Letter From the Editor, January 2017


Wow can you believe it is 2017? It only seems like yesterday when I picked up a used ‘68 SS396 Chevelle on a dealers lot for$850.00 and the year was 1976.  Yeah, I was looking for a big block Chevelle and at about 6AM on a Friday morning I drove into Jim Connell Chevrolet in Anderson, SC.,  sitting in the back row was this flawless white with a black top SS396 4 speed Chevelle.

The full wheel covers that said SS396 were still in place with white wall recap tires. You could tell whoever traded this car in must not have hot rodded it much.  It only had 73,000 miles on it! So I waited until they opened at 8AM and I asked the salesman how much? He said $1200.00! I thought, wow I can’t afford that! I was really sad because that was a lot of money in 1976. I said, “Sorry I can’t afford that, all I got is $ 900.00 and I have to get home.” The salesman said “Well let me talk to the manager maybe we can do better.” I thought, heck there is no way they will come down that much. As I walked around the car again I imagined it with a set of Cragar mags and some 60 series tires on the back. About 10 minutes later the salesman said the manager will let you have it $850.00 out the door!

 Man I was so happy I wanted to jump up and down. I mean, an 18 year old kid with a like new spotless 1968 SS396 Chevelle. This car was only a 325 HP version and it had a wide ratio 4 speed with a 3:08 ratio open rear end but it really still ran pretty good.  It even had all its original paint! I was living in Ohio at the time, so a totally rust free 8 year old car was unheard of up there. Wow, 34 years later $850.00 won’t even get you a good Muncie 4 speed transmission, who would have thought! I went through about 4 1968 SS396 Chevelles within a 5 year period. Two white ones with black tops, one 4 speed, and one Turbo 400, one light yellow with a black top and powerglide, one all black with a 4 speed. I had two 69 SS396 Chevelles, one dark blue with a Turbo 400 and one black with a 4 speed. The last Chevelle I bought back during that same 5 year period was a one owner car and it was a 1970 SS396 Chevelle cranberry red with black stripes.  It had the working cowl hood and a 350 HP 396 Turbo 400 with a 3:55 posi. That was the most expensive one, and it cost me $1450.00 and only had 63,000 miles on it! I purchased all of these cars in Anderson, SC.  You wonder where they all went.

Well, its 2017 now, but the memories are so good that you just do not want to forget them. Jim Connell Chevrolet is long gone but another little dealer in Anderson I  used to buy a lot of cars from was Highway Motors and they are still in business today.  Well, I decided to bring in the new year this time without bitchin’ about something for a change! Boy, old cars keep getting older and the women just keep getting  younger, go figure! Happy New Year! We will always still have our memories and no one can take that away from us!

I have been working on a 1966 Chevelle sedan for 3 years off and on and should have it out this summer, so see ya somewhere with it, smashing the gas on that rat motor!!

The Bear