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My '69 Chevelle SS 396

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  • My '69 Chevelle SS 396

    Here's an old pic of my '69 SS 396 Chevelle back around 1978-1979. It was a 396/325 HP car with T-400, 3.31 single track rear, A/C, PS/PB and headers. Had only 43K miles on it when I got it. It was a super clean car.

    Had new red paint that was done very nicely...and that funky half-vinyl top someone installed. Slot mags and G-60x14 Honcho's on the rear were just cool!

    This purchase came about because I was frustrated and tired of messing with hot rods! Yep...that's right...I just wanted something to cruise around in. At the time, I had a '74 Nova we'd dropped a 427 in (13.0 compression) and a 4 speed. Still had 3.08's and even with skinny tires, it was a clutch eater. Literally almost every Friday after work...we (Donny and Paul were there a lot) would stick a new clutch in it and go play all weekend. I finally got tired of it all and was trying to sell it off.

    Also at that time, my Dad was needing a daily driver. I convinced him to buy the Chevelle to use until I could get the Nova sold and buy it from him. He would drive it during the week and I would drive it on the weekends. I mean...wow...this thing had A/C!!

    The thing was a slug. Foot on the floor it just wheezed its way down the road. That's OK I told myself...I'm not going racing...I'm just cruising and "profiling". That lasted about a week and I started looking around under the hood to see what might be out of whack. I quickly saw the little tang for the secondary's wasn't being pulled off because the choke coil on the intake wasn't heating up enough due to the headers. A little piece of wire to pull it out of the way and BINGO....instant tire smoke and the Q-Jet was howling in all its glory!! Might as well leave the air cleaner lid flipped upside down so I could hear it right??

    Soon afterwards I was doing some serious street racing around town and doing quite well. On the weekends I'd take it to 7 Points (our local 1/8th mile track). Now of course the 'ole right rear tire was getting a little extra wear...so I'd swap them right for left before giving it back to Dad to drive during the week!

    One day a guy told me he saw me do a killer burnout out on Highway 31. I couldn't remember doing it, so I asked him when/where? It was out by where my Dad worked. So I snook out there and sat across the highway from where he had to make a U-turn on the highway to come home each day. Sure enough...here comes Dad taking a right out of the parking lot...up the road a few hundred feet and makes the U-turn at the crossover...and as soon as he gets part way through the turn he's got his foot on the floor and the right rear tire is on fire...rear end is fishtailing and the trans bangs into 2nd and the smoke goes from blue to just clouds of white rolling out from the wheelwell!! Then I noticed the area was covered with long black streaks! 'Ole Dad has been doing this everyday and here I was worried he was going to catch me burning the tires off of it! Oh well....I couldn't say anything..it was till his car!!

    Soon afterwards I bought it from him and made it mine. It was reliable as heck and never had any issues for a long time. Donny Grace had experience from working at a muffler shop so he helped me install new 2.5" pipes and "Turbo" mufflers. One night driving away from a stop sign the oil pressure light came on and I immediately shut it down. Ck'd oil...all OK....fired it up and was good...no noise...but as soon as I revved it a little the light came back on. Turns out the pickup had fallen off the oil pump. I soon found out that removing an oil pan from a '69 Chevelle is NOT fun. By the time I got it out of there, I was only a few bolts from pulling the engine... which would have been MUCH easier! I stuck a HV pump in it... bearings all looked perfect. No damage.

    Later...I decided I needed to freshen the engine and add some HP. It was a basic ring and bearing job along with a GM marine cam (.500" lift) that I got from Danny Hudson (My SS) at the Chevy parts counter. The engine ran strong and it won even more races. Somewhere along there I had to rebuild the T-400 and installed a B&M shift kit. Very nice!!

    About that time...Marvin Miller came out with some of the first Nitrous Oxide kits. THAT's what I wanted! I installed the kit and had a blast hitting that button on the console and hanging on. Those were very safe kits and the only thing you needed was good plugs with the stock ignition system. I put who knows how many bottles through that thing.

    Later. this car "made the rounds" among my friends. We would sell it to each other on 90 day notes (that's a whole 'nuther topic) and trade it back and forth. I had it several times. Even went on my Honeymoon in it.

    The last guy in our group to own it was Tony Honza. He put a 454 in it under the old 396 heads and it ran even stronger. There was a kid in town who I believed had inherited a bunch of $$$ and he offered Tony a ridiculous (at the time) price for it and Tony let it go out of the group. I think it was the first or second weekend the kid had it when someone rear ended him and shoved the back bumper up about even with the rear window. Sad day!

