This 1969 Chevrolet Chevelle was bought for Bruce Springsteen by his mechanic in 1981, he owned the car in the 1980s and it was later displayed in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with the surfboard that Bruce would put in the back when going to the beach in New Jersey.
The car has specifications that closely match the lyrics to the 1978 Springsteen song “Racing in the Street,” with the 396 V8 and the Hurst on the floor, and it still looks to be in excellent condition from its restoration in 1988.
Fast Facts – An Ex-Springsteen 1969 Chevrolet Chevelle
- The Chevrolet Chevelle was a mid-sized car produced by Chevrolet for the 1964 to 1978 model years. It was originally developed to compete with other popular mid-sized cars of the era, such as the Ford Fairlane and the Plymouth Belvedere.
- The Chevelle was available in several different body styles, including a two-door coupe, a four-door sedan, a station wagon, and a convertible. High performance versions of the car were offered, including a number of big block V8-powered examples.
- The second generation Chevelle appeared in 1967 with an all new body and more curved styling. The SS 396 package was offered as an option for any two-door model which included a number of upgrades including the 325 bhp big block 396 cubic inch V8.
- The car you see here is a 1969 SS 396 Chevelle, it belonged to Bruce Springsteen in the 1980s and he later gifted it to his recording engineer Toby Scott, who had worked with him on the song “Racing in the Street,” a song that seems to describe this very car.
The Chevrolet Chevelle SS 396
The second generation Chevrolet Chevelle was produced from 1968 to 1972. This period saw significant changes and updates to the car, and today it remains one of the most popular versions of the series.
Above Video: This is Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band playing the song “Racing in the Street” at a concert in Houston, Texas in 1978.
In 1968, the Chevelle was completely redesigned, with a longer wheelbase and more streamlined styling. The car was available in several different body styles, including a two-door coupe, a four-door sedan, a station wagon, and a convertible. The base engine was a 140 bhp inline-six, but buyers could opt for a range of V8 engines, including a 396 cubic inch V8 that produced well over 300 horsepower.
In 1969, Chevrolet introduced the SS 396 as an option package and no longer as a series unto itself.
When selected the SS 396 option package created a high-performance version of the Chevelle that was powered by the Turbo-Jet 396 cubic inch V8 with a range of other performance upgrades including heavy-duty suspension, a “power dome” hood, power brakes, wide-oval tires on sport wheels, and a limited-slip differential.
In 1970, the Chevelle received a significant update, with a more aggressive front end and a more muscular overall appearance. The car was available with a range of engines, including the LS6 454 cubic inch V8, which produced a hefty 450 bhp at 5,600 rpm and 500 lb ft of torque at 3,600 rpm.
This engine was one of the most powerful offered in a production car at the time.
In 1971, the Chevelle received another facelift, with a new grille and headlight design. The car was also available with a new engine, the LS5 454 cubic inch V8, which produced 365 horsepower.
In 1972, the Chevelle received its final update, with a new grille and bumper design. This would be the last year for the second generation Chevelle, as Chevrolet would introduce a completely new design for the 1973 model year.
The Ex-Springsteen Chevelle SS 396 Shown Here
As noted above, this car was bought by Bruce Springsteen using his longtime mechanic as the intermediary, a sensible arrangement as vehicle prices could tend to climb drastically once the seller knows that the buyer is a multi-platinum, multi-millionaire.
The car was carefully chosen to match the lyrics to Springsteen’s famous song from 1978 “Racing in the Street” – the opening lyrics begin:
I got a sixty-nine Chevy with a three-ninety-six
Fuelie heads and a Hurst on the floor
She’s waiting tonight down in the parking lot
Outside the Seven-Eleven store
This vehicle is a 1969 Chevrolet Chevelle SS 396, it has the 396 cubic inch V8 making 350 bhp as well as the other performance add ons like uprated suspension, power brakes, wider wheels and tires, a limited slip differential, and more.
As the lyrics to the song go it also has a 4-speed manual transmission on the floor with Hurst shifter. It’s also fitted with chrome Cragar SS wheels with BF Goodrich Radial T/A raised white letter tires, an electronic ignition, an MSD tachometer adapter, a serpentine belt system with polished alternator and water pump, ceramic coated Hooker headers, and a dual exhaust system.
Bruce owned the car from 1981 to 1987 when he gave it to his recording engineer Toby Scott for Christmas. Scott and Springsteen worked together on over 18 of his studio albums over the years, and the men got to know each other very well.
The car was given a careful rotisserie restoration a year later in 1988. The color was changed from Midnight Black to LeMans Blue during the restoration. It now has a white soft top and a white interior with front bucket seats.
It was later displayed at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio with the surfboard Bruce used to throw in the car for trips to the beach in New Jersey. The car is now due to be offered for sale by Mecum in mid-May.
The car comes with a signed letter from Bruce regarding his ownership of the car, a document from Bruce’s mechanic describing acquiring the car for Bruce and a picture of the license plate the car wore when registered to Bruce are included. If you’d like to read more about it or register to bid you can visit the listing here.
Images courtesy of Mecum
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