The Incredible and Exciting 1969 Chevelle SS 396


A Silver 1969 Chevelle SS 396 convertible

1969 Chevelle SS 396 convertible Silver

1969 Chevelle SS 396 An Incredible and Exciting American Muscle Car.

The 1969 Chevelle SS 396 is one of the most popular Muscle Cars ever produced. And, still it’s one of the most desirable and collectable muscle cars. The Chevelle was one of the best selling cars of the 60’s and 70’s. And, it still is one of the most popular Chevrolet models.


The Chevy Chevelle, A Brief History

A 1969 Chevrolet Chevelle Sedan

1969 Chevrolet Chevelle Sedan

The Chevelle, introduced by Chevrolet in late 1963. Chevy needed a model between the full size Impala and the smaller Chevy II. The new mid size Chevelle was produced from 1964 to 1977. It was offered in many different body types. It was available in 2 Door, 4 door, Convertible, Pickup and Wagon configurations.



A 1969 Chevrolet Chevelle Wagon

1969 Chevrolet Chevelle Wagon

The first SS models were available with the 220 Horsepower 283 cubic inch V8. But, by early 64 the other GM divisions like Pontiac. Installed bigger more powerful engines in their mid-size cars. SO, by mid-1964 to the SS’s top engine was changed to the bigger 300 horsepower 327 cubic inch V8 engine. In 65 they increased the 327’s power to 350 horse power. But, clearly due to the competition that was not enough. In the muscle car trend of those days. Like true Hot Rodders the boys at Chevy add more cubes. So, the Big block Chevelle SS 396 was born.

For 1968 the Chevelle was completely redesigned. Now, with a shorter wheel base, new curvier body lines, longer Hood, and Shorter trunk lid. Due to, its new sexy muscular looks the car was an instant success.

A 1969 Chevrolet El Camino SS 396

1969 Chevrolet El Camino SS 396


The 1969 Chevelle SS 396
Only slight changes were made to the Chevelle in 1969. Now, only the 300 Deluxe and Malibu series were available. The base model 300 series were discontinued. The SS became an Engine and Styling option again in 69. The option was offered on any 2 door 300 Deluxe, or Malibu series Chevelles.


PRO Z25 – The 1969 Chevelle SS 396 Package

A Black 1969 Chevelle SS 396 Front

1969 Chevelle SS 396 Front


For 1969 the SS was offered as a separate package again. No longer a separate stand alone model. the Pro Z25 Super Sport package could be ordered on any 2 Door Chevelle configuration. The base Pro Z25 package was available for only $347.60. And, as a separated option the buyer had a vast flexibility of options when ordering his or her SS. They could order a bare bone 300 Deluxe or a more Luxuries Malibu.

The PRO Z25 SS package came standard with the L35 396 cubic inch 325 horsepower engine. A 3-speed manual transmission. F40 Heavy Duty suspension. Blacked out front grilled and rear cover panel with the SS 396 emblem on the center. SS 396 emblems on the front fenders. Twin bulge hood with chrome lovers. Chrome wheel well and drip rail moldings. Wider tires, 5 spoke 14” sports wheel with SS center cap and chrome trim ring. Power front disc brakes were now standard on all SS packages.

There were also a vast number of upgrade options for the 1969 Chevelle SS 396 package. 3 more powerful 396ci engines, the L34, L78 and the lightweight L89. Optional 4 Speed manual gearboxes and automatic Turbo Hydromantic 400 transmission. A vast number of rear axle gear configurations. Tach performance gages, Bucket seats and center console just to name a few.


A Black 1969 Chevelle SS 396 - Front Left Side

1969 Chevelle SS 396 Black

1969 Chevy Chevelle Drivetrain

The Chevy Chevelle lineup for 1969 was full of drivetrain options. It was possible to order your car with a vast combination of engine, transmission and axle. Your Chevelle could be an economical grocery getter of fire breathing Muscle Car.



1969 Chevelle SS 396 Engine Bay

1969 Chevelle SS 396 Engin

1969 Chevelle Engines

The standard engine for 69 was the Turbo-Thrift 230 straight-six with 140hp . The overhead-valve engine featured a 3.875-inch bore and 3.250-inch stroke.

