it is going to need repainted at some point as it is showing aging. Most significant is the lower area behind the front wheel on the driver’s quarter panel that is bubbling and starting to crack a little; there is some minor bubbling behind the other wheel wells; the bed is scratched and scuffed a bit from use; the fender and door paint have a few nicks from the perils of daily driving and tinkering, the hood has some minor paint cracks and bubbles around the edges that could be easily massaged out. Most of the trim looks really good, but the bumpers could use a buffing and the mirror and four trim corners at the top of the bed would need refinished. From my understanding, the car was in California until 2003, so any “rust” is actually a patina. I have done my best to include pictures to illustrate the frame’s excellent condition as well as the body blemishes so there will be no surprises.

It was too late after I received the car when I noticed, but apparently the car was not loaded onto the transport truck properly. The front right underside of the front bumper was scraped – it must have bottomed out on the load ramp and subsequently pushed the bumper mount in a half of an inch (see photo). The front bumper’s passenger-side bracket will need straightened out or replaced (fortunately, the frame itself is unscathed).

The SS has power steering, tilt wheel, power brakes and factory A/C (not functioning). The A/C condenser is there, but the compressor is not …also the venting behind the dash was not installed when the entire interior was replaced. The headliner is not in any of the pictures, but it is in excellent condition. The driver’s deflection window does not secure shut (the crank to this is frozen, so it is probably fixable if opened up). The brakes are functioning but they would probably benefit from a once-over and a good bleed. The tires are in good condition with plenty of tread remaining. I noticed one of the high-beams is burnt out, so that will need replaced.


1969 SS VERIFICATION: 1969 is a difficult year to verify that any El Camino or Chevelle is truly a factory-original SS. The SS396 was no longer its own model and became an option that year. Consequently, there is no code in a 1969+ VIN to indicate the chassis came from the factory as an SS. A 1969 El Camino SS 396 can be verified in three different ways: 1) A chassis can be determined to be a factory SS if the vehicle’s Protect-O-Plate or Build Sheet is available to confirm the Z25 option; 2) If the chassis’s stamped Cowl/Fisher Plate indicates that the original color was the exclusive Monaco Orange (72) or Daytona Yellow (76); 3) If a 396 ’s serial number verifies it to be the car’s original engine by matching the 1969 chassis’s serial number since Chevrolet literature states that the only way to get a 396 in their 1969 A-body was with the SS package. This only holds absolutely true for the El Camino as there were a tiny handful (rumored to have been six units with two of them left in existence) of 396 4-door Chevelles that left the factory in 1969 without the Z25 option listed on the build sheet. Apparently, this one exception was made possible due to the fact that they were specifically ordered by the Arizona State Police.
Although I was never lucky enough to run across this El Camino’s build sheet and it came painted Olympic Gold, it does have the original, serial-matching 396 engine along with a high-performance JE build suffix stamped into it.

(1) = Chevrolet
(36) = Custom El Camino with 8-cylinder
(80) = 2-door sedan pickup
(9) = 1969 production
(Z) = chassis built in Fremont, CA
(320999) = serial number


ENGINE NUMBER: T1130JE 19Z320999
(T) = engine built in Tonawanda, NY
(1130) = built on Nov 30th
(JE) = 396CID-4/350HP/Automatic-TH400/High Performance [has been overbored - 30 over]
(1) = Chevrolet
(9) = 1969 production
(Z) = plant origin of matching chassis (Fremont, CA)
(320999) = serial number

Clearly not the Stamp-Guy's best work but it's a match...

(3955272) = 4.094” Bore; 9.8” Deck Height; 396CID; 1969

The block's casting number further authenticates the 396's age.casting

LINE 1: 69-13680 BF03981
(69) = 1969 production
(36) = custom V8
(80) = 2-door sedan pickup
(BF) = car assembled in Fremont, CA
LINE 2: 770 B80 B90 65 65
(770) = Antique Medium Saddle coated fabric interior
(B80) = roof drip molding
(B90) = door window frame molding
(65, 65) = Olympic Gold metallic paint
LINE 3: 12A 594202 830302
(12) = assembled in the month of December
(A) = assembled the first week of the month


(CX) = axle ratio: 3.07 [has been regeared to 3.30]
(1023) = built on October 23
(B) = built in Buffalo, NY

HEADS: L9 72   353049
(353049) = 1970-1973; 402/454CID; int 2.06; exh 1.72; open chamber; 113cc

TRANSMISSION (partial): 78 CL 2971
(78) = built in 1978 [has been rebuilt]
(CL) = 427CID/400HP Corvette


CrankyGypsy - Since 2001