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1969 Chevy Chevelle SS 396 - The Car Before The House

Actually, The Engine Before The Car

Photography by Tony Kelly, Steve Reyes

Just having an original 396 engine block is great, but what if you want to reunite it with the rest of the car? Jerry Beasley of Hazel Green, Kentucky, really wanted to build a premium '69 Chevelle SS 396, just like his very first brand-new car, but all he had was an engine. With some help from the DMV, he was lucky enough to find the owner of the car this engine had come from many years before. Even when the DMV can help, most times the car has been crushed or the owner of record has lost track of it. Capitalizing on his good fortune, Jerry beat a path to the owner's door and, after some price haggling, brought the rest of his vintage iron home.

Even though the car had never been wrecked, it had considerable rust. Beasley, a bodyman by profession, was able to salvage the original floorpans and trunk, but the quarter-panels and complete cowl had to be replaced. After about four years, a few bucks, and countless hours of his time, Jerry wound up with an original numbers-matching car. Dated components include shocks, a horn relay, a voltage regulator, an alternator, a carb, a distributor, and glass. The potent powerplant (375 hp, 396 ci) is hooked up by way of an M22 Muncie Rockcrusher to a 4.56:1 set of rear gears. The car has been recognized with numerous awards including several Best Chevelle, Best Paint, and Best of Gold Class awards at Super Chevy Shows. We're glad this warrior is all back together again, thanks to Mr. Beasely.

TECH SPECS Owner Jerry Beasley, Hazel Green, KY
Vehicle '69 Chevelle SS 396
Engine '69 Chev 396 ci, stock components with
11:1 compression, .525 lift with 324
duration Chevy cam, Winters GM
manifold, Holley 780 carb, Delco
distributor, 2 1/2" Gardner chambered
exhaust and mufflers, factory chrome
valve covers and air cleaner
Transmission Muncie M22 "Rockcrusher" fourspeed
Rear End stock GM with 4.56:1 gear ratio
Front stock, Delco shocks with correct dates
Rear stock, Delco shocks with correct dates
Wheels stock 14x7
Tires Goodyear F7014 Polyglass
Color Dupont Garnet Red
Painter owner
Interior stock, covered in black vinyl, stock
instruments, and Delco AM radio
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