There was time that General Motors had a policy prohibiting any engine over 400 cubic inches from being used in anything smaller than a standard size car with the exception of the Corvette. As a result, the 1966 Chevrolet Chevelle SS came with a 396 cubic inch V-8 engine as standard equipment. No longer was the Chevelle SS offered in a six cylinder version.
Not that the 396 cube V-8 wasn't powerful enough for this relatively light weight vehicle. The engine delivered up to 375 horsepower on a car with an average weight of about 3,200 lbs. This was an era of automobiles, the mid 1960's, when the American car buying mood was turning towards more power.
1966 Chevy Chevelle Styling
The 1966 Chevy Chevelle SS was a formal looking car but with plenty of power. Anyone who looks at this car will see that it has crisp, clean styling. It's the type of automobile that worked well as an everyday transportation vehicle as well as a drag racer. The 1966 Chevelle's had an entirely new body vs the 1965 model. The 1966 Chevelle saw curved side windows and a new larger grille.
Collector's of these intermediate market Chevelles know that the car's body had what was called the "Coke bottle" shape. The 1966 Chevelle was both a little longer and wider than the 1965 model.
This styling would last two years and be seen in both the 1966 and 1967 Chevelles. although the 1967 models looked a bit longer. Starting in 1968 the second generation Chevelle would again receive entirely new styling.
The Chevelle was a good option for 1966 car buyers who wanted both style and performance. Two simulated scoops on the hood would appeal to anyone interested in performance styling. There is no question that the Chevy Chevelle was a direct competitor of the Pontiac GTO. Today it is a among the classic muscle cars of the 1960's.
1966 Chevy Chevelles were built on a full perimeter chassis. This chassis would give the car a lower floor and roof line and consequently lower passenger seating.
1966 Chevrolet Chevelle SS Specifications
As mentioned above, standard equipment on the 1966 Chevy Chevelle SS was a 396 cubic inch V-8 engine. The standard 396 cube delivered 325 horsepower. An optional 396 would deliver up to 375 horsepower. Six cylinder engines were no longer available in the Chevelle SS models. Zero to 60 MPH time was about 6.5 seconds give or take a half second.
There were three engine configurations available with the 1966 SS models. These were the standard 396 mentioned above which was essentially a de-stroked 409. The next rung up the ladder was a 396 RPO L-34 which delivered 350 horsepower. The next one up was a 396 RPO L-78 which put out 375 horsepower. The story is that only perhaps less than 100 of these were manufactured.
Transmissions offered with the 1966 Chevy Chevelle included a three and four speed manual as well as a Powerglide automatic. All of the three engines offered could be ordered with the four speed manual.
Front and rear suspensions were coil springs and upper and lower A arms.
1966 Chevrolet Chevelle dimensions included a 115.0 inch wheelbase, an overall length of 197.0 inches and
Official vehicle weight was stated as 3,000 to 3,485 lbs.
The 1966 Chevelle's braking system included a single chamber master cylinder that would be changed to a dual chamber system for 1967 as mandated by law.
New car base price for the 1966 Chevrolet Chevelle SS was in the $2,700 to $3,000 range.
Total 1966 Chevrolet Chevelle production was 72,272 vehicles. All of these were SS 396 models. In 1966 the Chevelle Malibu models were built only in Canada. Those numbers were 23,688 vehicles.
Compare the 1966 Chevrolet Chevelle SS to the AutoMuseumOnlien cars on the links below...
1966 Chevrolet Chevelle SS Collector's Car
Production was healthy in 1966 and plenty of the Chevelle SS cars were built. You shouldn't have a difficult time finding one and parts should also be easy to locate. By the same token, while being relatively plentiful, the 1966 Chevelle SS is popular among collector's and they won't necessarily come cheap. Finding one with the power drive train combination you want might be a bit tougher.
A mint condition 1966 Chevy Chevelle SS with original matching serial numbers might have an asking price in the $60,000 plus range. In addition to condition and degree of restoration, matching engine and body and parts numbers to the production year is critical to price. Serial numbers for the 1966 Chevelle should be found on the frame behind the left rear wheel, on the drivers door and on the firewall. Lots of additional Chevelle code information on website www.chevellestuff.net
The 1966 Chevrolet Chevelle SS makes a great project car if you can locate a decent frame and body. Aside from enjoying a restored muscle car from the 60's there could also be decent upside in value going forward.
Other asking prices for the 1966 Chevelle SS can range from the high $20,000 range to $50,000 plus. Obviously the range is quite wide and will be determined on condition and originality.
(Article and photos copyright 2013 AutoMuseumOnline)