Bruce Springsteen’s Chevelle could be yours


It’d be right at home cruising “The Streets of Philadelphia” or tearing up “Thunder Road.” First, though, this Chevrolet Chevelle convertible formerly owned by Bruce Springsteen is cruising to the Mecum Indianapolis auction block. An SS tribute car configured with a 396-cubic inch big-block engine and a Hurst on the floor like the Chevy in The Boss’ “Racing in the Street,” this Chevelle is a rock star in its own right. Will Springsteen’s ownership elevate it to a sale price beyond the value of similarly-built models?

If more than one bidder has an attitude of “No Surrender” and raises their paddle with a “Hungry Heart,” chances could be good.

“Celebrity cars are always a draw and almost always bring a premium. The estimate suggests that this Chevelle might bring two to three times or more than the market value this car would otherwise bring if not owned by The Boss,” says Hagerty Price Guide editor Greg Ingold.

“But here’s the thing: Simply being a celebrity doesn’t necessarily equate to big premiums; it usually helps to be a massive car person as well. While Springsteen is undoubtedly that—nobody can argue otherwise—it’s not as big a part of his persona as it is for Paul Newman or Steve McQueen, for instance.

“Bottom line: How high this car will go is anyone’s guess.”

The Chevelle (VIN #136679B400523), which will cross the block on May 20 at Mecum’s Indianapolis Auction, has a presale estimate of $150,000–$200,000. Mecum confirmed that the vehicle is not a factory SS 396. Even so, the estimate is well above values for the 1969 Chevrolet Chevelle 396 SS convertible, which come in at $70,200 for an example in #2 (Excellent) condition and $90,600 for one in #1 (Concours) condition. (To read a breakdown of how we evaluate a vehicle’s condition, and 1-to-4 the scale we use, click here.)

Bruce Springsteen 1969 Chevrolet Chevelle Convertible high angle rear

The Chevelle was owned by the legendary rock star from 1981 until Christmas 1987, when Springsteen gifted it to Toby Scott, who worked as a recording engineer or mixer on 18 of Springsteen’s albums. A prolonged rotisserie restoration that started in 1988 and wrapped up in 2020 included returning the Chevelle to its original LeMans Blue from the Midnight Black it wore during Springsteen’s ownership.

Shortly after its rebirth, the car was delivered to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland in August 2020 and displayed with the same surfboard that The Boss would put in back whenever he headed to the beach in New Jersey.

Bruce Springsteen 1969 Chevrolet Chevelle Convertible engine bay

The 396-cubic-inch big-block V-8 in the classic GM A-body produces 350 horsepower and is mated to a four-speed manual transmission. Though the Chevy featured in “Racing in the Street” wears Fuelie heads, the real-life car does not—small-block Fuelie heads won’t fit the big-block 396—and Springsteen acknowledged that bit of creative license in a 1978 radio interview.

Other features include a white convertible top, white bucket seats, a white side stripe, chrome Cragar SS wheels with BFGoodrich Radial T/A raised white-letter tires, power disc brakes, electronic ignition, MSD tachometer adapter, serpentine belt system with polished alternator and water pump, ceramic-coated Hooker headers, and dual exhaust. The Chevelle also has a period radio, which has been installed but is not hooked up.

It also wears Super Sport emblems, SS-style blacked-out grille and rear panel, and a double-domed hood.

Bruce Springsteen 1969 Chevrolet Chevelle Convertible front three quarter

The sale includes a signed letter from Springsteen regarding his ownership, a document from his mechanic describing the purchase of the car on Springsteen’s behalf, and a photo of the license plate that the car wore while registered to The Boss.

Advertised as “America’s most popular mid-size car,” nearly 455,000 Chevelles—in coupe, convertible, sedan, station wagon, and pickup (El Camino) form—were produced in 1969. Only one was owned by Bruce Springsteen.

While Springsteen didn’t make our 2022 Power List of Musicians whose ownership adds significantly to the value of a car, there’s no denying his presence in American culture. We’ll be watching to see if his provenance tacks on a decent premium to this Chevelle, especially considering its sentimental ties to one of his most iconic songs.


