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Thread: 1969 Chevelle SS396 / 454 Street Machine Build Thread

  1. #1

    Default 1969 Chevelle SS396 / 454 Street Machine Build Thread

    This 1969 Chevelle was born wearing a Cortez silver paint job and sporting a blue interior. It was an original V8 car, sporting a 307 V8 under the hood and was driven for many, years by its owner Al until the late 80s.

    However, by the late 1980s, the street use took its toll on the Chevelle's body and chassis, and Al decided it was time to disassemble the car and restore it.

    He disassembled the car in his home garage with the help of his young son, and embarked on a journey to repair the rusty quarter panels as the first steps to bring this car back to life.

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    Unfortunately, as many people know, restoring classic muscle car takes time, money, and effort. He had the effort, but raising the family was the obvious priority, so his project speed was set on extra slow. However, Al was able to complete some tasks, including a very good job of installing a pair of original NOS Chevrolet quarter panels on both sides.

    Time passed, the family moved into a bigger house with a bigger garage, and the Chevelle patiently waited for the next stage, which was the engine project.

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    The trusty 307 pulled this car over the roads for many years, but Al wanted more, so he and a buddy built a screaming 454 to give this car more go! The engine was built just past LS6 specifications, topped with an aluminum intake and Hooker headers.

    Al build a test stand to break-in his rashly rebuilt engine right there in his garage. This allowed the engine to be ready to fire as soon as the car was finished.

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    He found a used 12 bolt rear axle, and had his chassis media blasted and painted and rebuild the front suspension components and bushings to restore the Chevelle's ride.

    Al pulled the body off the frame to start the chassis restoration. Unfortunately, it was determined that the Chevelle's cabin floors were hiding more rust and was initially thought.

    Interestingly, the topside it looked okay except for the body mount areas. The bottom side was scaly and Rusty.

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    This is when the body came to the V8 Speed & Resto Shop. After our initial inspection, it was determined that the best course of action would be to install a complete cabin and trunk floor from OPGI.

    Our first step was to affix the body on our jig to ensure the floors would go in square and true. Our team use a plasma torch to speed the removal of the original floor.

    The trunk floor was the first section to come out. After it was plasma cut, the crew went back and cleaned up the details around the perimeter where the new floor section would attach.

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    At this point, the crew took a slight detour from the floor to install some cowl box replacement panels. These rusted due to leaves and other debris being trapped between the cowl box and the fenders. This is a common occurrence and GM "A" body cars.

    There were sections in the front of the body shell that needed repairing before the new cabin floor could go in. For example, we would be installing a full-length floor that ended at the factory seam at the base of the firewall. Our new floor required to clean sheet metal in the toe board area for proper installation, but the original floor was rusty at this seam. To remedy this, patch sections were ordered welded in place to provide clean sheet metal to attach to the new floor section. Patch panels were ordered from OPGI, cut down, and welded in place.

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