1969 Chevrolet Bel Air

Click the photos for an expanded view of each.


In the USA in the year 1969

Entertainment: The number one movie was Midnight Cowboy, followed by Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The Wild Bunch, and Easy Rider. Oliver won the academy award for Best picture. Record of the Year: "Mrs. Robinson," by Simon and Garfunkel. Album of the Year: By the Time I Get to Phoenix, Glen Campbell. More than half a million people gather in the small, upstate New York town of Bethel (near Woodstock, N.Y.) for four days of rain, sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll. Mission Impossible, Hogan's Heroes, and Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In were popular on the TV set.

In the news: Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin become the first humans to walk on the moon. The FCC bans all cigarette advertising on television and radio. The Manson Family commited the "Sharon Tate murders" that changed America. After 148 years, the Saturday Evening Post ceased publication. The Boeing 747 "jumbo-jet" makes it's first commercial flight. The Concord Supersonic-Transport makes it's first Trans-USA flight, Seattle to New York.

Politics: Richard M. Nixon is inaugurated as the 37th President. In 1969 the first draft lottery is held and in Washington, DC, 250,000-500,000 protesters stage a peaceful demonstration against the draft and the Vietnam war, including a symbolic "March Against Death".

Sports: UCLA defeats PURDUE (92-72) in the NCAA Championship. In Nascar, Bobby Isaac debuts the first of the super-speedway special bodied "winged cars" and won 17 of the 50 races entered. Isaac is driving the bright red K&K Insurance sponsored 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona, and is the most popular driver.

USA cost of living: Gasoline was selling for about $0.35 per U.S. Gallon. The median USA household income was $8,386.00. The cost of a first class stamp was $0.06.

In the courts: Sen. Edward M. Kennedy pleads guilty to leaving the scene of a fatal accident at Chapaquiddick, Mass. in which Mary Jo Kopechne was drowned. Kennedy gets a two-month suspended sentence. The U.S Supreme court outlaws segregation in the South.


Since new, this 1969 Bel Air was a prized possession of Jim's grandfather's cousin Flossie.

56,000 actual miles.

Sold new and garaged it's entire life in a small Indiana town on the high prairie near the banks of the Wabash River..

Factory A/C, P/S, AM radio. A tiny amount of rust, and 90% original paint! Seat covers since new.

Flossie said it never spent a night outside the garage in it's life!

This one is a cream-puff and drives perfect!

The day in May 2007 when Flossie handed Jim the keys..

Jim was fortunate to be the one selected to continue to care for this car. Flossie worried that the car would continue to be kept in a garage. Jim assured her that the car would be well taken care of.

Jim named the car "Flossie" It just seems right!

Jim's Family's 1969 Chevrolet Bel Air, handed down from his grandfather's cousin.

The bias-ply tires were like new. The receipt was in the glove box. They were purchased in 1978.

Flossie had not left town in the car for more than 25 years so that wasn't an issue.

Jim immediately noticed on the drive home that the tires needed to be replaced....

Now sporting a set of Michelin black walls and a front-end alignment from the famous Dubber's in Lafayette, the car drives superbly.

The green color kind of grows on you after a while....

A long while....

Cruising the prairie with Flossie takes one back to 1969.. Tune the AM radio to WLS and the time travel is complete.... Out on the county roads with nothing but fields and farms, there is no indication of the decades that have passed since this Belair was new...

Harvest season on the Prairie. Jim thought the car looked good in contrast to the golden color of the crops.

Jim is tempted to fix the few little rustie-crusties.. The problem is that there is no way to duplicate the original tone and texture of the factory lacquer paint. This color is almost impossible to blend in enamels, and the color match for spot repairs would be extremely difficult to achieve.

September 19th 2007

If Jim repairs the small places, and paints the car overall, then it is just another re-done~restored car. There is nothing like the patina of original paint.

