The Inaugural 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle LS6 Emerges as a Numbers-Matching Gold Treasure

The golden muscle car era spawned some of the greatest midsize vehicles ever built in the US. It all started with the Pontiac GTO in 1963, but the decade also saw the arrival of the Dodge Charger, Plymouth Road Runner, Oldsmobile 442, and Ford Torino. However, none of the above matched the 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle LS6 in oomph.

1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS 454 pilot car

Photo: Corner Classic Car Hunter/YouTube

Like most muscle cars from the era, the Chevelle was born as a bread-and-butter midsize rig. Developed as a competitor for the Fairlane, which Ford downsized in 1962, the Chevelle debuted in various body styles and with an engine lineup that included both inline-six and V8 units.

However, it took only a few months for Chevrolet to offer higher-performance models. It all started with the Z-16 in 1965, and the SS version became increasingly more potent toward the end of the decade. For the 1970 model year, Chevrolet unleashed the SS 454 LS6 version.

Powered by a beefed-up 454-cubic-inch (7.4-liter) V8 topped by a four-barrel Holley carburetor, the SS 454 LS6 arrived with a whopping 450 horsepower and 500 pound-feet (678 Nm) of twist on tap. These figures put the Chevelle atop the HEMI-powered Dodges and Plymouths, which were rated at 425 horses and 490 pound-feet (664 Nm). Not only that, but the LS6 was also the most potent factory vehicle available at the time (based on official ratings, of course).

Shared with the Monte Carlo and the Corvette, the mill remained on the Chevelle’s options list for only a year, being discontinued before the 1971 version rolled off the assembly line. And because it was an expensive unit, it found its way into only 4,475 cars. That’s only 1% of the total production for the US market in 1970. This figure also includes El Camino pickups, so the number of Chevelles is actually lower (but unknown since Chevy didn’t keep records).

Not surprisingly, the 1970 SS 454 LS6 is a rare classic and the holy grail of the Chevelle lineup. How many of them are still around? That’s another mystery, but derelict models keep popping out of barns and junkyards, so the number of restored rigs that are still on the road is likely below 500. The Autumn Gold example you see here is one of those cars.

While a nicely restored Chevelle LS6 is a sight to behold regardless of color and specifications, this gold gem is not your average SS 454. Spotted at a car auction event, this Chevelle is a pilot car, which means it left the factory before series production officially commenced. And according to the papers it comes with, it’s the earliest documented LS6 Chevelle out there.

A Concours winner with a documented ownership history, this Chevelle is spotless inside and out. It still rocks its numbers-matching V8 engine and three-speed automatic transmission. And it’s worth $150,000 to $175,000, which is quite a pretty penny for a 1970-model-year Chevelle. Check it out in the video below.

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