While the standard V-8 was the 200hp Turbo-Fire 307. Optional engines (excluding Super Sport models) included the 155hp Turbo-Thrift 250 straight-six. The larger 250 had the same bore as the 230 but with a longer 3.530-inch stroke. Both six-cylinder engines featured seven main bearings. Hydraulic valve lifters and 18-quart cooling capacity, which made them rugged, long-lived powertrains. A 350 cubic inch offered in 255hp and 300hp varieties. The small-block V-8s all feature five main bearings and 17-quart cooling capacity.


The 1969 Chevelle SS 396 Engine Lineup

Base Engine.
The PRO L35 – 396 cubic inch engine rated at 325 horsepower. With Rochester four barrel carburetors, 10.25:1 compression and two-bolt-main block.
The PRO L34 – 396 cubic inch 350 horsepower engine. With Rochester four barrel carburetors, 10.25:1 compression and two-bolt-main block.
The PRO L78 – 396 cubic inch engine rated at 375 horsepower engine. With 11.0:1 compression, a Holley 4150 four barrel carburetor and mechanical lifters. Iron heads with 2.19-inch intake and 1.84-inch exhaust valves. Aluminum Intake, forged steel crank and four-bolt-main block.

A Chevrolet Big Block 427 - Rat Motor

Chevrolet Big Block 427

The very rare PRO L89 – 396 cubic inch engine rated at 375 horsepower engine. With 11.0:1 compression, a Holley 4150 four barrel carburetor and mechanical lifters. Lightweight aluminum heads, with 2.19-inch intake and 1.84-inch exhaust valves. Aluminum intake, forged steel crank and Four-bolt-main block.

All 396 engines wore chrome valve covers. Buy, only the 350hp and 375hp varieties came equipped with an open-element air filter. In the later part of the 1969 model year all the 396 engine displacement was increased to 402 cubic inches. But, the 396 name remained.



The 1969 COPO 427 Engine Option.

The COPO L72 – 427 cubic inch 425 horsepower engine. With 11.0:1 compression, and Holley four barrel carburetor. This engine was only available through the Central Office Production Order (COPO) only. All Chevelle with the L72 427 engine had no external engine badges. And, made it a true sleeper.


Wow! No fancy Hemi heads or Cross-ram intake. No bells and whistles. Just pure horsepower and Torque!………


The Chevy Chevelle Engine.

Engine Type Code Horsepower @ RPM Torque @ RPM
I6 STD 6 140 @ 4400 220 @ 1600
I6 L22 155 @ 4200 235 @ 1600
V8 STD V8 200 @ 4600 300 @ 2400
V8 LM1 255 @ 4800 355 @ 3200
V8 L65 250 @ 4800 365 @ 2800
V8 L48 300 @ 4800 380 @ 3200
V8 L35 325 @ 4800 410 @ 3200
V8 L34 350 @ 5200 415 @ 3400
V8 L78 375 @ 5600 415 @ 3600


Watch a classic video of the Chevy 396 Big Block Engine.



The Chevelle Transmissions.

In 1969 Chevrolet offered many transmission options for the Chevelle. Varies 3 or 4 speed manual and 2 or 3 speed Automatic transmissions were available.


Manual Transmissions

M-13 3 speed – Base transmission

M-20 4 speed – With 2.52:1 low gear ratio.

M-21 4 speed – Close ratio, with a 2.20:1 low gear.

M22 Rock Crusher 4 speed – Heavy Duty Close ratio, with a 2.20:1 low gear – Only available with the 375hp 396ci engine without air conditioning.

Chevrolet offered a safety starter switch for the first time in 1969, which prevented the car from starting without having the clutch depressed.


Automatic Transmission

M35 Powerglide –  2 speed

M38 Turbo Hydra-Matic 350 – 3 speed.

M40 Turbo Hydra-Matic 400 – 3 speed.      All Automatic SS Models

Only the Turbo Hydra-Matic 400 was available for the SS 396 Models. The other automatics were available for the 6 cylinders and smaller V8 cars.


1969 Chevrolet Chevelle Transmissions Options.

Code Description 1st 2nd 3rd 4th Reverse
M20 Four-Speed Manuel 2.52 1.88 1.46 1 2.59
M21 Four-Speed Manuel 2.2 1.64 1.28 1 2.26
M22 Four-Speed Manuel 2.2 1.64 1.28 1 2.26
M35 Powerglide Transmission, 1.82 1 1.76
M38 Three-speed Turbo Hydra-Matic 2.52 1.52 1 1.93
M40 Three-speed Turbo Hydra-Matic 2.48 1.48 1 2


1969 Chevrolet Chevelle Rear Axle.

A Blue 1969 Chevelle SS 396 convertible

1969 Chevelle SS 396 convertible Blue


All the 1969 Chevelles came equipped with solid, semi-floating rear axles. Axle were available with a wide range of ratios depending on Engine and transmission options. The differentials were also available in 10 bolt or the heavy duty 12 bolt configurations.All Chevelle SS models came with 12 Bolt rear axle. Ratios ranged from 2.73:1 to 4.88:1.




