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Iconic 1970 Chevelle SS454 Found Hidden in Texas Since 1980

HOT ROD logo HOT ROD 10/29/2018 Patrick G. Nichols
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Todd Harris, of Dallas, Texas, has been searching the country for muscle cars, vintage signs, and collectibles his entire adult life. Back in 2004, Harris heard about a Tuxedo Black 1970 Chevelle SS454 LS6 that had been parked in 1980 in an old storage garage in North Richland Hills, Texas and never moved.

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"I heard about the car and its whereabouts through word of mouth and decided to check it out," says Harris. "As soon I opened the garage door and laid eyes on the car, that many consider to be the Holy Grail of all muscle cars, I immediately knew I would own it."

It seems the current owner had acquired the car from the original owner back in the mid 1980's and had parked it in one of his storage garages. "I also heard it was for sale, but I had no idea of the price, so I went armed with plenty of cash," says Harris. "I've always wanted to own a 1970 Chevelle LS6 and went there to buy the car. So as soon as he priced the car to me, I paid the man, and a deal was made."

After returning home as the proud new owner of the Chevelle, Harris began searching for the original owner whose name was found on the original title. "It took me several years of searching, but I was finally able to make contact with the original owner in 2014," Harris tells us. "Fortunately he still resided in the Dallas Fort Worth area and we were able to meet at a restaurant and have a long discussion about his ownership of the car before he passed away just a couple years later."

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According to Harris, the original owner purchased the car new at Earl Taylor Chevrolet in Dallas, Texas. He heavily campaigned and raced the car at Green Valley Dragway in Fort Worth, Texas and further explained the original engine had been destroyed drag racing in the summer of 1970. It was immediately replaced under warranty. Fortunately, the rest of the Chevelle's drivetrain survived the drag-racing abuse, as it still retains its original Muncie M22 manual transmission and heavy-duty performance axle.

According to the Cowl Tag and physical characteristics of the Chevelle, it was assembled the second week of January 1970 at the Arlington, Texas assembly plant. Options include cowl-induction hood, manual transmission, heavy-duty battery, special instrumentation, and a Positraction rear axle assembly with 4.10:1 gears. The original color was Tuxedo Black with white hood and deck stripes and an Ivory white vinyl bench-seat interior.

Arlington, Texas 1970 Chevelles were also notorious for lacking their assembly line buildsheets, which were initially hidden in the car. It was normal procedure for Arlington assembly plant workers to hide copies of the buildsheet under the carpet and sound deadener inside the footwells when the assembly process was finished. As a result, a very high percentage of Arlington built 1970 Chevelles are missing this document due to the years of moisture and the tar-like substance from the sound deadener, which deteriorated these documents beyond recognition. Therefore in most cases, items such as original driveline components and other forms of documentation must used in order to determine an authentic Arlington-built 1970 Chevelle SS.

The RPO (Regular Production Option) LS6 454 cubic-inch engine featured an aluminum low-rise intake, solid-lifter camshaft, square-port high-performance cylinder heads, 11.0:1 compression ratio, special heavy-duty distributor, 7-blade clutch fan with 4.5 inch blades, and a Holley 800-cfm carburetor. In December 1969, the LS6 replaced the L78 option making the production of 1970 LS6 Chevelle and Chevelle El Camino less than a full year. This kept the total production down to just 4,475 units.

Now that the Chevelle has been discovered after being hidden for decades, we're sure you're curious as to the future plans for the car. Harris says, "I decided I wanted to have the car inspected and possibly authenticated before selling the car to someone who will help return the car to its former glory. The car is now in the National Chevelle LS6 Registry. This car was built in Arlington and has never left the Dallas Fort Worth, Texas area. I'm really proud it will now be going to a new owner who will help return this truly iconic example of American automotive history to the streets."

In closing, we feel it's very fitting to leave you with a quote from a HOT ROD Magazine road test of the legendary LS6 Chevelle which appeared in the May 1970 issue. "Earth Mover: The past is gone. The future may never see a car like this. It is one of the brutes, and all it needs is a way of staying in contact with terra firma."

Have a rare find to share or need assistance authenticating your 1970 Chevelle SS? You can contact Patrick at pnichols26@yahoo.com or follow him on Facebook and YouTube at Patrick Glenn Nichols Musclecar Barn Finds.

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