header_graphic


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.

SS VERIFICATION
1969 is a difficult year to verify that any El Camino or Chevelle is truly a factory-original Super Sport. 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.

DECODING
VEHICLE IDENTIFICATION NUMBER: 13680 9Z32099
(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/4BBL/350HP; Automatic-TH400; High Performance
(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.

ENGINE BLOCK-CASTING NUMBER: 3955272
(3955272) = 4.094” Bore; 9.8” Deck Height; 396CID; 1969


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

COWL/FISHER PLATE (per line):
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

12-BOLT REAR END: CX 1023B
(CX) = axle ratio: 3.07
(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
(CL) = 427CID/400HP Corvette


CrankyGypsy (established 2001)