Chevelle Super Sport
Restored Chevelle SS Convertible 396/375 HP 4 Speed
- Numbers matching
- True #1 Car
- L78 396 V8
- Muncie M21 4-speed manual transmission
- 12-bolt rear
Despite what most collector car owners may think, true #1 condition cars are exceptionally rare. #1 doesn't just mean as good as new, but rather superior in every way, with detailing that matches factory finishes but is executed to levels that no assembly line could ever match. And if you drive your car, even once in a while, it's unlikely that it's a #1 car any longer. So when a real #1 car shows up, even here at RK Motors Charlotte where we've seen more than our fair share, everyone sits up and takes notice. This 100% numbers matching 1968 Chevelle SS 396 L78 4-speed convertible is just such a vehicle.
To make a #1 vehicle, you need a few things. First and foremost, it takes the right car, and if you're going to invest cubic dollars (another ingredient for #1 vehicles), you need to put it behind a car that will be worthy of the effort. You also need quality, and for that there's just no substitute for taking the time to do things right. With this Chevelle, not only is it the right car, with a matching-numbers L78 375 horsepower big block and 4-speed as well as a gorgeous factory color combination, but someone spent astronomical amounts of time and effort to make it simply the best of its kind in the world. Don't believe me? Come look at it yourself, and bring your microscope, because that's what you'll need to find the flaws.
To say this car is stunning is an understatement. There are few more spectacular color combinations than black over red, and when they're executed to this degree, the results can stop traffic. This is where skill and attention to detail really matter, however, because if you're going to create a stunner like this, it had better be right in every way. Looking closely at this one, there are no signs of bodywork, no visible ripples or marks on the finish, and panel alignment is about as good as it gets on these cars. The two-stage black is so dark and deep that it makes the brand new black 2010 Mustang parked next to it in the showroom look kind of dusty. With factory-style red graphics running along the flanks, it ties together perfectly with the interior, especially when the top is up, hinting at what you'll find inside.
Or you could just look at the cowl tag:
* 03C Production date (third week of March)
* ST68 1968 model year
* 13867 Chevelle SS convertible
* KAN Kansas City, MO assembly plant
* 404 Unit number
* A-2 Exterior color (Tuxedo black with black convertible top)
* 795-B Interior color (Red bucket seats)
And the VIN: 138678K181209
* 1 Chevrolet Division
* 38 SS396, concours, 8-cylinder
* 67 2-door convertible
* 8 1968 model year
* K Kansas City, MO assembly plant
* 181209 Sequential production number
The car is fully dressed with its best jewelry, too. All the chrome is either professionally restored or replaced with exact reproduction pieces. Badges - same deal. The unique mesh SS grille and rear panel are correct, while the manual antenna on the rear deck looks kind of cool out there by itself. Fresh glass was used throughout, because there's nothing that detracts from a #1 car like scratched glass, so every pane on this one is crystal clear.
As a matching-numbers car, of course that means the original code EG L78 396 engine lives under the hood. Present on the engine block is the original factory partial VIN number. There's no point in building a #1 car without this important detail, because values can plummet without the correct numbers in order. Fully rebuilt to stock specifications, every detail is correct and workmanship is superior. Look at the finish on the block - it was not applied by an indifferent assembly line worker making a few bucks an hour, but carefully applied over a fully prepped surface and every square inch received a uniform coating, which rarely happened when the cars were new. Note that the intake is correct, the carburetor is a proper Holley 4-barrel, and the hoses and clamps are exact reproduction. The chrome on the air cleaner and valve covers is nicer than the stuff on the bumpers of your driver, and the decals have been applied so exactly that it almost seems humanly impossible. I mean, this car is straight, clean, and exact. If there's a flaw, it may only be that the satin black paint used on the inner fenders and radiator cradle is perhaps a grade or two too glossy. THIS is what a #1 car looks like: better than new in every way.
That exceptional attention to detail and finish quality extends to the chassis as well. The transmission is the original Muncie M21 4-speed manual that was delivered with the car, and it turns a 12-bolt rear that has been finished so well that there are no casting marks on the axle tubes and it's as if the center section has never been rusty (they were ALL rusty - it was called pickling, and the factory did it intentionally). The floors look fresh out of the stamping press, the suspension components have never seen water, and every nut and bolt is brightly plated as it was in 1968. A reproduction exhaust sounds correct, but more importantly, fits properly and looks original in every way, except it's a lot shinier. There are grease fittings and everything works as it should, but there's no excess grease squeezing out of the tie rods or idler arm, because someone took their time. The final touch is a set of great looking Super Sport wheels which spin G70-14 Firestone red stripe bias-ply tires around pristine trim rings and new center caps.
Red interiors are spectacular, but it's easy to get it wrong, too. Too orange or too pink, and it loses the entire effect, but the vinyl used in this Chevelle is correct, rich, brilliant red that is consistent from component to component. The door panels match the seats, which match the dashboard, which matches the center console. It's all extremely well done, with laser-straight seams, careful stretching, and almost no sign that anyone has ever been behind the wheel. Although this is a convertible, there's no sign of weathering or aging on any of the chrome pieces, and everything works, from the speedometer to the AM radio in the dash. New carpets were installed, and are protected by a set of exact reproduction rubber floor mats that match so closely that they almost disappear. The trunk holds a correct trunk mat and full-sized spare inside the most snug-fitting cover I've ever seen. On a #1 car, nothing gets overlooked.
Consider this car a lesson in how to do it right. Is it over-the-top? Absolutely. But it's also gorgeous, beautifully detailed, extremely accurate, and, well, there's no penalty for over-restoration. The way I look at it is this: cars like this Chevelle are restored the way the factory COULD have built them given the unlimited time and resources of the modern restorer. None were actually built that were this nice, but that's not the car's fault, and crafting a spectacular monument to the brilliance of the '68 Chevelle convertible is a worthy achievement. It's also spectacularly expensive, and probably cost twice the asking price, because #1 vehicles are only rarely worth more than the cost to make them perfect. If perfection is what you seek, then a #1 car is your only goal. This one is nicer than most, and the combination of matching-numbers and a spectacular original color combination make it very hard to find a better example.
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What Customers Are Saying
After hearing good things about the people at RK Motors, I contacted them regarding consignment of my street rod. I found Tony Klein to be a pleasure to work with. He was very professional and forthcoming in our communications. He evaluated my vehicle and made suggestions of enhancements which would help ensure the desired result would be achieved in the marketing of the vehicle. We agreed on an acceptable sale price. Following the completion of the recommended items, I brought the vehicle to RK for consignment. After a thorough inspection and correction of some minor issues at what I considered a fair price, the vehicle was offered for sale. It sold quickly with me receiving the agreed value. I would have to repeat the recommendation that I received. RK Motors does what they say they will do, and obtains for the seller a fair and agreed value. What more could you ask for?Doug C.