Frequently Asked Questions...
Have a question? Listed below are some of the most common questions asked. However if you don’t see the answer you need below, feel free to email for more info.
What does the term “Full Size Chevrolets” mean?
The term “Full Size” on this site refers to all Chevrolet models built on the “B-Body” platform, which in 1969 included Caprice, Impala, Bel Air, and Biscayne, as well as the wagons (Kingswood Estate, Kingswood, Brookwood and Townsman. The B-Body platform was the largest passenger car platform built by Chevrolet in 1969.
What’s my car worth?
This question comes up a lot, and unfortunately this site cannot answer that question. This is because each and every car is different, and has to be evaluated on its own merit. Things like options and model are important factors, but so is the condition of the specific car in question, mileage, extent it has been modified or has been left original, if it’s “numbers matching” and documented, etc. This list goes on. We will not assign a value or even an estimated value to any car we cannot inspect thoroughly, in person. There are publications available which assign very general guidelines for value, but these are extremely subjective because they assign value based on general market info, and not on the specific car in question.
What part of the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) identifies a “true” SS 427?
No part of the VIN identifies the SS 427 option. In previous years, Impala SS was a separate model line, and as such it was clearly identified to be an SS by the VIN. But by 1969, the Super Sport was only an option on the Impala model, not a separate model line. Because of this, there is no distinction in the VIN for SS and non-SS Impalas
What part of the VIN tells you what the original engine was?
No part of the VIN indentifies specific engine size, however the 3 rd digit will designate the car as being either 6 cylinder, or a V-8. For example, a 6 cylinder Impala would have 163 as the first 3 digits, where the same car as a V-8 would be 164. As a rule, the 3 rd digit will always be an odd number for 6 cylinder, and an even number for V-8’s
Was the Super Sport option available on other full size models in 1969?
No. Super Sport was an Impala only option. Although over the years many have dressed up other models such as Caprice to look like a Super Sport, there was never any such creation from General Motors in 1969.
How many engines were available with the Super Sport option in 1969?
In 1969 Super Sport was only available with a 427 cubic inch engine, which is why the Super Sports were properly known only as the SS 427. However, two different power ratings could be ordered: a 390 horsepower 427 known as RPO L36, or a brutish 425 horsepower 427 known as RPO L72. The L72 is extremely rare with only 546 being installed in any full size Chevy in 1969. It is unknown how many of these were SS 427 Impalas.
Is it true that the L72 option (425 horse 427 cubic inch V-8) was only available through COPO (Central Office Production Order)?
No. This is a common misnomer which comes from other Chevy models in 1969 which had limitations on engine size available to the general public, and the COPO order system was the only way to bypass that restriction. Those non-full size cars are rare, and for the most part were not available for the general public to order in 1969. However the full size models were a different story. As the full size had no engine size restrictions, anyone could order an L72…in any body style, even wagons. All that was required was for the customer to select the option by checking the box for it on the order form. However as GM didn’t advertise the engine in any full size sales literature, the vast majority of customers didn’t even know it was available. And for those who did, if they were concerned with owning a high-powered performance Chevy in 1969, they probably would be more interested in a Camaro or Chevelle instead of the lumbering heavy full size models. Only 546 L72 engines found their way into full size Chevrolets in 1969, it is not known how many of those were installed in any particular model or body style.
How do I know if my car is a “Real” SS 427?
If your car was built in Canada, you can contact GM Canada and they will send you official documentation on your car. GM Canada still has every build sheet on every car they built or that was imported for sale in Canada. If your car was built in Canada, the 7 th digit of the VIN will either be a “1” or a “2”. You can obtain documentation at www.vintagevehicleservices.com
However if it isn’t a Canadian built Chevy, then the only concrete way to prove any SS 427 is the real deal, is to have the original build or broadcast sheet, window sticker, or Protecto Plate. Any of these three pieces of documentation will verify a true Super Sport. However, today the counterfeit market is rampant and “reproduction” versions of any of these documents can be purchased to list anything the buyer wants. If you are using this documentation to verify a car, beware that they have no validity if they are reproductions.
If the documentation above is long gone which is more often than not the case, the next way to verify it as an SS 427 is by the engine suffix code, but only if the engine is original to the car. But again caution must be taken, it has become popular practice to grind off these numbers and re-stamp engines making them counterfeits.
Finally, if the original documentation and drive train are gone, then there is no concrete way to identify or prove an SS 427 is the real deal. With prices for true SS 427s climbing, there are more fakes on the market than real cars. Thorough research is the only way to weed out the true cars from the fakes.
How many cars were built in 1969 with the same option combinations as mine?
Generally speaking, nobody knows. GM didn’t keep records by model or body style. The only records available were how many of any particular option code was installed on all full size models, and these do not include options that were standard equipment. For example, production numbers exist to say how many had heavy duty suspensions (F40), but the numbers do not include all the cars that had air conditioning, because air conditioning made the F40 suspension mandatory. The numbers also will not say how many of these cars were Caprice, Impala, etc or for that matter 2-door, 4-door on and on.
There is also no information at all related to color choice or color combinations.