Malibu & SS 396 Differences
Beginning in 1969 the Chevelle SS was no longer offered as a separate model series. It had
to be ordered as an option ( RPO Z25 ) but only on the following models.
|2dr Chevelle 300 Deluxe Series Coupe|
|13437||2dr Chevelle 300 Deluxe Series Coupe|
|13637||2dr Malibu Series Coupe|
: Don't all
While bucket seats were part of the Malibu SS Chevelles in 1964 and 1965, all subsequent years from 1966 through 1972 came standard with bench seats. Bucket seats were not only optional on SS396 Chevelles from 1966 through 1968, but all SS optioned Chevelles from 1969 through 1972. The lone exception is 1969 when the SS option could be ordered on the 300 Deluxe 2-door coupe and 2-door sedan; bucket seats could not be ordered in the 300 Deluxe series so all SS optioned 300 Deluxe Chevelles in 1969 came equipped with the same bench seat as non-SS optioned 300 Deluxe Chevelles.
It is easy to spot an SS Chevelle compared to a "plain-Jane" model. However, it is not so easy to tell the difference between a genuine SS and a plain Malibu which has been altered to look like an SS. There are far more SS "look-a-likes" out there than people realize. There may even be more SS clones out there than genuine SSs.
Perhaps one of the best ways to authenticate an SS is with the build sheet, protect-o-plate, original window sticker, etc. Even with those, however, you have to be on the lookout for fakes. I've even heard of VIN numbers on build sheets being changed. There are also companies that can supply you with reproduction protect-o-plates, window stickers, and even cowl tags. I think the outfit that supplies the cowl tags is legally only allowed to replace a damaged cowl tag with a reproduction that has EXACTLY the same codes on it. However, I wouldn't be surprised if a few paint codes have been changed here and there.
Although highly illegal, I'm sure there are numerous cars out there that have had their VIN plates switched. If you can, always look up under the dash for any signs of recent welding around the VIN plate.
What was done to make this Chevelle
into a true Chevelle Malibu SS 396?
Q) Is VIN correct for the cloning to be
A) Yes, the VIN is 136379A332197 which Chevrolet accepted to be a SS 396
Q) 1969 SSs has "SS/396" emblems on the front, back, fenders, door panels, on the dash above the glove box, and on the standard SS steering wheel.
A) All this was done except the SS is missing on the door panels.
Q) The '69 SS has a twin-bulge hood like the
'68s, but the bolt holes where the hood hinges attached were slightly different.
A) The hood on our car does not have the twin bulge.
The '69 SS came with 14" SS wheels with "SS" center caps.
A) Not sure yet.
Q) The '69 SS stripe
option consisted of a black, white, or red stripe which along the upper body
A) This car does not have the side stripe.
Note: Reports are of a few '69 SSs with dealer-painted hood stripes, similar to many '70-'72 SSs.
From 1969 on, the SS was no longer a separate model. Instead, it was now an "SS" option package added to a 300 Deluxe model, Malibu model, or El Camino Custom model. 1969 was the only model year that the SS package could be ordered on the base model Chevelle 300 Deluxe (as a 2-door coupe or a 2-door post sedan). The only SS option in '69 was the "Z25" SS-396 package. The '69 and up cars are harder to authenticate because the VIN can not be used to confirm if the car is an SS.
There were two colors that were exclusive to the '69 SS. "Monaco Orange" (code 72) and "Daytona Yellow" (code 76). If either of these paint codes appear on the cowl tag (and the cowl tag is genuine) then that would prove the car to be a genuine SS.
If someone had a nice '69 Malibu, and a rusted out '69 SS, it would be easy for them to simply move the SS equipment over to the Malibu. As long as they did not alter or move the VIN plates or cowl tags, this would be perfectly legal, and since the VIN tag doesn't tell you much, there would be almost no way for you to know.
From '69 on, single-piston disk brakes were STANDARD equipment with the SS package. These brakes are easier to find parts for than the earlier four-piston disk brakes.
Chevrolet literature indicates that the only way to get a 396 was with the SS package. However, there appears to be at least one late-production Chevelle that was built with a 396 and all the required SS equipment, but the "Z25" SS-396 option was not listed on the car's build sheet. It is believed that this car came from the factory with "SS" emblems, but that is not 100% certain.
Again in 1969, the only available SS engine was the 396 (in the same flavors as in 1968). In 1969, however, it was possible (if you knew who to talk to) to order something called a COPO 427 Chevelle. COPO stands for "Central Office Production Order". The COPO program allowed dealers to order equipment that was not usually available (such as special paint, special engines, etc.) Unlike the '68s, the '69 Chevelles had their 427 engines installed at the FACTORY, not the dealership. This makes the '69 427s more legitimate in the eyes of collectors today. You didn't necessarily have to go to Yenko or some other special dealer in '69 to get a 427 Chevelle. Your local dealer could usually get you one if you filled out the right paperwork. While the '69 COPO 427s had basically the same equipment as the SS-396s, they were not generally considered SSs because they did not have any external "SS" or "427" identification. They were the ultimate sleepers. Any genuine '69 COPO 427 Chevelle is quite valuable today. There are also unconfirmed reports of a '69 COPO 427 El Camino.
In addition, there was an "L89" aluminum head option available for the '69 375 HP 396. Few were ordered.
1969 SSs had "SS/396" emblems on the front, back, fenders, door panels, on the dash above the glove box, and on the standard SS steering wheel. The '69 SS also had the twin-bulge hood like the '68s, but the bolt holes where the hood hinges attached were slightly different. The '69 SS came with 14" SS wheels with "SS" center caps. The '69 SS stripe option consisted of a black, white, or red stripe which ran along the upper body sides. There are also reports of a few '69 SSs with dealer-painted hood stripes, similar to the stripes used on many '70-'72 SSs.
Another rare car, produced only in '69, was an SS Chevelle built on the 2-door post sedan, the "Chevelle 300". This was the only year that a 2-door post sedan SS was produced. Most of the '69 SSs, and all the '70-'72 SSs, were built upon the 2-door Malibu pillarless coupe.