There’s a lot of shenanigans in the old-car hobby, no doubt due to people’s lust for money. The following Chevrolet LS6 Chevelle convertible find on eBay is a great example of the levels people stoop for the almighty dollar, and how the Internet plays an incredible role in resolving that.
The 1970 Chevelle SS454 with the LS6 motor is one of the most popular muscle cars in the hobby. Not only does it have the era’s highest-horsepower rating of 450, but it logically was one of the fastest as well. Around 4,475 Chevelles and El Caminos were built with this motor, all with the SS454 package, and the most elusive and valuable is the convertible. No production numbers exist for this bodystyle, but it’s estimated about 200 were built. At its peak, the LS6 convertible hit over a million dollars at auction (it was a pedigreed race car since new), but these days they seem to trade for about $150-200,000.
This one on eBay looks nice, equipped with the quintessential color combination of Cranberry Red with black stripes and interior. The seller claims it has the numbers-matching motor and M22 “Rock Crusher” 4-speed, although he doesn’t make any claims about having the proper documentation, which is necessary to prove this Chevelle is really an LS6 (if not a true Super Sport). The price is currently at $70,000 but has yet to meet reserve.
But then check out this other eBay ad for a Protect-O-Plate (POP). What is a POP? According to chevy-camaro.com:
The Protect-O-Plate was a small stamped metal plate that was sent by the factory with each vehicle produced. It was stamped with basic identification data about components like engine, carburetor, transmission, and rear axle. It also contained factory-installed options and the month of manufacture. When the vehicle was sold the dealer would add the customer’s name to the metal plate [in later years, plastic] with Dymo-type stamped plastic adhesive strips. The data on a Protect-O-Plate is stamped on an 8 row by 30 column grid at predefined locations. Instructions for stamping the plate was in the assembly manual for each year. The decoding instructions were included in parts manuals, service manuals and bulletins.
Sometimes people sell little automotive trinkets like this on eBay but, in this case, the POP is more of a warning than an advertising. The POP is from a 350-powered black/white Malibu convertible that was previously sold by the seller. But look at the VIN of the POP: 136670B208246, which translates to:
- 1 = Chevrolet
- 36 = Malibu (the SS was an option, so it wouldn’t be here)
- 67 = convertible
- 0 = 1970
- B = Baltimore plant
- 208246 = the 8,246 Chevelle or Monte Carlo built in Baltimore (with the sequence starting at 200000)
Now take a look at the VIN of the LS6 Chevelle convertible previously mentioned: VIN 136670B208246
What you’re seeing here is a former owner showing that the pedigree of the Malibu has been changed by a subsequent owner and being sold as a SS454 with the LS6 motor. Who committed the initial fraud is unknown, but the car doesn’t seem to be what it’s purported to be.
This is why when you’re buying an expensive and desirable car, paperwork is key. Not all cars have their paperwork, and there are many General Motors vehicles that don’t have their pedigree on VIN or data plate, so caveat emptor!