1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS 454 LS6 Convertible
Fellow gearheads, this is another installment in the “unique muscle cars” category that we have been posting a lot about lately. This is an ultra-rare and highly desirable 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS 454 LS6 Convertible. This is one of the most desirable Chevrolet muscle cars of all time, and this one is truly unique.
One of the factors that makes this car truly interesting is just how unique this one happens to be. The prevailing theory is that fewer than 200 LS6 Convertibles were built in 1970, but that is where the story gets interesting. There are fewer than 20 of these LS6 convertibles known to exist today, but how many were actually made? There were 4,475 cars built in 1970 with the LS6 option, but just how many of those LS6 options were installed in coupes, convertibles, or El Caminos? No one really knows. Chevrolet has never shared detailed production numbers about these cars.
454 LS6 – A BEAST!
Another interesting thing about the LS6 seen here is the LS6 option. You need to understand that anyone could walk into a dealership and order this option – for an extra $263.30, which was actually a fair amount of money at that time. I have heard stories from someone that lived in that era that some people made $90 a week in 1970, so $263 was significant. That was a month of take-home pay for a lot of people at that time. The base of this package was the massive 454CID engine, which produced 450 horsepower at 5,600 rpm and 500 lb ft of torque at 3,600 rpm,
The story goes that the car really made over 500 HP, but Chevy knew that insurance companies at that time would not insure this for street driving so they sandbagged the numbers a bit. This was the highest factory rated horsepower that could be had in 1970. Hot Rod magazine tested the LS6 Chevelle at the time. They reported 8.4 MPG, but noted that it was a beast. The test driver commented that the biggest problem was trying to keep the tires from spinning. He mentioned that any slight tap of the gas pedal resulted in a cloud of smoke and the rear end dancing from side to side.
The LS6 engine was assembled at a special engine facility to produce the monster it became. They started with a 4 bold mains block with pre-tapped holes to setup an external oiling setup for track use. They also included a forged steel cross-drilled crank, 7/16 inch rod bolts, magna-fluxed connecting rods, TRW forged aluminum pistons, and 3/8 inch heavy duty pushrods, They took the setup even further with a 11:1 compression ratio and rectangle port heads with 2.19 inch intake valves. The 454 also sported a low-rise aluminum dual plane intake, Holley 780cfm carb, and a massive cam with .520 lift and 316 degree duration.
A modified distributor and deep-groove pulleys were included. It came with a bigger than usual air cleaner, which was supposed to work with the cowl induction hood. This was basically a full-race setup from the factory! What all this means is that this engine was a beast! This car also featured the “rock crusher” M-22 heavy-duty 4 speed manual transmission, live rear axle, coil springs, and independent A-arm front suspension with coil springs. This car was built to race, 1/4 of a mile at a time. This option was only available for one year, 1970, just like the Superbird from Chrysler. It was a wild year for cars, for sure!
Droptop LS6 Chevelle?
Yet another very interesting feature of this car is the fact that it is a convertible. Typically, when people chose the LS6 option, they had one idea in mind – drag racing. These beasts were temperamental, and with that lopey cam and big carburetor, this car wanted to run. Driving an LS6 in city traffic is sort of like trying to walk a big dog – it does not like being on a leash. This car wanted to go, and NOW! These 454 engines were tuned for drag racing, and did not like idling in traffic.
So, why would someone buy this with a convertible? It would be impractical – if not impossible – to competitively drag race a convertible. The convertible option and LS6 option were both expensive add-ons, so why would someone add both to the build sheet? They also chose to purposely NOT choose the cowl induction hood, which is a performance option. No one really knows the history of why someone ordered this car this way, but it is a unique combination.
It is what color? Medium Turquoise Metallic over beige? That is not typically a color people associate with 1970 muscle cars, so this is yet another interesting feature. Usually, people bought cars like this Chevelle SS 454 LS6 in red or black. These cars also usually featured the opposing color racing stripes package. The owner of this car spent big bucks on the LS6 package, the convertible option, and all the other goodies, but did not spring for the relatively inexpensive stripe package.
Don’t get me wrong, this is a beautiful color paint job, but it is not usually associated with a snarling, growling, grumbling big block muscle car. The original owner ordered it with the optional white convertible top and parchment interior that features optional Strato-bucket seats. Inside the interior is an AM radio, a clock, and full gauge cluster. This car just doesn’t make sense. It is almost like seeing a big block Shelby Cobra in pastel pink sporting bicycle tires – it just doesn’t make sense!
This Chevelle certainly has a lot going for it. It has the convertible option, the 1970-only optional LS6 engine option, and the Rock Crusher 4 speed. It is fully documented, and has the rare color combination. This is why this truly unique car sold at auction for $225,500. The 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS 454 LS6 Convertible is considered the pinnacle of collectible muscle cars. This one is likely one of a kind.
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