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   Documenting a 1969-72 Chevelle Super Sport

J.K. Eden

   It was meant to be a trick to lower insurance rates, but in 1969, Chevrolet made the Super Sport an option package that was available on any two door Malibu or Custom El Camino.  The trick was that to the insurance book, the car would read as a Malibu, not a Super Sport.  The trick worked for a short time, till agents begin asking if it had the SS package and then up would go the rates.  But another problem raised its ugly head, a problem that GM officials never realized. By taking  the model status away, it made it easy to forge a Super Sport.    

   Ever wonder why you see so many 1969-1972 Chevelle Super Sports at shows?  And so few earlier models? The  truth is: most of these cars you see are fakes.  And the number one faked model is the 1970 SS 454 LS5 model. The tips we are giving are not meant to help you forge a Super Sport but spot a fake.  We have no problem if you want to built your own fake SS, not many of them survived. The problem is if you try to sell the car as such.  Not only are you ripping off  the buyer, who thinks he is getting a real SS but isn't, you are also setting yourself up for some real trouble.  It is illegal to do this. It is called fraud, and it is a felony punishable by prison time.  However, it is unlikely that you would ever see any jail time.  What is more likely is this episode:  You sell a fake SS to buyer A for $5000.00 who thinking it was an SS; sells it to buyer B for $8000.00, making a $3000.00 dollar profit.   Who then sells it to buyer C for $10,000.00 who then finds out it is fake and sues buyer B, then it all reverts to you, who will have to pay $18,000.00 to cover all the costs plus punitive damages, because you knowing sold a fake.  That would most likely be double the damages.  Which means you're out $36,000.00, not even counting court costs and your own attorney fees.  So think about that before you sell a car that you know is a fake as the real thing.

         All Chevelle Super Sports came with one engine.  A 396-ci powerplant with a 4-bbl carburetor, they were available with a three-speed manual, four-speed manual or an automatic.  Except the L78 375-hp version which was available only with a four-speed or automatic transmission.   Look at the engine ID number located on a pad at the right front side of the block, or check a service manual for ID codes.  These codes will indicate what type and what model the engine is from.  If the codes indicate that the engine is from a different model,ask: "why?"  If the codes are right, check the VIN that is stamped on the same pads as the code, it will usually include the number 1 and the last eight digits of the car's VIN, this number must match exactly to be a numbers matching car.  A replacement engine, one that was replaced when the car was under warranty, or ordered from Chevrolet, will have no VIN stamp.

     With that done, turn your attention towards the body.  All Super Sports used special hoods.  Inspect the hood carefully, pulling back insulation pads and rubber trim. Look to see if the hood has been repainted, it is common practice to install an SS hood on a regular Malibu and the hood may have been a different color originally.  Hoods usually don't wear out, so be suspicious if you find this.

              SS 396 logo was placed on the grille, tail panel and front fenders on the outside.  On the inside the logo was used on the door panels, standard steering wheel, and the instrument panel above the glove box.  Most forgers will place the emblems on the outside, but forget the inside. Note that El Caminos do not have door panel emblems.  The SS package was available on the Malibu 2-door hardtop or convertible, Custom El Camino, or the Chevelle 300 Deluxe pillar coupe.  Be especially careful with the coupe, as only 948 were made.

     Most of the same items- checking engine codes, nameplates, and the hood,  that were used in documenting 1969 models still apply to this group.  With the addition of a 454-ci powerplant in 1970 and the a 350-ci powerplant in 1971, and again in 1972. Because the 350-ci was a common find in a non-SS models, documenting an SS 350 is extremely difficult. You should pay careful attention to the instrumentation.  Super Sport models used a special instrument group that was not used on any other Chevelle model.  It consist of  three large round shaped gauges (speedometer, fuel level, and an optional clock or blank panel), surrounded with three smaller round shaped warning lamps.  Note that this set up was used as the standard instrumentation on the Monte Carlo except that that it used a wood grain cover over the black panel.   Check for signs (extra holes) that a cover was once used over this panel.   Also check the instrument controls; the Monte Carlo controls will have wood grain inserts, the SS had black.  

True LS6 models will have a tachometer that red lines at 6,500 rpm.

The most common type of tachometer is the unit for the LS5 454 and 402-ci( SS 396) powerplants
Note it's red line at 5,500 rpm.  

     Full instrumentation was optional, and in this case a tachometer took the place of the fuel level  which was transferred to a smaller gauge.   Even though this gauge cluster was optional in all Chevelles, and the Monte Carlo, it is easier to document this cluster than the standard cluster thanks to the tachometer red line.  Three different tachometers were used.  One for the 396-ci and LS5 version , one for the 350-ci and the other for the LS6 version. One of the most common mistakes a forger will do when creating a fake LS6, is using the wrong tachometer.

Super Sport Tachometers
Engine Size
Part Number
Red Line
Model Year
*- Except LS6 or L78
**-L78 or LS6 versions only

     Regardless of  interior color the instrument panel of the Super Sport was painted black, with non-SS models the instrument panel was color keyed to the interior.  Check the color of the instrument panel from the underside, if it is any other color except black (or color of exterior) then there is a possibility the car is a fake.   Also check the color of the steering column, all SS models used a black colored column, be sure to check the area under the instrument panel.

     All Super Sport models (except a few early 1970 models) came standard with a special domed hood with hood hold-down pins.  The optional cowl induction hood was standard with hold down pins and stripes.  The stripes could be deleted, but the pins could not.  Early 1970 models used  wider stripes then the other models, they were also set out more from the centerline of the hood.   Also, rear deck stripes do not touch the rear window.   Stripes were used only on the hood of the pick up.    For more information see our history of the Chevelle SS.

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