1969 CHEVROLET CUSTOM EL CAMINO SS 396
(sold Novermber 2009)
Of all the not-my-Rubicon I have owned, this has by far been my favorite four-wheeled vehicle. It didn't have A/C and I drove it in balmy Tampa year round, but I still loved it ...my girlfriend, not so much - though I know she liked to drive it in cooler weather. It looked bad ass and was great for standing burnouts. She would get way more attention in it in one day than I ever could. I used to call it The Blast Furnace because of the heat that would radiate through the fire wall. The previous owner lived in Los Angeles and I found it listed on the internet in early 2004 - my buddy Kugler was living there at the time and checked it out for me. A week later, it was crossing the country on a flatbed. It is a numbers matching SS that I decided to sell in order to pay for EMT, Fire Academy, and Paramedic school. It was bought by a gentlemen from Pennsylvania (coincidently), who spent his winters in Clermont, FL with his wife. He had just passed his body shop business on to one of his sons and planned to do a frame-off restoration on it. So, it went to a good home.
This is part of the ad I placed when it was for sale...
THIS IS NOT A CLONE – IT IS AN ORIGINAL, VERIFIABLE, SERIAL-MATCHING SS 396.
This is a chassis and engine matching SS El Camino that I have owned since April 2004 and was my primary vehicle until October 2007 when I began to drive my A/C-equipped Crown Vic for the new and longer job commute. The SS has been in the garage over the past 2 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 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. 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.
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.
ENGINE NUMBER: T1130JE 19Z320999
ENGINE BLOCK-CASTING NUMBER: 3955272
COWL/FISHER PLATE (per line):
12-BOLT REAR END: CX 1023B
HEADS: L9 72 353049
TRANSMISSION (partial): 78 CL 2971
CrankyGypsy (established 2001)