Dean & Barbara Call's 1969 SS396
My 69 is an SS 396 - 350 horse with Turbo 400 - Positraction 3.31:1 12-bolt rear end - Lemans Blue with black vinyl top - black bucket Interior - power windows - tilt column with rosewood wheel - tach & gauges - air-conditioning - headlight washers - numbers matching engine.
I had a 69 Malibu with a 300 hp 350 back in 1970 and was always sorry that I didn't keep it. I tried to find another one like it for a couple of years but everything for sale seemed to be either a total pile of junk or ones that had been fixed up and looked good but were very high priced and probably full of Bondo.
Finally on Dec. 11th 1985, I found one that was fairly decent. it wasn't the 300 hp Malibu I was looking for but a 350 hp - 396 - SS. The engine was out of the car and in many pieces. It was in a pretty dark old garage with a dirt floor and was a little hard to see what shape it was in. The owner said he had recently had new quarter panels installed to the tune of $1,000.00 so I thought at least that's one thing I won't have to do. (They looked good with that gray primmer on them.) I gave the guy three $500.00 bills, loaded up all the pieces, hooked it up to the wrecker and dragged it home.
A few weeks later I steamed cleaned the engine compartment, stuck in a recently rebuilt 396 engine and transmission from a 67 Caprice I had picked up from my nephew for $400.00, put on two new front fenders and started driving the car a little.
Well they are always a lot worse than you thought aren't they. When Richard Klausen, my body man started stripping off two or three old coats of paint with aircraft stripper, we found that the thousand dollar quarter panel job consisted of a few pieces of metal patched in and a gallon of Bondo.
We ordered two new quarter panels from Chevrolet and Richard put the car on blocks, removed the doors, bumpers, front fenders, hood, core support, wheels, vinyl top, deck lid, windshield, back glass, and the old quarter panels. Then he finished stripping it down to bare metal.
One quarter panel came in to the Chevrolet parts but looked like an elephant had sat on it so they re ordered them. Again only one came in with their shipment but this time it was a good one so Richard installed it and we waited and waited and waited and waited. Finally we decided to order one from Ausleys for about $65.00 more (I think.) The new GM quarter came in from Ausleys on a Friday and the following Monday our Chevrolet parts man called and said "your quarter panel is in," Richard told him to forget it, he already had the new one installed. Richard had the new vinyl top put on and the car finished in about two more weeks.
A while later I had the original engine bored .030 over, installed a mild cam, rectangular port 427/435 hp closed chamber heads & intake with 750 Holley carb. I had the intake polished, the power steering and water pump chromed, installed a new chrome open element air cleaner, chrome alternator, chrome fuel pump and a few other pieces of chrome under the hood.
My friend and fellow club member, Jeff Long rebuilt the suspension. The springs, shocks and every part in the front end except for the control arms, rotors, and steering box were replaced. In addition, Jeff replaced all the bushings in the rear suspension and installed boxed lower rear control arms.
I had all new aluminized steel exhaust system and rear springs installed at a local shop.
The carpet and door panels were replaced and the front buckets were redone with new foam and covers from Year One. I got the original type tires from Coker Tire in Chattanooga, TN and restored the original wheels with correct color paint and new center caps.
I still have not done anything to the original bumpers or weather striping as of yet and now it needs repainting as I made the mistake of putting on single stage lacquer which chips so bad and so quick. I am keeping the original heads, intake, carb & air cleaner just in case I want to put it back to original someday. Unfortunately, I accidently gave away my original 7029204 Quadrajet carburetor so now I'm looking for another one.