Home-Built Hero: Steve Rowe’s Gorgeous ’69 Chevelle

Steve Rowe tells us that he has owned this 1969 Chevelle SS for approximately 22 years. It was back in 1996, while he was still living with his parents, that he found it. “My parents owned a ’69 Chevelle, which is also the year l was born. That’s why this year, make, and model holds a special place in my heart,” Steve said.


The ’69 Chevelle holds a special place in many enthusiast’s hearts, ours included.

He was perusing the local newspaper one day, when he found the ad for the Chevelle. “l just had to go see it,” he told us. Upon arrival, he found an old barn covered in snow. Needless to say, the barn, and ultimately, the car, had seen better days. Steve wanted the car and had to borrow the money for the $500 asking price. “I had to get a $500 loan from my then girlfriend. She even made me sign an IOU.” Steve had it towed to his girlfriend’s backyard while the hunt for parts was conducted. It only needed an engine, grill, bumper, interior, and passenger’s side front fender.


Big-block displaces 496 cubic inches of tire frying power.

After locating a guy that had all the parts he needed, Steve paid him a visit, closed the deal, and had the parts the car required. While there, the gentleman also told Steve that he knew a guy who could install all of those parts. Since that gentleman lived nearby, Steve made the short trip to visit him as well.

When Steve reached the destination, he noticed a huge “barn-like” garage filling the back yard of the residence. Steve also noticed an immaculate 1970 Nova sitting in the back yard. “We talked for a short time, and l decided to utilize his repair services. Before leaving, l asked him who restored the Nova? He replied, ‘l did’. At that moment a light came on and l realized this guy was going to be my new best friend,” Steve quipped.

Steve was at his house every other day, working side-by-side with him on the Chevelle. “I learned a lot about wrenching and the details that go into restoring a classic car. I even learned that a person can have raccoons as pets. Ask me how l know?” Eight months later, a fully restored Chevelle emerged from the barn.


The custom dash and polished tilt steering column add to the restomod feel.

Under the hood is a bored and stroked big-block, now displacing 496 cubic inches. This classic is fed by fuel-injection and is kept lukewarm by dual Derale fans hanging on a BeCool radiator. The engine is connected to an American Powertrain six-speed transmission, and a Moser 9-inch rear is filled with 3.70 gears, which hold highway revs to a moderately minor level. Finally, a set of Hooker headers lead into Magnaflow mufflers which deliver a robust rumble.


Steve finished by saying, “My then girlfriend is now my wife, and we enjoy cruising in our Chevelle every chance we get. By the way, she also has a beautiful 1972 Monte Carlo that she’s owned for 19 years. Oh, and about that IOU? l had to pay it back.”

Do you want to read about more Home-Built Heroes? All you need to do is click here. If you own a Home-Built Hero, we want to hear about it. Since we’ve started the series, we have received more than a few candidates, but we still want to see more – we can never get enough. If you want to see more cars built by you the readers, send us a few pictures of your car showing the engine, interior, and exterior, along with all of the pertinent information, and we’ll make you Internet famous. You can send your submissions to chevyhardcore@powerautomedia.com.

About the author

Randy Bolig

Randy Bolig has been working on cars, and involved in the hobby ever since he bought his first car when he was only 14 years old. His passion got him noticed by many locals, and he began to help them with their own vehicles.
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