There’s something about college sports that I simply don’t get. Where I am from, there was no fervor that I was aware of but, when I moved to Tennessee for college, I encountered all these UT folks in the airport with their obnoxious orange and white regalia. Combine that allegiance with automobiles and you’ll get our Pick of the Day, a 1969 Chevrolet Chevelle SS 396. It is listed on ClassicCars.com by a dealership in St. Charles, Missouri. (Click the link to view the listing)
For 1969, the SS 396 became a performance package, having previously been its own model. Now the package was available on low-line Chevelles like the 300 Deluxe, as well as the Malibu, which was a trim level that the SS 396 had shared since 1966. Why did Chevrolet do that? If I may make a guess, it may have been a response to the Plymouth Road Runner, an econo-muscle car that took the market by storm. Now, Chevrolet fans could opt for a 300 Deluxe-based SS 396 Coupe (with B-pillar) and Sport Coupe (hardtop). For ritzier fare, the SS 396 package was available on the Malibu Sport Coupe and Convertible. Engines were the same as before, with the 396 available in 325/350/375-horsepower flavors, but new was an L89 aluminum head option available with the 375-horse L78.
If you’re not into college sports, you may not know that the University of North Carolina’s school colors are blue and white. But it isn’t just any blue — it’s a light blue. Throughout UNC’s history, there have been several versions of light blue, and even different segments of the university system (like athletics and hospitals) have used different blues. Pantone 278 has been the official color for the university itself for many years but, in 2015, it was decided to make Pantone 542 the official Carolina Blue.
There seems to be a handful of classic Chevrolets painted in several variations of Carolina Blue, though none of them were regular production colors. Are people in Chapel Hill so rabid that they’d choose to paint their new car in school colors? Judging by the number that seem to have survived, possibly. This 1969 Chevrolet Chevelle SS 396 is a Malibu Sport Coupe-based car painted in a light blue that wasn’t part of Chevrolet’s usual palette, so someone likely spent close to $100 to obtain the color of his/her favorite team. Evidence of the special-order status is found on the data plate, which shows a dash for the paint code. Of course, finding a car with no paint code could be just about any non-RPO color, but this particular Chevelle features 90 percent of its original paint, according to the seller, plus there are original docs that reflect a North Carolina origin.
This 1969 Chevelle SS 396 features a numbers-matching 396 rated at 350 horsepower, which was the highest horsepower you could get with air conditioning which, of course, this one has. Other options include TH400 automatic, buckets with console, Positraction, F41 suspension, power steering and brakes, AM/FM/8-track, full instrumentation, Rosewood steering wheel, electric trunk release, engine block heater, engine compartment and trunk lights, and black vinyl top. Yup, this car is loaded and mostly original!
Nineteen sixty-nine Chevelles have always been hot. Combine that with mostly original condition and a special-order color, and you have the makings of a primo muscle car. For $77,995, this SS 396 will cost you less than out-of-state tuition for four years. Which do you think is the better investment?