Chevelle Rear Differential Code

P. Code Type Note
CA 10 Bolt (L14/307)
CB 10 Bolt
CC 12 Bolt
CD 12 Bolt Positraction
CE 10 Bolt Positraction
CF 12 Bolt Positraction (L34&L35/396)
CG 10 Bolt Positraction
CH Positraction
CI 12 Bolt Positraction (L34/396&L78/396)
CK Positraction
CL 10 Bolt  L65/350-2)
CM Positraction
CN 12 Bolt (L48/350-4&LM1/350-4)
CO 10 Bolt
CP 10 Bolt (L14/307)
CQ 10 Bolt (L65/350-2)
CS Positraction
CW 12 Bolt (L35/396,L34/396&L48/350-4)
CX 12 Bolt (L35/396)
CY 12 Bolt
FI Positraction
FJ 10 Bolt
FK 10 Bolt Positraction
FL 10 Bolt
FM 10 Bolt Positraction
FO Positraction
KA Small ring gear
KB Positraction, small ring gear
KC Positraction, small ring gear
KD 12 Bolt Large ring gear (L48/350,L35/396)
KE Positraction, small ring gear
KF 12 Bolt Positraction, large ring gear (L35/396&L34/396)
KG 12 Bolt Small ring gear
KH 12 Bolt Positraction, small ring gear
KI 10 Bolt 3.36:1 ~ 10-bolt
KJ 3.55:1 ~ large ring gear
KK 12 Bolt Positraction(L78/396)
KL Positraction, small ring gear
KM 12 Bolt Positraction
KN Small ring gear
KO 12 Bolt Positraction
KP Positraction, small ring gear
KQ 12 Bolt Positraction, heavy-duty –  COPO
KX 12 Bolt Positraction

1969 Chevrolet Chevelle Styling

Compared to 1968 only Miner styling changes were made in 1969. Changes included the removal of front window vents. A chrome bar that stretches across the new front grill. And, bigger flush mounted taillights. The Chevelle was available in many exterior and interior color and trim combinations. Side racing stripes where available and could be ordered in different colors.


There were 15 solid exterior body colors in 1969, and 7 two-tone paint options.


Chevelle Exterior Colors Options

Color Code
Azure Turquoise 921KK
Burgundy 914NN
Burnished Brown 918SS
Butternut Yellow 916YY
Champagne 917MM
Cortez Silver 912BB
Daytona Yellow 926PP
Dover White 911CC
Dusk Blue 923EE
Fathom Green 920VV
Frost Green 919WW
Garnet Red 913RR
Glacier Blue 922DD
Hugger Orange 927QQ
LeMans Blue 924FF
Olympic Gold 915GG
Tuxedo Black 910AA

Two Tone Color Options

Code Lower Color Upper Color
954DC Glacier Blue  Dover White
955DE Glacier Blue Dusk Blue
956ED Dusk Blue Glacier Blue
957GC Olympic Gold Dover White
958KC Azure Turquoise Dover White
959SM Burnished Brown Champagne


A Orange and White1969 Chevelle SS 396

1969 Chevelle SS 396 Orange White

Vinyl Top Colors

  • Black
  • Parchment
  • Dark
  • Brown
  • Dark
  • Blue
  • Midnight
  • Green

Convertible Top Colors

  • Black
  • White

Stripe Colors

  • Black
  • Blue
  • Gold
  • Green
  • Red
  • White


The Chevelle Interior

Like the rest of the car the interior came with an incredible array of options and nine choices of colors. You could order very bare bones or a comfortable and luxuries interior.The Chevelle came stander with a vinyl front bench seat, padded dash, standard Strong vinyl door panels. Bucket seats and a center console were available as an option. Even, on all the SS Models. Other options included air conditioning, tilt Steering, rear defroster, power windows and door locks just to name a few.


Chevelle interior Options.

