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ss454-71

1970 Monte Carlo SS454 - Tripe Black - Barn Find

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Being obsessed with '70-'71 SS454 Monte Carlos I'm always searching for parts and cars. If I run across a black car it always peaks my interest being my preferred color on any car.

 

Recently while searching craigslist I came across an ad that was out of Arizona for a listing that stated "Parting out 1970 SS 454". In the one photo there was no motor in the engine bay but the load leveler compressor brackets were still on the inner fender. The ad was about a month old at the time so I figured the brackets were gone along with most of the other hard to find big block components so I just bookmarked it.

 

A day later I decided to call the # to see what was left. After talking to the guy for a bit I knew he realized the SS cars are rare and have some desirable parts. It's triple black with the original engine, tranny and 12 bolt still with the car. He said he hadn't sold any of the parts yet because it is a solid, strait, nearly complete car and didn't have the heart to actually part it out. He had standing offers on the load leveler components, center counsel, power windows & locks but couldn't bring himself to follow through with the sales.

 

He told me he bought the car from the original family member who currently owned the car. It was originally purchased in Bakersfield California by the sister of the guy who he bought it from but it had been sitting in an alleyway dismantled for over 20 years.

 

He offered the complete car to me for a very reasonable price but he said a friend of his was coming in the next day or so to look at it. I was very intrigued but with so many projects already I told him I would get back to him and coincidently I was going to be in Southern California the following week and if I had time I would drive out to see it if it was still available.

 

That next week while in so-cal I gave the guy a call and it was still available. Unfortunately, I didn't have the time to drive the 6 hours (one way) while out west and asked him to send me photos. After seeing the photos I knew it was a solid well optioned car. The #s on the engine (CRN) and tranny were correct for a 1970 SS454 too. All the correct chassis components that go into a SS454 were there like the boxed rear trailing arms, air ride system (minus the compressor), drive shaft with the balancer, both fuel lines, 12 bolt rear end, dual exhaust hangers, splined steering shaft, sway bars, F41 braces......... At that point I was confident it was a true SS. He wasn't able to locate a build sheet but being a Van Nuys car I was hopeful that it had one above the gas tank as I have found them there on my other two 1971 Van Nuys SS454 cars I've owned. I didn't want him to remove it if it was there because they are so brittle and I didn't press the issue.

 

I finalized the deal with him on the phone while in so-cal and didn't haggle with him on the price since it was basically what one would pay for just a 512 engine these days. It was tough not getting in the car and driving out there to see it but I was confident in what I was getting and for the price I had to take a chance on it.

 

Once I paid for the car I asked the seller what he paid for it now that our deal is set. I love hearing the back stories. He said the gentleman who owned the car came into his shop and asked if they wanted to buy a 1970 Monte Carlo because they have a sign out front that said they buy cars. He asked how much and the guy said $150 and he countered with $75 thinking it was going to be scrap. The guy took the offer. He went to pick it up in an alleyway behind the guys house where is sat for the past 22 plus years after needing some repairs with the engine and tranny removed. During that time kids and vandals had broke the windows, dash components and pried the trunk open. After looking around the car he noticed the SS454 badge on the fender and knew it had some value. He said the owner mentioned he still had the motor and tranny but they weren't part of the $75 deal. So he hauled the chassis back to his shop and knew he had to make an offer on the engine/tranny too. He went back to the guys house and had to pay an additional $300 for the engine (complete from air cleaner to oil pan) and tranny. Now $375 isn't a bad price for a # matching SS454 in triple black.

 

After getting home the next week I made arrangements to have it transported back east. Man it's tough finding a transporter that is willing at a reasonable price to move a inoperable car but I ended up finding a really good company and the car showed up a few weeks later.

 

As you could imaging the first thing I did when the car rolled into town was put it up on the lift and drop the tank to see if a build sheet was there. It was and to my surprise it was in decent shape and nearly complete confirming the Z20 and a host of other options. It's crazy that a piece of paper 44 years old is intact and legible!

 

I plan to do a full restoration on the car but will get it back together with a few extra HP and drive it as a barn find-rat rod in the meantime. I won't let this distract me from finishing the convertible! But it may slow me down.

 

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Here is a google shot of where the car sat for the past couple decades. Can you find it?

 

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Here are some shots of the tank build sheet as it was removed from the car.