"They are only original once"

The Frigidaire Air Conditioning systems on these big GM cars would "freeze you out in no time flat"

Jim noticed that the compressor ran when the A/C was turned on, but the air was not very cold. He still has some R-12 freon. With only one pound of R-12 the A/C system is running perfect again with no bubbles in the sight-glass. All these years and she lost less than a pound of gas... WOW! They don't make them like they used to.

With the A/C on high, Jim's digital thermometer indicates that the air temperature at the dash vent is 37 degrees. (2.7 degrees Celsius)

Good thing the Air Conditioning works so well. As it helps to keep you from sticking to those plastic seat covers!

Many of you may remember these dealer installed seat covers. (This car even has them on the sun visors) These are the ones with hundreds of those the little diamond shaped bubble cushions that you fiddled with as you sat in the back seat sweating and complaining. Or playing license plate recognition games in between the inevitable question: "Are we there yet?"

This is the place many may remember as the most boring part of childhood... Remember when dad would say:

"Don't make me pull this car over."

"If I stop this car, you are in big trouble buster."

"I'm going to stop this car at the next bush I see and I'm going to cut a switch."

Ahhhhhhhh.... Wonderful green.. Everywhere is green...
Miles actual!
No rust in the rear window, the cardboard interior rear package shelf is mint. No long term sun exposure..
Jim buys these vintage picnic baskets at yard sales. He keeps car-show detailing items inside. Plus they look period correct in old family sedans.
Here we have a rust free trunk floor. Unheard of in this era.
Obvious trails left from water dripping from a rear window leak. Typical of these cars... Jim worked at the Lafayette Indiana Chevrolet dealership in the mid-1970s... Fixing rear window and trunk water leaks was a daily activity in the body shop...

WOW! This is just too cool to see something this solid.

Even if it is a four door, and even if it is green, solid metal is a real treat for any mid-western old car enthusiast.

ZERO RUST in the deck lid
March 2008. She gets her first brake job at 57,000 miles and 39 years! Jim will replace all four wheel cylinders, all the rubber brake lines, the brake shoes, and rebuild the Master Cylinder. Jim uses DOT 5 silicone brake fluid in all his vintage cars.
1969 Chevrolet Belair sedan engine repair

November 2011

The car was leaking oil from several places on the engine. The rear main crank seal was especially a problem. The engine was removed from the car to do this properly. Now showing only 57,000 actual miles, the car gets a complete engine re-seal.

During the "freshening-up" upon inspection it was revealed that the large timing chain gear was beginning to lose it's nylon teeth. (This was a problem with this original design.) The timing chain and gears were replaced with a steel set. The cylinder heads were sent out for a complete valve job including new genuine Chevrolet valve springs. All of the valves were replaced as well. Since the engine has such low miles and was running perfect, it was not necessary to work on the piston, crankshaft or camshaft areas.
1969 Chevy 327 V8
1969 Chevrolet 327 V8 engine
Almost ready to install in the car. November 2011
Because of the unique way in which these older small block Chevy engines have the spark plug wires routed, Jim felt that placing this next group of images onto the internet with correct "key words" would help others who are searching for this information. In this image, you can see the way the wires are routed around the back of the engine block. This method was used by Chevrolet on many models beginning in 1955. This information applies to many models including 265, 283, 302, 327, 350, and 400 cubic inch version of this popular engine design as used in Impala, Biscayne, Caprice, ElCamino, trucks, and station wagons.
small block chevrolet chevy spark plug wire routing rear
small block chevrolet chevy spark plug wire routing right side
In this image, you can see the way in which the spark plug wires are routed on the right side of the typical small block Chevrolet V8 engine. (passenger side) There is a clip that attaches to an oil-pan-bolt to prevent melting of the wires from the front two cylinders by keeping them from coming into contact with the exhaust.
In this image, you can see the typical way in which the spark plug wires are routed on the left side of the Chevy small block engine. (driver's side) There is a retention clip that attaches to an oil-pan-bolt to prevent the wires from the front two cylinders from coming into contact with the exhaust and being melted.
small block chevrolet chevy spark plug wire routing left lower view