Auction Pick of the Week: 1969 Chevrolet Chevelle Malibu SS 396
Few people can say they’ve owned the same car for 55 years, and even fewer can say they’ve owned a muscle-car legend that long. Hagerty member James Hastings has owned his 1969 Chevrolet Chevelle Malibu SS 396 from new, but he has decided it’s time to pass the car along to someone who will enjoy it as much as he has.
Check out Hastings’ Chevelle, live now on Hagerty Marketplace and offered at no reserve, if you think you’re a worthy caretaker.
In order to compete with the smaller offerings from other automakers, like Ford’s Fairlane, Chevrolet released the first-generation Chevelle in 1964. Size-wise, it slotted between the Chevy II and the Impala. It was available with a myriad of engines—from thrifty sixes to burly V-8s—and a cornucopia of body styles, from two-door wagons to four-door sedans. Because of the platform’s versatility, the first-generation car was wildly successful, selling 1.6 million units over its three-year production run.
Chevy wanted to capitalize on the Chevelle’s popularity, and in 1968 it updated the model with all-new sheetmetal—boasting now-classic long-hood/short-deck proportions—and a shortened wheelbase. It maintained the same variety of body styles as its predecessor.
For speed junkies, Chevy’s big-block-powered Chevelle SS was the way to go. Starting in 1969, the SS could be ordered as a $347.60 option package, RPO code Z25, on any two-door model in the Chevelle/Malibu family. The Z25 package netted you a 396-cubic-inch, 325-hp V-8, heavy-duty suspension, power front-disc brakes, and 14×7-inch wheels shod in F70-14 tires. If you had extra cash, more potent versions of the 396 as well as even larger engines were available.
Hastings would have loved to own an SS. But in 1968, looking for a new car while serving in the army, all he could afford was a mid-spec Chevelle Malibu. And that’s what he bought. The dealership gave Hastings a loaner car while they sorted the paperwork.
Weeks went by. The dealership still hadn’t delivered the Malibu.
“I went back and told them, ‘It’s time for me to go—I’ve got to move on to the next Army base. I either needed a car or my check back,'” he says. Not wanting to lose a sale, the dealership brought around a Le Mans Blue Chevelle Malibu SS 396—equipped with bucket seats, Muncie four-speed, and center console—and offered it to Hastings for only $300 more than what he paid for the mid-spec car.
Understandably, Hastings jumped at the deal.
He loved driving the car and put 25,000 miles on it in his first year of ownership. “I would shove off on Friday night after I got off work and get home at like three in the morning,” he says, reminiscing about driving the SS on Pacific Coast Highway 101 back and forth to Fort Ord where he was stationed. “Because it was night time and [because of] the way the radio waves bounce, I could pickup Wolfman Jack pretty regularly at around midnight. Those were some of the most fun roadtrips I ever had.”
He never really fell out of love with his Chevelle. It served as the family car for a number of years after his stint in the Army. After that he enjoyed taking it to car shows.
Through the years Hastings has kept the Chevelle in great shape. He’s changed the oil every 3000 miles and had the numbers-matching 396-cubic-inch V-8 rebuilt in 1995. Aside from a quality repaint of the original color at around the same time as the engine rebuild, the car is very original. “For some reason, even as a stupid kid, I decided I wasn’t going to hash this one up.” he says. “I’ve previously hashed up a lot of cars for drag racing.”
Now, at 75 years old, Hastings is looking for a good home for his SS. “I’ve had friends who’ve passed away, and what happened to their cars wasn’t too good,” he explained, “So I want to make sure that doesn’t happen to me.”
If you think you’ll enjoy this Chevelle Malibu SS 396 as much as Hastings did, put in your bid. The auction ends on Thursday, March 2, at 4:30 pm EST.
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I was born in April of 69 & I’m about to turn 54… Just gotta say I look no where NEAR as good as that Chevelle!! 😆🏁
I bought a brand new ’69 SS 396 Chevelle automatic with the 325 hp. $3150 cash. I should have got air with it. I had a problem right away. It didn’t want to backup! I took it to the dealer and told them maybe the brakes were sticking. I thought they would follow up and find the problem. They just told me nothing was wrong with the brakes. I drove down the street and thought differial. Drove into a Sunoco station and said put this on the rack and see if it has fluid in the rear axel. He did and said it is dry as a bone, there has never been any fluid in it! I drove it right back to the dealer down the street. Chewed the garage manager out for not following it up. I said, “I hardly know a bumper from a windshield wiper and I figured it out!” “Why didn’t you?” The Sunoco guy said only the Chevy dealers had that fluid not gas stations. The car had been built in Canada.
I always thought the ’69 was the best looking of the Chevelles, that front end was the best looking of the bunch. I hated those wide width tires on it! The road could be damp or wet and you were all over the road sliding. I drove home one night on an icy freeway slipping and sliding all the way with my heart in my mouth it was so scary! I had it five years and only put 42,000 miles on it. Sold it to a buddy for $750.
Would have loved to be your buddy.
Damn, that Chevelle would be a real joy to own. Nice car, really good history also.
I bought myself a 69 chevell SS when I got back from Viet Namin one piece. Loved that car. Traded it a few years later. Biggest regret in my life. Have looked for another for years. A unique car automatic on column and bench seat. The best look chevell ever.
Beautiful color and nicely specced out!
I have 40k on it? cash
Beautiful car I need to bid on it to replace a 66 Impala SS 396 4 speed convertible I owned and promised my son. Unfortunately I sold the car and bought a less powerful and collectible Mustang because I thought the Impala was to much car for a 16 year old kid. He’s never really forgiven me for that.
I had a 1969 Malibu gave it away would love that one
I had a 1965 corvette which was merino blue and as he said I loved it as well
I owned a 69’ Chevelle SS 396/375 in LeMans blue W/Black Vinyl roof. When I bought the car it had a 427/435 under the hood. With a Muncie M22 Rock Crusher it was Brutal.
I was Fortunate enough to buy a 1969 Chevelle SS 396. It was a little unusual as it was a family car therefore it did have bench seats and the 350 horse 396 automatic transmission ,no air. Orange with a black vinyl roof. Finally gave it to my sons and it’s gone now.