R.J. Deberg, my friend since 1962, once special-ordered a black ’63 400hp 409 SS at Nickey Chevrolet in Chicago. He was a railroad engineer, a fellow Rim Runners car club member based in Palatine/Arlington Heights, Illinois, and life back then was a blast. A few years later, family matters caused the 409 to go bye-bye. Then half a decade later it was 1970 and the all-new Monte Carlo arrived—along with the optional SS454 option. A total of 3,823 were ultimately sold.
But R.J. couldn’t find a dealership willing to dicker. In January 1971, Roselle, Illinois’ Dick Wickstrom Chevrolet and salesman Casey Jones welcomed R.J. with open arms and he special-ordered his ’71 SS454 —all $4,678 of it! He took delivery on February 13 vowing to keep his 1-of-1,919 Monte Carlo SS454s, along with every piece of factory and dealership documentation.
From mid-1971 through 1984, R.J. paced the Monte to 73,000 miles. From then until now, he has added only 3,000 more miles. For the heck of it, he rebuilt the 454 decades ago and detailed the engine compartment. Trick polished five-spoke wheels were added for an additional touch. Really rare to this car is a factory black rubber rear bumper strip. The car deserves all the accolades imaginable, including “never hit,” “no rust,” “highly optioned,” and “original owner.”
He’s the only ’71 Monte Carlo SS454 original owner we know of and he has no one to inherit it.
From 409 to SS454. Super cool. Mad dad.