The SS 454 you see here is not an LS6, but it's the next best thing regarding oomph and torque. This hardtop packs an LS5 engine, essentially identical to the LS6, but lacking the four-barrel Holley carburetor and other high-performance goodies. The mill came with 360 horsepower on tap, which placed it below the range-topping LS6 and the 402-cubic-inch (6.6-liter) in the SS 396. The latter delivered 375 horses.
But even though it's nowhere near as potent as the LS6, the LS5 is a slightly rarer engine. Specifically, only 4,298 customers went with this option in 1970. That's 177 fewer cars than the SS 454 LS6. It also accounts for only 6.9% of the Chevelle SS production and only 0.67% of that year's total Chevelle output. It doesn't get rarer than this, right?
Well, actually, it does because the SS 396 model equipped with the 375-horsepower L78 engine is much scarcer at 2,144 examples, but you get the gist. And with many LS5 vehicles abandoned over the years, the number of cars still around in 2023 is much smaller. Moreover, some vehicles enjoy one-of-few status thanks to their color and option combos. Thanks to its triple green finish, this hardtop is one of those rigs.
What's a triple paint finish, you ask? Well, this name applies to a car that sports the same paint on the body, the roof (vinyl or not), and inside the cabin. You've probably heard of triple black for all-black classics. This one is Forest Green (paint code 942) inside and out, which is a very rare combination.
The Chevelle was obviously repainted at some point, but the color is factory-correct. What's more, it still has all of its original body panels, it hasn't been involved in any accidents, and it's absolutely rust-free. Not many 1970 Chevrolet Chevelles can brag about that nowadays.
But is it a numbers-matching gem? The original LS5 is no longer in the car, but the engine still exists. It's been dismantled, and it's sitting in the garage next to the hardtop, waiting for a complete restoration to growl again. What's under the hood right now? This green beauty relies on a period 402-cubic-inch V8, the kind Chevrolet offered in the SS 396. It's unclear whether it's the more mundane L34 or the rare L78, but we're probably looking at the former.
Either way, this 1970 SS 454 LS5 is one of the finest survivors I've seen in a very long time. And the fact that it could become a numbers-matching gem once the LS5 is restored and back in the car makes it even better. Hopefully, the next owner will reunite the Chevelle with its numbers-matching mill.