1970 Chevrolet Chevelle LS6 Convertible
(Lane Exact Detail)
by Dave Nicholson, aka DetourDave
Heralded as one of the top 5 fastest muscle cars, the 1970 Chevelle SS 454 LS6 is revered by many bowtie enthusiasts as the greatest Chevelle of all time. Taking advantage of GM's lift on the 400 cubic inch boundaries set for intermediate sized cars, Chevrolet introduced the RPO-Z15 SS454 option - available in your choice of LS5 or LS6 power - for its 1970 model year Chevelle, sending shockwaves through the automobile industry.
In LS6 trim, Chevrolet's 454-powered 1970 Chevelle SS dominated, cranking out a conservatively rated 450 blacktop blistering horsepower and a whiplash-inducing 500lb-ft of torque. The 454's LS6 power output benefited from a 4.25 x 4.00-inch bore & stroke as well as an 11.25:1 compression ratio combined with large port cylinder heads, four bolt mains, a solid lift camshaft and a forged steel crank in addition to forged aluminum pistons.
Air induction was another popular means to achieving increased horsepower and the 1970 Chevelle SS took full advantage of this feature with an ingeniously designed cowl induction hood. The ZL2 option made use of a unique flapper door that opened at full throttle, feeding cold air to the 454’s 800-cfm Holley carburetor mounted atop an aluminum low-rise intake manifold. Locking the domed hood in place was the job of a pair of functional hood pins, standard on the cowl induction hood.
For 1970, the 454 powerplant mated to either a special M-40 Turbo Hydramatic 400 auto or the M-22 “Rock Crusher” Muncie 4-speed. While a 12-bolt 3.31:1 rear was typical, an array of gear ratios could be ordered with many receiving 4.10 gears. Optional posi-traction could also be added to round out the Chevelle’s many performance features. Capable of turning quarter-mile times in the low 13’s at over 110mph, the LS6 454 powered 1970 Chevelle SS was an aggressive performance machine that earned the respect of its competition both on and off the track.
In addition to the aggressive disposition of the 1970 Chevelle SS 454 LS6 came a strikingly bold redesign of the Chevelle's exterior. While the 1970 Chevelle maintained the sweeping lines and fastback silhouette of its 1968 & 1969 predecessors, the 1970 Chevelle featured new rippling fender bulges giving the Chevelle a well defined muscular figure. In addition, several unique design cues from revised front & rear bumpers to dual, individually recessed headlights separated by the Chevelle's brand new v-shaped front grille differentiated this Chevelle from the rest of its lineage. For the SS models, the all-new grille treatment was blackened out, partitioned by a body-color bar with a center mounted SS logo. A unique black rubber pad fastened between the newly designed rectangular taillights featured a white pinstripe and SS logo. Raised SS logos atop scorching red 454 engine designations flanked the Chevelle's front fenders positioned in front of the drivers & passenger side doors, rounding out the brutes identifying trim.
The interior of the 1970 Chevelle SS also received several design enhancements. Although a bench seat & column shifter were standard equipment, optional Strato bucket seats and an optional console with floor-mounted shifter could be ordered. An SS emblazoned steering wheel and SS dash with optional gauge package - which included a 6500rpm tach - were additional components that could be found on the 1970 Chevelle SS. Other standard features included the ground-hugging F41 suspension, power disc brakes, and chrome tipped exhaust extensions. Optional twin hood & deck lid stripes adorned the SS Chevelle which rode on a set of F70x14 white letter wide oval tires wrapped around a set of five-spoke magnum style wheels with SS center caps.
While the LS6 454 option cost a seemingly inexpensive $263.30, this came in addition to the $503.45 cost of the RPO-Z15 SS454 option as well as an additional $147.45 for the Cowl Induction hood. In most cases, the total sticker price for an LS6 454 powered 1970 Chevelle SS rang in near the price of a base Corvette and as such, only 4,475 LS6 454 powered hardtop & convertible Chevelle’s were built in 1970.
With its attractively aggressive styling combined with its brutish big-block power, the 1970 Chevelle SS 454 LS6 has been distinguished as the pinnacle of the Chevelle marque, respected to this day as an icon of the muscle car era.
