Introduced in 1963 to compete with the Ford Fairlane, the Chevelle went on to become one of Chevrolet’s most successful nameplates. The midsize was offered in a massive variety of body styles, which included everything from coupes and drop-tops to sedans and even a coupe utility. Yes, I’m talking about the iconic El Camino.
And as muscle cars became increasingly more powerful toward the early 1970s, so did the Chevelle. Originally offered with a 396-cubic-inch (6.5-liter) V8 in range-topping trim, the Chevelle gained larger big-block mills in the late 1960s. Chevy added the 427-cubic-inch (7.0-liter) in 1969 and the 454-cubic-inch (7.4-liter) in 1970.
The latter came with 360 horsepower on tap in LS5 form, but Chevrolet offered an even more powerful version. It’s called the LS6, it featured a four-barrel Holley carburetor and generated a whopping 450 horsepower on paper. I say “on paper” because the LS6 was, in fact, good for at least 500 horses.
All told, the Chevelle SS 454 LS6 was one of the meanest performance vehicles of the golden muscle car era. And because Chevrolet dropped the LS6 option for 1971, it’s also a rare bird. Chevrolet reportedly built 4,475 Chevelles equipped with the LS6, but there are no records as to how many were hard-tops, convertibles, and El Caminos. With the actual number still a mystery, LS6 coupes usually fetch more than $120,000 when in Concours-ready condition.
As a result, these cars are rarely forgotten in barns and garages, but as Chevelle SS expert Patrick Glenn Nichols found out recently, it can happen. And I’m not talking about a rusty, derelict example. Nope! Patrick miraculously stumbled into a numbers-matching gem that sat on a garage lift since 1978. That’s a whopping 43 years off the road.
Described as a “personal holy grail,” this Chevelle looks amazing for a car that sat for so long. Sure, it’s covered in a thick layer of dust, but it’s rust-free and seems to be 100-percent complete. And it’s a numbers-matching car front to rear, including the engine, transmission, and rear axle.
The only thing that prevents it from being an all-original classic is the paint. Finished in dark red with orange stripes, this Chevelle LS6 left the factory in Tuxedo Black with white stripes. But what’s important here is that the car was saved from spending the rest of its life in the same garage and will finally get the attention and the road trips it deserves.
Would you restore this jewel to its original, Tuxedo Black paint or would you drive it as is? I’m not a big fan of black cars, so I might just stick with the burgundy-like finish. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to find my piggy bank.