From its 1964 introduction, Chevrolet’s Chevelle was a success, thanks to attractive styling, extensive options and sheer value for the dollar. Although it was powered at first by a number of inline sixes and small-block V8s, performance fans quickly realized that the Chevelle could easily accommodate the new Mark IV “big-block” engine, which arrived for 1965. Starting with the limited-production Z-16 option of 1965 and the all-out racing versions campaigned by famed drivers including Dick Harrell, Malcolm Durham and other Chevy stalwarts, the Chevelle established a formidable reputation.
However, during the late 1960s, Chevrolet faced an uphill battle in NHRA Super Stock competition against the factory-backed Cobra Jet Mustangs and Hemi-powered Chryslers that dominated the winner’s circle. Chevrolet finally released the limited-production 427-powered COPO Camaros and Chevelles that were raced with great success in 1969. Big changes for 1970 included the end of GM’s corporate edict forbidding engines displacing more than 400 cubic inches in its intermediate models, including the Chevelle.
In turn, Chevrolet’s “big-block” was enlarged to a mammoth 454 cubic inches and formed the basis of the RPO LS6 package, intended to wrest control of Super Stock drag racing from Chrysler. While the LS6 was never officially advertised by Chevrolet as an option for the Chevelle, certain Chevy dealers could, and often did, help their customers obtain the ultimate “bowtie” weapon.
The newly redesigned 1970 Chevelle SS, with its robust body-on-frame construction and 112-inch wheelbase, was the perfect platform for the LS6 engine, which was underrated by Chevrolet at 450 hp and 500 ft-lbs of torque. With its 11:25:1 compression, big-valve cylinder heads, 780 cfm Holley carburetor and radical solid-lifter camshaft, the new 454 was supported by a stout four-bolt main block and a forged reciprocating assembly and was backed by either an M-22 “Rock Crusher” four-speed manual transmission or a hard-shifting M40 Turbo Hydra-Matic 400 automatic.
This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in September 2009 at the Petersen Automotive Museum, Los Angeles, California, in June of 2010, at the Town and Country Resort & Convention Center, San Diego, California and in November of 2010 at the Robson Estate, Gainesville, Georgia.
450 bhp, 454 cu. in. RPO LS6 V8 engine, single Holley 780 cfm four-barrel carburetor, M40 Turbo Hydra-Matic 400 three-speed automatic transmission, independent front suspension, four-link rear suspension with 12-bolt rear end housing, unequal-length upper and lower control arms, coil springs and anti-roll bar, vacuum-assisted front disc, rear drum hydraulic brakes. Wheelbase: 112".
Source: RM Auctions
Photo Credit: Copyright Darin Schnabel