Thanks to the extraordinarily brilliant artisans at the Exact Detail division of Lane Automotive, the iconic muscle car has been meticulously sculpted into a generously detailed 1/18 scale diecast, immortalized for the muscle car enthusiasts unending enjoyment. Whereas the 70 Chevelle SS454 was arguably the pinnacle of the muscle car era, likewise, the Exact Detail replica of this milestone muscle car is undoubtedly the zenith in an increasing line of high detail, high quality scale models from Lane. Over the years, collectors have watched Lanes Exact Detail replicas graduate from the infant stages of their 65/66 Shelby’s & 67/68 Camaro’s to their incredibly detailed 70-72 Oldsmobile series. Then came their 67/68 Firebird series which introduced even more detailing along with new realistic features, and just when we thought it couldn’t get any better, Lane unveiled their superbly accomplished 65 Chevelle/El Camino series which took the detailing & features offered in their Firebird series to new heights. It is truly impressive to witness these leaps forward from model to model, which is in no small part thanks to the talent & devotion of the Exact Detail team, commanded by one Eric Trapp who, with his unmatched keenness & attention to detail, has proven over time his unrelenting commitment to producing the greatest replicas feasible. And with the assiduous observance of on-hand Chevelle experts Rick Nelson & Rich Cummings, the Exact Detail 70 Chevelle is quite simply a quantum leap over everything else Lane has achieved to date.
The Lane Exact Detail 1970 Chevelle SS454 LS6 convertible is, in a word, magnificent. For starters, Lane’s 70 Chevelle comes finished in a high quality veneer of virtually Chevelle-traditional Cranberry Red. The red exterior comes accented with bold black twin hood & deck lid stripes which, while arguably not dead on to the original, were scaled down from official GM blueprints. Aside from successfully capturing a signature color combination of the 70 Chevelle, Lane’s first release in their 70 Chevelle series precisely captures the shape & attitude of the real McCoy. The muscular lines of the 70 Chevelle have been replicated to near exactness with a slight controversy over the accuracy of the front fenders, a contour that has proven difficult for all manufacturers that have attempted to reproduce this particular muscle car. Whether the lines of Lanes copy may or may not be spot on is up to individual interpretation, but the facts are clear that Lane has executed the most accurate mold for this GM A-body yet.
In order to suitably capture the look of the original, the Lane Exact Detail 1970 Chevelle SS454 LS6 convertible has been fitted with an abundance of authentic details & identifying accents, such as the 3-dimensional SS insignia that adorns the front grille. The grille is properly divided into 2 separate sections by a body color center bar - with each section accurately segmented by 4 horizontal slats, each wrapped in bright chrome trim. The grille is flanked on each side by a pair of dual headlights, impressively marked with branded T-3 triangles, each set in its own chrome plated bezel. The front fenders, accented with correctly painted side marker lights & chrome wheel well trim, are likewise emblazoned with the Chevelle’s SS indicators, positioned atop the Chevelle’s only public revelation to the true essence behind this particular Chevy’s aggressive nature, the almighty 454. Besides the large twin stripes, the cowl induction hood is decorated with a pair of chrome plated hood pins, chrome trim along the back edge, silver cowl induction call-outs on either side of the bulged hood, and even more remarkable - an actual working flapper door that opens & closes with a simple touch.
Out back, the Chevelle is decked out with a distinguishing black rubber pad, accentuated with a white pinstripe border & SS badge. The rubber pad - sandwiched between the Chevelle’s rectangular rear taillights - is fastened to the chrome plated rear bumper which, like the front bumper, is additionally detailed with a correctly numbered amount of precisely positioned bolts. Like the front fenders, the rear quarter panels are highlighted with chrome wheel well trim and accurately segmented side marker lights. The rear facade is finished off with a decorated rear decklid - with a pair of wide stripes & “Chevelle by Chevrolet” tampo - along with a pair of properly shaped, chrome plated exhaust tips peeking out from beneath the rear valance. All of the above details found on Lane’s 70 Chevelle ride atop a set of authentic Goodyear Polyglass F70-14 meats, wrapped around Lane’s very own detailed SS wheels. While the detailed valve stems on each wheel are worth noting, so is the fact that the coloring of the wheels is rather bright - an issue that is already being addressed by Lane for future releases in this series. Even so, Lane’s SS wheels are hands down the best mold of this particular wheel.
