This Triple Black 1967 Chevelle SS396 was Rescued from a Field and Hidden Since 1981

Derrick Nichols and Curtis Nichols of Clarksville, Tennessee are brothers and avid Chevelle enthusiasts. In early 1991, Derrick Nichols worked as a pipefitter alongside a notorious vintage car hoarder. “To my knowledge, this guy had never sold anyone a car from his collection,” Derrick says. One day after work, Derrick was invited to survey the 10-plus acres of vintage cars parked in fields just outside of Waverly, Tennessee.

“Once we entered the last field, I noticed a roofline that resembled a 1966-1967 Chevelle barely sticking out from the tall weeds. We drove over next to the car and I was in total disbelief,” Derrick explains. “There sat a beautiful triple-black 1967 Chevelle SS396 that looked like it recently had been driven out there and parked. I’m slightly partial to the 1966, and I had just recently made the purchase of a 1966 Chevelle SS396 L78, so I immediately thought of Curtis,” Derrick says. After making a quick call to Curtis and explaining the details of the car, the brothers put together a very simple plan of persistence. By the end of 1991, Curtis Nichols was the new owner.

“This car hadn’t been licensed or driven since 1981 and was undoubtedly a new addition to the vintage-car graveyard back in 1991. We truly saved this car’s life by rescuing it all those years ago,” Curtis tells us. “It absolutely would still be in the same spot and rusted away to nothing.”

As to its current condition, Curtis states, “This car is exactly the way it was removed from the field in 1991 with the exception of the original engine, which I removed to check the condition of the bottom end. The patina has been left undisturbed for 25 years. There isn’t a panel on this car in need of total replacement. The entire body on this Chevelle is in very good condition with very little rust. This car also still retains its original engine and driveline and most of the correct dated components such as alternator, starter, distributor etc… You would be hard pressed to find a better candidate for a restoration, and impossible to find a cooler color combo.”

The Chevelle was assembled the third week of January 1967 at the Atlanta, Georgia assembly plant featuring a Tuxedo black exterior, black vinyl bucket-seat interior, a black vinyl top, and F70-14 red stripe tires.

“It was sold new from Vic Jenkins Chevrolet in Gallatin, Tennessee and remained there its entire life,” Curtis confirms.

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It also features the RPO (Regular Production Option) L35 SS396 325hp engine backed by the unusual base RPO M13 three-speed fully synchronized manual transmission with the standard 12-bolt rear axle and 3.31:1 gears. Other options included the addition of an RPO D55 Center Console, RPO N40 Power Steering, RPO U73 Rear Antenna, and RPO N96 Simulated Mag Style Wheel Covers.

An interesting feature on this car is the existence of the RPO M13 three-speed manual transmission. The Atlanta, Georgia assembly plant was known to leave the cowl tag absent a transmission code on line 4 of the cowl tag when the base transmission was used. This car is absent a transmission code on the cowl tag which further solidifies that theory to be true. The M13 three-speed manual transmission was the base transmission and was rarely used behind the SS396 engine. Most 1967 Chevelle SS396s equipped with manual transmission were typically assembled with the Muncie RPO M20 four-speed upgrade, thus making it unusual and a great conversation piece today.

1967 Chevelle SS396 RPO L35 equipped muscle cars featured a two-bolt main engine block with 4.094-inch bores, a 3.76-inch stroke crankshaft, 10.25:1 compression ratio, hydraulic flat-tappet camshaft, high-rise cast iron intake manifold, and a Rochester Quadrajet carburetor.The RPO L35 SS396 was the base engine for the SS396 body style, but it was still considered a performance oriented machine.

Transmissions available behind the RPO L35 SS396 engine were the RPO M13 three-speed manual, M20 wide ratio four-speed manual, M21 close ratio four-speed manual, M35 two-speed Powerglide automatic, and M40 Turbo Hydra-Matic 400 automatic (SS396 only). A heavy-duty 12-bolt rear axle was standard equipment for RPO L35 SS396 with a 3.31:1 gear ratio and a manual transmission and a 3.07:1 gear ratio for the automatic equipped cars. Other gearsets were available on the option list and also through the dealer.

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Today, the car is in excellent hands with Curtis Nichols and is kept in his climate controlled garage. As to his current plans for the car, Curtis says, “I want to get the original engine running and enjoy it awhile as a running barn find. This car not only survived absolute certain doom in a field left to deteriorate, but it also survived my three changes of address, the births of all three of my daughters, and every other selling temptation in between. I want to take my girls for a ride in this car someday and just have some fun. If I ever decided to part with the car, my brother Derrick would get first opportunity. Without his help I wouldn’t own this super cool Chevelle.”

Source: hotrod.com

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