    The original 396 was still around and I ended up with it later on in a '72 Nova...with the same Marvin Miller N20 Kit. Just couldn't hurt it!

    Wish I had this Chevelle back though!

    JIM






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  • #2
    There are a lot of stories with this car involved. Racing a Buick or Olds across Palmer bottom listening to Radar Love on an 8 track tape at 3am. Hurting the feeling on the guy from Rice with the gold Super Bee. Paul scaring the heck out the 'Legend" (in his own mind), me getting a ticket and running interference on your wedding night and some we cannot talk about.

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    • #3
      Great story Jim!

      I'm reminded of all the times my dad would say, "I'm NOT buying your tires, kid!"

      Well, that whole bargaining chip fell away when he got his second childhood and went and built a T-bucket. Turns out that paying for my own tires had a distinct calming affect on my asphalt crayon exhibitions. But it seemed like whenever I was with dad, if there were at least one pair of eyes on the T-bucket as we pulled out of somewhere, it was ON! He'd blap the throttle, the front wheels would come up and the short little car got kinda squirrelly! Of course, I'd always have to remind him that, "I'm NOT payin' for your tires!"

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      • #4
        I completly, forgot about the half vynil top and slots, my memory had it full vynil top, and cragers, go figure, nice to see it again, hercules honchos for the win!!!!

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        • #5
          I completly, forgot about the half vynil top and slots, my memory had it full vynil top, and cragers, go figure, nice to see it again, hercules honchos for the win!!!!

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          • #6
            Try as I might I could never get you to race me in that car that I could remember ...Did we ever race ? It seems every time we would met up on 7th I tried to run you ... lol But I do remember the car very well ..Cool car ..
            Last edited by Lee Pritchard; 06-26-2016, 11:39 PM.

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            • #7
              I may have forgotten the half vynil top and slots, BUT I damn sure remember the female cop, Telling to get out of the car and lay face down in the grass at gun point!!!!!! screw Dallas texas, I still hate going there!!!!

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              • #8
                And ANOTHER Corsicana memory rises to the surface!

                Can anyone say "New Thread TIME!!!!"
                So, uh, what would some good ol' boys be doin' around Dallas that might entice one of their fine public servants to knock the dust off of their holster? Hmmm?

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                • #9
                  I'll start a new one.

                  Feel free to move all these things into whatever section they fit.....

                  You would think we would have some other folks willing to tell all by now wouldn't you? C'mon lurkers...fess up!!

                  JIM

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                  • #10
                    Jim will tell different, but , here we are in dallas, minding our own business, cruising just past blue max performance, were on street that hot rod magazine had said was THE happenig street in their cruisin usa issue, jim me donnie paul and bodie or honza.

                    seriously were driving 32 mph in a 30 mph zone, this cop car spins around lites us up, female cop on jims side male on my side, jim goes to get out i go to get out, bitches pull there guns start hollering hands up dont get out!!! Uh oh crap she holds gun on us, they shine lites,

                    now between the two of us me n jim been stopped at leasr 50 times, and talked our way out of the
                    tickets,

                    she asks for his license she looks at it a minute, pulls gun back out get out the car, her partner gets all us out, at gun point, makes us lay down, this aint good,

                    she is hammering jim about his license being tampered with WTF??? She is determined he is going to jail and she is impounding car!!! Not good!!!!

                    well he talks her out of that, finally, so then she gives the chevelle what she called a vehicle inspectiion, front bumper to low, hell its stock!!! Headlights not bright enough, exhaust to loud, not enough tread on tires, yeah crazy,!!!! Well finally she writes jim a 200 dollar ticket (2 weeks pay) and tells us, dont come back to Dallas!!! No worries!!!

                    and then the chevelle wouldnt crank!!!!!!




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                    • FastPast
                      FastPast commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Okay Jim, can we look forward to a rebuttal?

                      LOL!

                  • #11
                    And it wouldnt crank at the haunted house in tehuacana, as were being chased by a axe murderer!!!! Damn that chevelle!!!!

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                    • #12
                      Wow...it's late...but I will definitely tell the rest of these stories. There is a lot of truth so far. But a lot more to it.....

                      Man...we sure have interesting lives!!

                      Ronnie....who's going to tell the one on same night as axe murderer and Tony's Trans Am and the whino that just got out of prison ramming us...then he climbed flagpole at VFW before we could whoop his butt? I believe you were driving? I was in back seat.....

                      JIM

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                      • #13
                        Ill have to tell the view point from drivers sest!!!

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