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Amazing 1970 Chevelle SS396 Barn Find Sells at the Russo and Steele Auction

Patrick Nichols Jun 17, 2017
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Every January, thousands of car enthusiasts in the market for a collector car bombard Scottsdale, Arizona, for the world's largest auction arena. Whether you are looking to become a consignor, bidder, spectator, or all of the above, there is a smorgasbord of cars on hand—everything from exotic European sports cars to American muscle.

The Russo and Steele Collector Automobile Auction specializes in American muscle cars as well as inoperable barn finds. The Russo and Steele staff was excited to consign the amazing 1970 Chevelle SS396 barn find that donned the cover of the November 2016 issue of Car Craft magazine.

This 1970 Chevelle SS396 was equipped with the special high-performance RPO (Regular Production Option) L78 engine option and was found parked in a storage lot in Fresno, California, in January 2016. It was parked there in 1983 and never moved. Only 2,144 1970 SS396 Chevelles were equipped with the RPO L78 engine option, and very few are in existence today.

"Once I became aware of all the interest the Chevelle was generating on the Internet, along with its rarity, and saw its picture on the cover of Car Craft magazine, I knew Russo and Steele was a perfect fit for this car," says consignment specialist Walter Cerini. Cerini assisted with all of the paperwork to register the Chevelle for the auction and was also in charge of Russo and Steele's aggressive Internet marketing of the car.

"We were really proud to have the Chevelle barn find at our Scottsdale, Arizona, auction," says Cerini. "It was an interesting attraction for all of our participants, and it was also a big hit like we had expected." The Chevelle crossed the block at 2:30 p.m. on January 18, 2017, and found its new owner.

With all the options available to facilitate the sale of a collector car such as eBay, Craigslist, and others, we'd have to say there is nothing like the exciting experience of a live auction. Although the online options mentioned above involve zero travel expenses, and in some cases zero seller fees, the value of meeting new people and the thrill of a live auction more than make up for it. Our experience at the Russo and Steele auction was a blast, and we would highly recommend it to anyone.

For more information on Russo and Steele, visit their website at RussoAndSteele.com.

001 1970 Chevelle L78 Lead 2/25

1970 Chevelle SS396 featuring RPO L78 Special High Performance engine. Only 2,144 units were produced.

002 1970 Chevelle Ss L78 3/25

The rare Chevelle was parked outside in Fresno, California, in a storage lot in 1983 and never moved until early 2016.

003 1970 Chevelle Ss L78 4/25

Loading the Chevelle in preparation to transport to the Russo and Steele auction.

004 1970 Chevelle Ss L78 5/25

All loaded up and ready to make the journey across country to Scottsdale, Arizona.

005 1970 Chevelle Ss L78 6/25

Once on the Russo and Steele auction site, vehicle check-in is simple. Make sure to have all of the paperwork received by mail handy to assist the auction representative. Prior arrangements were made for additional assistance for the inoperable barn-find Chevelle.

006 1970 Chevelle Ss L78 7/25

Muscle-car collector Stan Harvell inspects the high-profile, barn-find Chevelle for the first time. Stan provided invaluable assistance with the sale of the Chevelle throughout the auction.

007 1970 Chevelle Ss L78 8/25

Once the vehicle check-in is completed, the car is assigned a slot in one of the display tents.

008 1970 Chevelle Ss L78 9/25

The first day of the auction event is reserved for viewing of the cars up for sale. This gives the bidders a chance to inspect the cars prior to the auction.

009 1970 Chevelle Ss L78 10/25

Sellers need to have all documentation and photo albums on display with the vehicle for potential bidders to examine. This barn-find Chevelle was featured on the cover of the November, 2016 issue of Car Craft Magazine and also retained its original assembly buildsheet.

010 1970 Chevelle Ss L78 11/25

The high-profile, barn-find Chevelle, with its 30-plus years of dust, dirt, patina, and fascinating story interested many spectators and was a mega hit at the Russo and Steele auction. There was never a shortage of onlookers circling the car throughout the event.

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