 

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Here are a few shots of the original rear air shocks and valve. It's cool that the factory shocks are still intact. They have no dampening left in them but are a great reference for the restoration. Notice the tags on the springs.

 

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Being in the desert for most of its life and without windows or trunk lid for 1/2 of its life the car is caked with dust and sand. Check out the state of the interior. It's time to clean it out to the floor boards.

 

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Check out how solid the floor and the trunk is after a pressure wash. Try leaving a car exposed to the elements like this one was in the north east and you will have Flintstone floors.

 

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While dismantling the interior I found a second build sheet under the passenger bucket seat. It's in tough shape but shows the all important Z20 option. I'm grateful for the tank build sheet and finding this build sheet is icing on the cake.

 

 

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I couldn't resist seeing what it would look like with the ET wheels on it. When wet the car starts to look a tad bit better. I sort of like the rat rod look.

 

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Nicely optioned car and 2 build sheets. Very cool. I see it was a customer order car too.

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It does look cool, but I love the wheels on your red Monte Jeff

 

Thanks, the 18" ETs do change the appearance of the car. Not too big and just enough sidewall. I've grown fond of the 15" with the bias M/T E/T Streets too. They really hook off the line and give the car a vintage look.

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Nicely optioned car and 2 build sheets. Very cool. I see it was a customer order car too.

 

A couple options I really like are the cloth buckets and the delux belts. I haven't seen many cars with those options. The 256 gears is an old school factory overdrive.

 

I've always wondered what ***customer order*** means? Is it the retail costumer? Is it the Dealership? Is it both?

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Here is the worst of the rust I've found in the car around the rear window. Typical for a vynal top car. Should be a relatively easy repair. I wish I kept the rear deck I cut out for the convertible project. It would have made a good patch.

 

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Bless you for giving this old girl a new lease on life, Jeff ... she's already looking much better!! Glad the rust issue is minimal.

 

Love the ET Mag look ... will you stay with that or are you going for the factory original look? Either way, restoring her former glory with all of the great options she was built with will make her very desirable.

 

I was initially disappointed that my SS came with a 2.56 rear gear but it's proven really great for cruising. The torque of the 454 and the automatic transmission overcome much of the slouch effect on the low end.

 

Thanks for sharing your progress photos ... they will make a fantastic project album some day!

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It is amazing how much better itlooks cleaned up.... yes, lots of work needed but the body looks amazing for a car that has set out for so long.

 

RVP

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Bless you for giving this old girl a new lease on life, Jeff ... she's already looking much better!! Glad the rust issue is minimal.

 

Love the ET Mag look ... will you stay with that or are you going for the factory original look? Either way, restoring her former glory with all of the great options she was built with will make her very desirable.

 

I was initially disappointed that my SS came with a 2.56 rear gear but it's proven really great for cruising. The torque of the 454 and the automatic transmission overcome much of the slouch effect on the low end.

 

Thanks for sharing your progress photos ... they will make a fantastic project album some day!

 

I think the 256 gears are appropriate for a Monte as they make great cruisers and it adds to the over the road drivability.

 

This car looks rough but still has good bones and the original born with engine and tranny so it will go back to factory stock in the end because I have OEM-OCD. However, with all my projects they evolve over the years. The wheels are like sneakers and are often rotated. They ranges from stock ralley with bias to 18" ETs.

 

The first phase of this cars journey is going to be a Day 2 survivor barn find. The interior will look good but a tad weathered, the outside and under the hood will stay patina on purpose. Possibly ladder bars and long tube headers. No new off the shelf parts just nicely aged parts that look vintage. I'm thinking about building the convertible engine and dropping it in this for a bit and dressing it up as an LS6 car with the dual snorkel air cleaner, 3963569 intake .... By doing that it will keep the convertible project moving and I get to play with this car in the meantime.

 

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Glad someone saved that car! I would drive it as is like you said. The car will get a bunch more attention in its condition than once restored.

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Jeff, congratulations on your purchase. That will make a great car. I was talking with the previous owner, Rich, and seriously considering buying it. I gave him information about the SS Montes and he sent me most of the pics you have and some others as he bought the motor/trans and everything else he could get from the guy. I passed on it, but not because I didn't want it. I have too many now and have no business getting another at this point. We talked about your car here.

2beers

 

Dan

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