BLACK BEAUTY: A STALLION FROM THE CHEVY STABLES
Museum Masterpieces by Geoff Stunkard
VEHICLE: 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS454
Restored by: 33,500 mile survivor, detailed by Roger Gibson
Engine: Chevy LS6 454/450-hp
Transmission: Turbo 400
Rearend: 12-bolt, 4.10 PosiTrac
Wheels: Sport style
Tires: Wide Oval F70-14
Special Parts: stripe delete, cowl delete, SS trim group, AM with rear speaker.
Sticker price 1970: $4585.00
Owned by The Wellborn Musclecar Museum / Tim & Pam Wellborn
Survivor big-block musclecars are a unique breed of collector car. After all, when you signed your name to that loan for a machine with 400+ cubes and a race-inspired styling, the intention was to drive. What changed all of that was the insurance crisis that raised rates tremendously right in 1970, the gasoline crunches that ensued later in that decade, and the understanding by some owners that, as the hit song by Jim Seals and Dash Crofts recalled, ‘we may never pass this way again.’ And indeed, for machines like the LS6 Chevelle, that sentiment proved true – 454 inches with 450 ponies on tap were not long for this world. Some were tucked away, while others, like this one, were simply well-cared despite their use.
Tim and Pam Wellborn had begun gathering examples from that era’s Mopar heritage many years ago, but as their dream for their Musclecar Museum grew, they also wanted examples of other makes. After all, 1970 was a pinnacle year for performance supercars – the E-body Mopars, the Super Cobra Jet Falcon and restyled Boss Mustangs, and the upstart AMC Rebel Machine joined the fold, while GM finally dropped the corporate edict that kept anything over 400” officially out of mid-size musclecars.So right off the factory floor came the big 455” Pontiac, Olds, and Buick beasts, examples of which all now reside in the Wellborn collection. At Chevrolet, the legendary 427 ‘rat’ motor was superseded by a new over-square powerplant with a 108.0 mm bore and 100 mm stroke; 7.4L is the math, but converted to inches (4.251 x 4.00) the designation was 454. Read more