Here's Why You Should Fondly Remember The 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS 454 (2024)

For a Ford Mustang fan, 1970 was not a good year. The two top dogs in the muscle car hierarchies were roaming the streets looking for a challenge. The Dodge Hemi and the Chevrolet Chevelle SS 454 were on the top of the list, jockeying back and forth for the number one spot. When the two cars met, nine out of 10 times, the Chevy came out as the winner. Not to say that the Dodge did not give a good race because the two were almost identical regarding drag times. The 1970 Chevelle was one of those cars that muscle car enthusiasts fought to get ahold of, for a good reason. Here are some of the most important things to remember about the '70 Chevelle SS to gain a better appreciation of the car in every sense.

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10 GM Lifted The 400 Cubic Inch Ban

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In 1970, GM finally lifted the horsepower restrictions that had been in place for almost a decade. The ban limited the displacement that could be manufactured for any engine being dropped into a mid-sized muscle car, such as the Chevelle and Impala. The reason for this is claimed to have been due to safety concerns, but there is a much darker reason for this ban. In the early 60s, the Attorney General threatened to charge the company with various antitrust violations. To keep the company out of trouble, bans were placed on the factory-backed racing teams, which also trickled down to the production models such as the Chevelle SS.

9 454 Was The Biggest Production Engine Placed Under The Hood

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When ordering the 1970 Chevelle SS from the production plant, a consumer had a new option to check off, the RPO Z15 box. Giving this box a little check lifted the car being ordered into a new level of muscle because it opted for the big block 454, the biggest engine ever placed in any production car up to and through 1970. It was said to produce up to 450 horsepower and could push out around 500 pound-feet of torque. This large engine may have been seen in early versions of the Chevy muscle car lineup, but because of the displacement ban, they were not allowed under the hood of any mid-sized car. That is, until 1970 when GM muscle cars hit their all-time power and torque peaks.

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8 Super Sport Version Was An Upgrade From The '60s

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Throughout the '60s, the Super Sport version was offered on many different GM cars. It was a higher trim level on most of them, offering a more aggressive look, with additions to the engine, suspension, and drivetrain to ensure it was the most sporty version of the car on the roads. The square looks and more significant stances began to disappear in 1970 when the new styling of the cars started to become more rounded. The updated and upgraded '70 Chevy Chevelle SS received a removal of the sharper edging that had signified the '60s, making the car more eye-appealing and more aerodynamic.

7 Muncie Four-Speed Or Turbo Hydro-Matic Automatic

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Another choice that muscle car buyers had when ordering the 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS 454 was the drivetrain. Hardcore racers will always want to be able to slam through gears as they push the redlines to the limits. People who let the horses out occasionally but mostly drive their car as a daily driver would prefer to have an automatic. The '70 SS offered two of the best available, the Muncie Four-Speed and the Turbo Hydro-Matic Three-Speed Automatic.

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6 LS5 Or LS6 Engine Under The Hood

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For the first part of the year, the 454 SS car had the LS5 under the hood. This engine was a beast in its own right, producing around 390 horsepower and could pound out up to 400 pound-feet of torque. It was a top competitor on the streets, but it was not enough, according to the Chevy engineers, because the middle of the model year brought about the LS6 engine. This beefed-up version of the LS5 used the same block, but everything else was upgraded, and on top of the engine manifold sat a low-rise aluminum intake with a large 750 cfm Holley four-barrel carburetor. This combination bumped the horsepower of the LS6 to 450 horsepower and 500 pound-feet of torque.

5 Chevy Displayed Underrated Horsepower Limits

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There are a couple of reasons why the big car manufacturers displayed underrated horsepower limits and amounts. The first, and the one used the most often, is that the lower the horsepower is under the hood, the lower the insurance premiums will be. Of course, there is a darker and more unethical reason going around as well. NASCAR has specific limits on the horsepower that a car can produce to be part of the year's racing schedule. That meant if the carmakers displayed the actual horsepower of an engine that it would not be allowed to compete, so the manufacturers gave false information to ensure that their cars were able to race throughout the season.

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4 1970 Chevelle SS Has A Unique Interior Design

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Bucket seats were optional in the 1970 Chevy Chevelle SS 454, which offered more comfort for the driver when mashing on the accelerator. However, that was not special considering that many other cars also offered bucket seats. What made the Chevelle's interior unique was how the instrument cluster was made. It had three large round openings in the center for the speedometer, fuel gauge, and tachometer. Along the sides, the warning lights for temperature and battery amps were replaced with gauges, giving the driver more accurate readings.

3 No Purchase Without Options

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1970 was an exciting year for Chevy muscle car lovers because of the ban restrictions by GM being lifted. They knew that they could go down and order their own muscle car with the biggest engine available without worrying about being told they couldn't get the best of the best. One main issue appeared when they got to the order form and began filling it out. Consumers could not buy a base-level Chevelle unless they added some available options. Granted, that was not much of a problem for those that wanted the SS version with the 454 under the hood, but for those wanting a basic car that looked and drove good, they were simply out of luck.

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2 The True King Of The Streets

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Back in the day when muscle cars ruled the streets, it was not uncommon to see two of the top dogs racing for titles. By titles, it is not meant pink slips. Instead, the title that was given to the fastest car on the road: The King Of The Streets. When looking at the three top muscle cars of the time, the Ford Mustang 428 Cobra Jet pushed out around 335 horsepower. The Dodge Challenger with the 426 Hemi could give up to an impressive 425 horsepower, but still, nothing compared to the 454 LS6 engine that pushed out 450 horsepower. The Hemi was close and would win some of the races between the two, but the Mustang fell short even with a great driver.

1 Today, The SS 454 Is Worth Millions

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Looking into the current values of the 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS 454 car, it will soon become apparent that they are all over the board. Hagerty placed the value of a vehicle in excellent shape right around $180,000, while others put the value more like $140,000. The thing about values is that there are many variables involved in figuring out how much a vehicle is worth, but one of the biggest tells is by how much a similar car goes for at auction. A recent auction at Bring A Trailer shows that a 454 Chevelle SS sold for $135,000, but back in 2006, an LS6 Chevelle sold for $1,242,000. This means it can be expected to pay up to a million dollars or more for a 454 SS Chevelle as the values continue to rise.


Q: How much horsepower does a 1970 Chevy Chevelle SS 454 have?

That depends primarily upon whether the 1970 Chevy Chevelle SS has the LS5 or LS6. The LS5 produced around 390 horsepower, while the LS6 could pump out up to 450 horsepower straight off the assembly lines.

Q: Did the 1970 Chevelle SS come with a 454 engine?

The 1970 Chevelle SS actually came with two different 454 engines; the LS5 and LS6. The reason that the Chevelle was able to have this large of an engine was that GM finally lifted the displacement limits starting in 1970, so all the GM muscle cars received the largest engines that they had, including the 454.

Q: What muscle car was the King of the Roads in 1970?

In 1970 the car with the biggest motor, and the fastest track times, was the Chevrolet Chevelle SS LS6. Even though the Hemi cars came in at a close second, they simply did not have the horsepower to compete with a Chevelle driver with some talent.

Q: How much is the 1970 Chevy Chevelle worth?

That would depend upon all the variables, such as the location and condition. Not to mention the motor that is under the hood. In recent auctions, the 1970 Chevy Chevelle SS 454 went for $135,000, but in the past couple of decades, one sold at auction for over one million.

Here's Why You Should Fondly Remember The 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS 454 (2024)
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