When the '70 Chevelle hit dealer showrooms in the fall of '69, buyers had their choice of 15 different paint choices to go with five different vinyl-top color options. Probably the most popular hue was Cranberry Red, followed by Forest Green and Cortez Silver. Other choices were Tuxedo Black, Green Mint, Astro Blue, Fathom Blue, Black Cherry, Misty Turquoise, Gobi Beige, Desert Sand, Shadow Gray, Classic White, Autumn Gold and Champagne Gold.
Left off the '70 option list was Hugger Orange, which assumed "Camaro only" status for the launch of the new second-generation F-body. But 14 Chevelle customers with the right connections at their local dealer checked off the custom paint box on the order form, with the code for Hugger Orange being written in. Of the 14 sprayed in this hue, four were known to have been LS6 cars, and the one before you is one of only two known to still exist.
While on a fishing trip with his son to Galveston, Texas, Juan Escobar spotted a '70 Chevelle for sale in the local paper. Going to check the car out, he found what appeared to be an original LS6 model in Black Cherry that had spent most of its Texas lifetime in storage, between occasional trips to the dragstrip. The Chevelle was with its second owner, who purchased it from the original buyer in '71. Desperate for cash, the car had to go, and after some haggling and drama that included Juan having to technically buy the car twice, the A-body went home with him.
The original plan was to do a basic fix-up and finish on the car so it could be a driver, but after some disassembly Juan kept noticing orange paint all over the hidden areas of the Chevelle's body. After doing some research and looking at the car's cowl tag and build sheet (thankfully still intact) the realization dawned on him that this particular Chevelle was a factory special-order paint car. Further research revealed just how uncommon it was, and the whole plan changed.
A full-on, correct nut-and-bolt restoration ensued, with the rust-free original sheetmetal cleaned up and resprayed in Hugger Orange. Most of the original interior was in pristine shape, with only the carpet needing replacement. Throughout the restoration, only N.O.S. (new old stock for the newbies) parts were used. Juan tracked down correctly date-coded iron exhaust manifolds for the car along with a correct carb.
An interesting thing discovered during the car's rebuild was its odd rear seatbelt delete option. Also, it was equipped with the extra-cost rear window defogger. The LS6 was refreshed along with the original TH400 trans. Once finished, the Chevelle was back to factor-new condition.
Obviously, the Hugger Orange LS6 would only see limited duty because of its rarity and value, so another Chevelle (the black one you see here) was bought. A rust-free California car, it was supposed to be a driver and first ride for Juan's son when he turned 16. Originally an SS396, a CE-coded LS6 short-block was built to 575 horsepower to motivate the second Chevelle. It wears Pro Comp aluminum heads with a Comp Cams nostalgia LS6 camshaft running a matching Comp valvetrain. Fuel delivery is via an original LS6 intake and Holley carb, while a Milodon oil pan keeps the motor's lubrication contained. A built TH400 handles power transfer to the brand-new Moser 12-bolt rear.
For suspension, Juan called Hotchkis for one of its complete, bolt-on tubular front suspension systems with drop spindles. Out back, Hotchkis equipment keeps the 12-bolt under control as well. Wilwood 13-inch rotors, six-piston calipers up front, four-piston out back provide the "whoa" power to match the car's "go." Rolling stock are Coys Wheels' C-5s, 20x7 front, 22x9 rear, wrapped in Goodyear Eagle GT rubber, 225/35ZR20 front, 265/35ZR22 rear.
After this black beast was finished, Escobar knew it was too much car for a 16-year-old and even finds it a handful to drive himself. But both machines have provided tons of enjoyment for father and son, between the research, the builds and their use, it's the kind of stuff that will always be remembered.