The initial glance of Lane’s Exact Detail 1970 Chevelle SS454 LS6 convertible will effectively illustrate much of its splendor to the beholder, as described in the above paragraphs; however, it isn’t until a concentrated inspection that the true brilliance of this replica, or work of art, can be genuinely appreciated. One of the more enjoyable areas of discovery on a Lane model is the realistic interior, and in the case of their 70 Chevelle, this area - enclosed between a pair of doors that function on realistic opening hinges - is sure to provide plenty of little treasures to discover. At first glance, you can’t help but notice all the silver & white accents that jump out against the contrasting black interior, the dash alone is full of them. Tucked behind a 3-spoke Chevy bowtie bedecked sport steering wheel, the SS dash is neatly appointed with several touches of silver trim, outlining easily legible crystal clear gauges and other molded in detailing including the lights switch, air vents, and other gauges. Both the radio & thermostat controls have been made to appear realistic thanks to a few various touches of paint detail and a silver painted bullseye located to the immediate right of the radio represents the Chevelle’s convertible top switch bezel. Other eye catching accents range from the legible Malibu tags printed on the authentically detailed door panels - underscored with strokes of silver trim, bona fide ribbing and chrome plated door lock knobs & power window controls - to the readable Chevelle logo on the dash and the PRND321 printed on the center console which is mounted between the Chevelle’s Strato bucket seats. Both the front & back seats are replicated with a genuine seat pattern & stitching detail along with woven fabric seatbelts and chrome plated latches & clasps. The folding front bucket seats are trimmed in chrome plated ribbing and both the front & rear seats are mounted atop the Chevelle’s fully carpeted flooring - a feature first for the Exact Detail line. Sill plates, authentically shaped pedals, a handbrake, and a pair of working sun visors round out the extensive checklist of details & features crammed into this irrefutably extraordinary interior.
Besides a unique dusting cloth that Lane has thrown in with each of their Exact Detail 1970 Chevelle SS454 LS6 convertibles, also included is a properly contoured soft rubber boot along with a realistically texturized fabric top - giving the enthusiast his or choice of how to display their model, top up or top down. One thing to note is Lane has built a reputation for manufacturing convertibles that maintain a fairly accurate roof line with the top up in place and their 70 Chevelle convertible holds to that reputation quite fabulously. Another small area that Lane has always done a relatively excellent job in focusing on is the opening trunk. While there may not be a whole lot to get excited about inside a models trunk, Lane has normally made this area worthy of your attention and the trunk of their 70 Chevelle is no exception. Inside you’ll find a detailed spare tire with jack, legible jacking instructions & caution label on the underside of the deck lid, an accurately detailed trunk mat and a splash of paint highlighting the trunk lock bezel.
Saving the best for last, you’ll discover a literal jackpot of treasures just waiting to be uncovered underneath the cowl induction hood of Lane’s Exact Detail 70 Chevelle SS454 LS6 convertible. Fully living up to the brands Exact Detail moniker, the 454 powerplant in Lane’s 70 Chevelle is nothing short of a modeler’s masterpiece. To begin with, the 454 is an all new casting, complete with an authentic Chevy orange block, polished chrome valve covers sporting genuine Tonawanda labels, and a painted aluminum intake manifold which rests underneath the 454’s accurately replicated air cleaner assembly complete with true-to-original cross-flag 454 Turbo-Jet 450HP badges. The 454 LS6 of Lane’s Exact Detail 70 Chevelle is surrounded in a painstakingly recreated entanglement of wires & hoses from the distributor wires to the line running from the painted windshield washer reservoir, to the radiator & heater hoses, even the vacuum line that runs to the flapper door on the cowl induction hood. Additionally fascinating is the accurate craftsmanship of the underside of the cowl induction hood as well as the many little nuances including the smog equipment detailing, the printed labels on the detailed radiator support, the chrome plated radiator cap, the detailed Delco battery, the power steering pump, and the clearly identifiable miniature scale dipstick.
In addition to the above details, a signature trait found on Exact Detail models of late - including their 70 Chevelle - are the fuel & brake lines. Like previous models, the brake lines run their proper routes from the master cylinder and the fuel lines run from the fuel pump to the Chevelle’s painted gas tank & back. Appreciating these finer points of the model will lead you to yet more details found farther beneath the surface, buried within the richly appointed chassis of Lane’s 70 Chevelle. The most obvious details include the splashes of paint added to the transmission, driveshaft, gas tank and front & rear suspension components in conjunction with the accurately replicated & shaped exhaust pipes that breath out of a pair of chrome plated tips. However, hiding amongst these specifics are a few bonus surprises such as a detailed 12-bolt rear, a coil spring suspension, painted shocks, and a detailed starter motor alongside a genuine AC oil filter.
The Lane Exact Detail 70 Chevelle SS454 LS6 convertible is without a doubt one of the finer scale models released to date as thoroughly substantiated in the aforementioned laundry list of details & features. Perfection it may not be - which quite frankly is an unhealthy expectation - but Lane’s Exact Detail 1970 Chevelle is undoubtedly as close to perfection as most manufacturers ever hope to achieve. And at Lane’s new price point of just over $100, with only 2500 produced for the first release in this new series, I’d say it’s a fair argument that the Exact Detail 70 Chevelle is a pretty good deal, one that’s surely not going to last for long. If you haven’t already witnessed the sheer magnificence of Lane’s latest work of genius, I highly recommend adding it to the top of your list of things to do. But do so with caution and heed Chevy’s once powerful warning - “In ten seconds, your resistance will self destruct.”
1970 Chevelle LS6