Car of the Week: 1969 Chevelle

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{Editor’s Note: Sometimes, readers can write better stories than the Old Cars Weekly editors. Especially when the subject is their own car. This is one of those times, so we’ll let reader Josh Mazur, who’s only 21 by the way, tell the story of how he wound up with his sweet 1969 Chevelle).

By Josh Mazur

My first vehicle was a 1970 Chevy C/10 Pickup I bought in the spring of  my freshman year of high school when I was 15. It was originally sold here in Wisconsin in 1970 and then brought out to California right away and was a service truck for a gas station, which is why it has the spot lights on the cab posts and is still pretty solid. It’s pretty much original including the paint, 307, and 3 on the tree. I drove the truck all through high school; it lways used a lot of gas and was very loud, as the Flowmaster exhaust ended right after the cab.

Senior year I decided that I wanted to buy a Chevelle.

When I was just a few years old, my dad had a ’66 El Camino and a ’69 Chevelle. My dad and his cousin found a ’68 Chevelle a few years ago, which I was planning on buying but it ended up getting sold. Talk about heartbreak! So that was the car that spiked my interest in Chevelles and that’s when the search really started.

My dad originally bought this particular Chevelle from “an old greaser” back around 1977. When he got it, it had a Buick motor in it that was pretty much junk. He bought a 327 motor and completely rebuilt it and dropped it in the Chevelle. He eventually sold it along with the El Camino around 1991 when I was about 3 years old in favor of a more “family friendly” vehicle. About the only thing I can remember is sitting on the front seats of the cars, and with the Chevelle, sitting in the back seat and thinking it was cool that the back windows would roll down.

Fast-forward to 2006, I’m 17 and looking for a Chevelle. Here in Wisconsin, you find cars that are rotted out, full of bondo, or both,  plus 99% of them are out of reach price-wise for an 18-year-old kid. After about a year of looking with nothing to show for it, I think of trying to track down Dad’s old car. We found some old registration papers which contained the VIN and I posted a message on a local club’s Web site asking if anyone could help me out. A guy ran the VIN and told me that it was registered and gave me the owner’s name. I did a little phone book search and came up with his phone and address and wrote it down, but couldn’t work up the courage to call him — what if he asked where I got the info from? A few months went by and I couldn’t wait any longer. So I call the owner, ask him if he owns a Chevelle, and he says “Yes, it’s up on blocks in the barn.” Wow, barn find? Maybe, although he states what he’s looking to get for it, which I think is pretty steep. We make arrangements to go see it, and sure enough, tucked in the corner of a barn surrounded by tractors on two sides and up on blocks in the air, it sits. It wasn’t possible to move it at the time and it was very dark and hard to see, so we just pretty much glanced it over and suggested that we wanted to get a better look at the car outside.

Easier said than done, as over a year goes by with my inquiries of the car being unsuccessful, that the car is still sitting untouched in the same spot. Finally, my call in October 2007 was received by the owner’s wife. She was very nice and seemed as if she wanted the car gone. It would finally be removed. We went up and looked at it, took it for a ride, made an offer, and drove it home. I finally had my Chevelle.

Now that it’s back in the family, we figure it went through about three owners since my dad had it and went from its original color of Azure Turquoise to Canary Yellow. We found a few pictures of the car from when Dad owned it, which was a pretty cool find. The quality isn’t the best, but it shows the car back in 1977. I took some “now” pictures of the car; same car, same location, same trees, just a little larger. The Chevelle still has the same 327, but the four-speed has been replaced with a turbo 400. When I find a good deal on a four-speed, I hope to replace the automatic. The yellow paint is it’s only repaint and it is an original bucket seat car.

It had been stored for quite a while previous to my ownership, so it needed a little work to be “safe” and roadworthy. With the help of my dad, I’ve been replacing worn-out parts on the car such as the brakes and some other little stuff. The first time I lifted the car into the air, I noticed the wheel had quite a bit of movement. We found out that the wheel bearing was missing in action, luckily I didn’t loose a wheel at 60 mph on the freeway. Now I’m to the point of making the car how I want it, I added some bigger tires on the back and replaced the worn-out springs for a slightly higher stance. My dad and I did the long haul on the Hot Rod Power Tour last summer and had a blast, other than blowing the transmission up outside of Detriot, which left a pretty big hole in my wallet. The 327 motor always ran decent since I’ve owned it, but the 2,000-mile trip of Power Tour really left it more tired, so currently I’m in the process of putting together a 383 stroker motor.

One day, when I have the resources, the car will be fully restored and returned to its original color, but for now it’s a great driver!


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