Description Code Price
Air Conditioning – Deluxe C60 $376.00
Ashtray lamp U28 $12.15
Auxiliary Speaker U80 $13.20
Custom Deluxe Seat Belts, front & rear A39 $9.00
Deluxe Seat Belts & Front Seat Shoulder Harness ZK3 $13.70
Deluxe Shoulder Harness A85 $26.35
Door Edge Guards B93 $4.25
Electric Clock U35 $15.80
Floor Mats B37 $11.60
Front Compartment Console D55 $53.75
Glove compartment lamp U27 $12.15
Head Restraints A82 $17.25
Instrument Panel Courtesy Lights U29 $19.00
Light Monitoring System U46 $26.35
Map Lamp UF1 n/a
Outside Mirror – Remote Control D33 $10.55
Radio – AM/FM Push Button U69 $133.80
Radio – Push Button U63 $61.10
Rear Seat Shoulder Harness – Deluxe AS4 $26.35
Rear Seat Shoulder Harness – Standard AS5 $23.20
Rear Window Defroster C50 $22.15
Shoulder Harness – Standard AS1 $23.20
Special Instrumentation U14 $94.80
Speed Warning Indicator U15 $11.60
Stereo Equipment U79 $239.10
Strato-Bucket Seats A51 $121.15
Tape Player U57 $133.80
Vacuum Operated Door Locks A93 $68.50
Vanity Visor Mirror D34 $3.20
Windows – Electric Control A31 $105.35

Chevelle Interior Colors

  • Black
  • Dark Blue
  • Dark Gold
  • Dark Green
  • Dark Red
  • Dark Saddle
  • Dark Turquoise
  • Medium Blue


Chevrolet Chevelle Chassis

The Chevelle used a full frame chassis with the body mounted on top. Built on the mid-size GM A-Body platform chassis. 112” Wheel Base Coupe, 116″ wheel base sedan and wagons. A front-engine, rear-wheel-drive layout that was shared with other GM mid-size cars.The platform was used on many body styles. Such as, coupe, sedan, convertible, and station wagon.

The frame used a fully boxed front section and cross member. To support the engine and front suspension. All hardtop models used C shaped channel side rails. While, the convertible models used stiffer boxed side rails.



All GM A-Body Platform Models

  • Chevrolet Chevelle
  • Chevrolet El Camino
  • Buick Special
  • Buick Skylark,
  • Buick GS
  • Buick GSX
  • Oldsmobile F-85
  • Oldsmobile Cutlass
  • Oldsmobile 442
  • Pontiac Tempest
  • Pontiac Le Mans
  • Pontiac GTO
  • Acadian Beaumont



The Chevelle has an independent front suspension. With, ball joint upper and lower unequal length A-shaped control arms. Coil Springs, telescopic shock absorbers, and link type anti roll bars. The rear suspension consisted a solid rear axle with coil springs. Telescopic shock absorbers, lower trailing arms and diagonal anti-torque upper arms. Riding on 7.35 or 7.75 size tires mounted on 14” wheels.


1969 Chevelle SS 396 Suspension packages

F40 Heavy Duty suspension package. Stiff springs and shocks, .937-inch Front sway bar.

F41 Special Performance suspension package. Stiffer springs and shocks, 1.125-inch Front sway bar and .875-inch rear sway bar with stiffer bushings.



In 1969 all SS 396 models came stander with front 11 inch power disc brakes and 9.5 inch diameter rear drums.


1969 Chevrolet Chevelle Production Numbers

1969 was the best year for the Chevelle SS. Chevrolet sold 86,307 SS 396s. Over 9000 were ordered with the L78 375hp Engine. 400 were ordered with the light weight L89 396 engine