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    I would never buy Mr. I Hate America’s car. His songs are extremely negative towards our Nation.

    Who cares! Whoever pays extra is a seat sniffer groupie. They can have it and they will bid against each other.
    Not a fan.

    And exactly how many songs have you actually listened to? Pointing out that there are things that don’t work about the USA for everyone does not make him a hater at all. I would argue that he loves America and Americans more than most.
    I do agree that celebrity markups are silly though.

    Baffling. Perhaps you could detail why he is an “America Hater”? But please don’t make it about R vs D politics.

    You have to make it about R vs D politics because Springteen loves America haters like Obama – a communist-Democrite.

    “Mr. I Hate America”…what a joke. Funny what constitutes loving America these days. ANYWAY…cool car, but probably not worth the crazy money it’s going to bring. I guess if you’re a huge Boss fan, and have the disposable income, it could be a nice addition for someone.

    Ditto, Mike. I would not buy anything that this America hater possessed regardless of the “provenance” associated with it.

    To me I would demand a Bruce discount. I am not impressed by celerity owners unless it was a car built special for them. Add to that Bruce to be is not a worthy mark up.

    Nice car, but I’m well-known on these pages for being “anti-celebrity-ownership-markup-at-auction”, so I’m not impressed… 😑

    I remember reading an article in some magazine that said The Boss was going to be the next Bob Dylan. I was never really impressed with his music and yes he is an America Basher. Give me John Mellencamp over him any day. I’ll take Mellencamps 56 Corvette over the Chevelle any day also 🙂

    John Mellencamp sold an impressive 31.5 million total records for his career. Bruce sold over 150 million. Bob Dylan has sold 145 million. Seems that article in some magazine was right.

    “Springsteen acknowledged that bit of creative license in a 1978 radio interview”? Five years before he owned it? BTW, it’s funny that Springsteen himself drove an SS clone, and not a real one.

    Hi Jer,
    The car carries some attributes from the one in the song rather than the song being about this car in particular. That lyric about Fuelie heads on a 396 in “Racing in the street” has drawn attention from Chevy aficionados since the song debuted on the “Darkness on the Edge of Town” album in ’78, so we figured it was worth pointing out.

    Read it again. He acknowledged that he wrote lyrics about Fuelie’s on a 396, which would not be a thing, in his song “Racin’ in the Streets”.

    Seeing as it’s impossible to know if an SS is real without the build sheet or window sticker, and considering in 1981 it was just an old Chevy with a big gas guzzling engine, it isn’t all that surprising he bought a clone. Probably unknowingly.

    If you gave me a million dollars to take this car I would turn you down. I want nothing to do with this ——-.

    So – not a real SS396, and comprehensively changed since Springsteen owned it…while I marvel at the prices SS396 cars, even clones, bring at auction, this will test folks’ attraction to rock-celebrity provenance, don’t you think ?

    He was never more than a mediocre preformer . I think his car would be even more valuable if it NEVER belonged to him in the first place.

    i was not aware that the boss was so disliked . still a nice car and it will be interesting to see
    what price it will bring.

    Hated by old, fat, lazy white men who are tired of not getting their way anymore like it’s 1964. You see John R, that’s their vision of America and they long for the simple days of $0.28/gallon gas with lead in it. Oh, and every price increase in gas was because some Dem protected the rights of other’s like voting and stuff like that. There! I said it. Fire away old, fat lazy white men!

    The ability to separate the art from the artist seems to be impossible for some. Also the whole people in glass houses thing…

    You’re buying a car, not a ticket to see the bum. Take credit for ownership of a piece of history, not his but that of the automobile.

    Foregoing the social discussions . . . I’m surprised that a person with his means would have a tribute car when he can so easily afford the real thing.

    Next up on the auction block – Ralph Nader’s bus pass.

    Like him or hate him, Springsteen’s Super Bowl ad flop was yanked within days.

    That should have been a clue.

    One reply, no potty words, no political speech, held for moderation.

    Some pigs are more equal than others.

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