Six Cylinder Eight Cylinder
Models Produced Produced Total
Nomad, 4 Dr Station Wagon, 2 Seats 3806 4175 7981
Nomad, 4 Dr Station Wagon, 2 Seats, Two Way Tailgate 1725 3446 5171
Chevelle 300 Deluxe, 2 Dr Sedan 8238 5620 13858
Chevelle 300 Deluxe, 2 Dr Sport Coupe 3321 7181 10502
Chevelle 300 Deluxe, 4 Dr Sedan 9399 8198 17597
Greenbrier, 4 Dr Station Wagon, 2 Seats 612 2769 3381
Greenbrier, 4 Dr Station Wagon, 2 Seats, Two Way Tailgate 732 4324 5056
Greenbrier, 4 Dr Station Wagon, 3 Seats, Two Way Tailgate n/a 2169 2169
El Camino, 2 Dr Sedan Pickup 2193 6407 8600
Malibu, 2 Dr Sport Coupe 14724 286162 300886
Malibu, 4 Dr Sport Sedan 1316 16956 18272
Malibu, 2 Dr Convertible 484 8443 8927
Malibu, 4 Dr Sedan 6970 32063 39033
Concours, 4 Dr Station Wagon, 2 Seats, Two Way Tailgate 546 10898 11444
Concours, 4 Dr Station Wagon, 3 Seats, Two Way Tailgate n/a 3063 3063
Custom El Camino, 2 Dr Sedan Pickup 785 39000 39785
Concours Estate, 4 Dr Station Wagon, 2 Seats, Two Way Tailgate n/a 5236 5236
Concours Estate, 4 Dr Station Wagon, 3 Seats, Two Way Tailgate n/a 2391 2391
Total 54851 448501 503352


1969 Chevy Chevelle SS 396 Performance.

The performance of the Chevelle SS 396 varied depending on Drivetrain, engine and Trim options. Bellow are some performance numbers of Chevelles tested by Car magazines back in 1969


1969 Chevelle SS 396 Magazine Performance Tests 

Tested By Engine Horsepower Transmission  Axle Ratio  0-60 1/4 mile 
Car & Driver 396ci 325 Automatic 3.55 5.8 14.41 @ 97.35mph
Motor Trend 396ci 350 Automatic 3.55 7.6 15.4 @ 92mph
HiPerformance Cars 396ci 375 4 speed 4.11 14.70 @ 101mph
Car Craft 396ci 375 Automatic 4.11 14.06 @ 102mph



A Red 1969 Chevy Chevelle SS 396 With White Racing Strpes

1969 Chevy Chevelle SS 396 Red

The 1969 Chevy Chevelle SS 396 L78 

For an option that wasn’t even on the showroom brochure or dealer sales albums. Chevrolet produced 9,486 Chevelles with the mighty 375 horsepower 396 PRO L78 engine package. Just think, not even the sales people at the local Chevy dealer new about the option. Only a select number of dealers had the Special Product Order form and knew the magic code to order the L78. The word about the L78 got out thanks to a few magazine articles. Many read the articles ad quickly went out to find a dealer find one.

Chevelles with the PRO L78 Package came with many upgrades. First and most impressive was the 396 cubic inch engine 11.0:1 compression rated at 375 horsepower @ 5600 rpm. The 415 lb-ft Peak torque of came on at 3600 rpm. The engine came with iron head with 2.195-inch intake and 1.845-inch exhaust. Solid Lifters with 1.70:1 rockers. The cam had .520 lift, 316 Intake and 302 exhaust duration. Aluminum domed pistons, with forged steel rods. Forged steel crank, and heavy duty four bolt main block. A Holley four barrel carburetor and dual-plane aluminum intake.

When ordering the L78 Package you also got the F41 heavy-duty suspension. Reinforced boxed lower and upper control arms. To handle the massive torque of the engine. A heavy duty rear axle with ratio options from 3.07:1 to 4.88:1.Just how fast was a stock 1969 L78 Chevelle right out of the box? The 1/4 mile in 14.07 seconds @ 101 mph.

Wow! Incredible Especially On Those Old Bias Tires.

A Blue 1969 COPO Chevelle

1969 COPO Chevelle

COPO Chevelle The Ultimate Sleeper

The Muscle Car war was at its peak in 1969. Other manufactures were offering cars with engines over 400 cubic inches like the Chrysler 440 and the 426 Hemi. So, Chevy decided to build a limited number of very special Chevelles with the 425 horsepower 427 cubic inch L72 engine. GM had a ban on engines over 400ci in mid-size cars. So, to circumvent the rule, they used the Central Office Production Order (COPO) system. This system was only used for special fleet orders for Taxis and Trucks.

However, only a hand full of people knew about this. And so, only 323 COPO Chevelles were built. The COPO cars came with the 427ci Engine, Al the upgrades of the L78 package and special heavy-duty rear axle with heat-treated 4.10:1 gears.

All COPO cars came with no special badging or engine emblems. From the outside, they look like a standard 300 Deluxe Chevelle.

The COPO ran the quarter mile in the low 13 seconds. Making, these cars the ultimate sleepers.


A Red 1969 Chevelle Malibu SS 396

1969 Chevy Chevelle SS 396 Malibu


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