Big Block 4-Speed: 1966 Chevrolet Chevelle SS 396

By 1966, the muscle car race was on and Chevrolet was right in the thick of things. One of its most popular offerings was the Chevelle SS 396, which was the intermediate Malibu with a big-block 396 cubic inch engine under the hood. Performance was king as Chevy sold more than 71,000 2-door Chevelle hardtops and convertibles with that configuration. This 1966 looks to be a nice example that’s been kept indoors, but the seller doesn’t use photos or descriptions much to share his prize. The car is in Carthage, Texas and available here on Facebook Marketplace for $36,000.

Chevrolet launched the Chevelle in 1964 as intermediate in response to Ford’s downsized Fairlane of 1962. While considered a mid-size, it was similar in overall dimensions to the 1955-57 Chevy. The Chevelle name would live on through 1978, and as the Malibu – previously the top line Chevelle – after that. The Chevelle Super Sport (or SS for short) would be the Bow Tie entrant in the muscle car field, like the Pontiac GTO and Oldsmobile 4-4-2. Initially, the SS was a trim package on the Malibu, just like you could order with the Impala.  For 1966, the Chevelle SS 396 would become a model of its own, using the Malibu sport coupe and convertible bodies with reinforced frames and revised front suspension to accept the larger powerplant and torque.  The SS 396 had three engine variations: 325 hp, 360 hp and 375 hp, depending largely on compression and carburetion.

The seller’s 1966 SS 396 looks like a nice car, but we’re told little about it. We don’t know which version of the 396 it has, but we do know it has a 4-speed manual transmission. We don’t know if it runs but, for the asking price, we’ll assume that it does. The limited photography does not help the seller’s case. What we see of the body and blue paint looks good, although dusty from spending time indoors and unused. The interior also looks good, but the one photo of it doesn’t give us a lot to critique, but the upholstery pattern looks nice. The odometer reading is said to be 66,660 miles (couldn’t get six more miles out of it?).

There were 66,380 SS 396 2-door hardtops made for 1966, so this car wasn’t rare new or then. That’s why you almost always see one of these at a car show. They were hot pockets that were ridden hard but also later preserved. Like the 1968-72 Chevy Nova, they’ve also been the subject of tribute or look-alike treatments. According to the online value guides, a sweet SS 396 is worth about what the seller is asking, but he could have done a better job of stating his case. Thanks, Chevelle Stuff, for the production data.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Comments

  1. Cadmanls Member

    Could be a great car but pictures are not selling it. Maybe someone might know why the firewall looks strange. Are those holes?

    Like 11
    • JoeBob396

      Those are dings in the firewall. I think they are factory since my 66 also has them. I have no idea why they’re there.

      Like 2
  2. RayT Member

    I would first want some proof that this has always been a SS396. Doesn’t seem that difficult to produce a lookalike.

    I have nothing against clones, as long as they are identified as such.

    A real SS396 with original engine and original four-speed trans. would be a whole lot of fun! But the seller isn’t really verifying it.

    Like 5
  3. Doug from MD.

    Seller is being deceptive on purpose he knows the car is not the real deal. If it was the real thing he would gladly provide more info and ask more money for the car. Buyer beware.

    Like 13
  4. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry Member

    To bad it’s not parked in my garage. I love these cars(66&67) models only. I don’t particularly care whether it’s a clone or not, it’s still a beautiful car, even if it’s not a Buick Skylark, which are my favorites.
    God bless America

    Like 4
  5. Troy s

    It looks good now and a wash job could only help things more. It’s not that hard to do really.
    Like the ’66 SS 396 Chevelles, all of them to be honest, but these were the first jab at the GTO for Chevy, who had to sit back and wait a few years. No, they’re not rare at all and probably cloned twice over, even just hot running small block Chevelles by the droves, yet most of us never get tired of them either. Nice machine.

    Like 4
  6. cav427

    The grill photo appears that the grill badge is trying to be kept horizonantal with the ground, while he entire car is low on the right, the stance doesn’t look right… anyone else notice?

    Like 5
    • JoeBob396

      SS396 had a blacked out grill.

      Like 4
      • Joe

        Actually non-painted grilles were offered in 66’ Mine has one !

  7. Jack Member

    Someone looks like they recently repainted the cowl area. The SS badge on the grill was damaged or installed crooked. It does have the SS hood and no picture of the rear which I thought might have had a black insert on it for 67.

    Like 4
    • Leadfoot

      Hi Jack,
      Early production ’66 Chevelle Super Sports also had the blacked out rear panel. I own such an example that was built in November of ’65 at the Flint plant. For whatever reason, the later ’66 Super Sport’s eear panels were painted the same color as the car.

      Like 2
  8. Earl Chrysler

    I bought (new) a 1966 Malibu 2 door hardtop. It was sort of a bronze color and I selected the “Fawn” interior which, as I recall, is the one shown on this car. Again, as I recall, I ‘built’ the car with a 327 with Power Pack and dual exhaust and four-on-the-floor trans.

    One evening I tangled from a signal light with a 1966 Malibu 2 door hardtop. It was an SS-396 with four-on-the-floor.

    We were side by side up to about 80 when I believed enough-is-enough since a “Contest of Speed” citation in Detroit can be expensive.

    Like 1
  9. Salad shooter

    Distributer looks like HEI, after market intake, goofy looking front fuel bowl on late Holley w/electric choke. Iron exhaust manifolds. Breather on valve cover. The top end is definitely not stock.

  10. Dave

    I love the ’66 and ’67 Chevelles. Was fortunate to drive one in 1966 at 15 years of age. It was the thrill of my life at that point. My soon to be car when I got my drivers license was a 1960 Dodge Dart, slant 6, three on the tree.

    Like 2
  11. Paul Hanson

    Those are factory spot welds. Used to add extra reinforcement to the firewall.

  12. Grid Member

    I’m confused by these postings: so many of these cars have been in storage or barns for 30 years (that seems to be a requisite–30 years) but the asking prices make me think the owners have been sitting up all night binge-watching Barrett-Jackson auctions waiting for well-pressure to build up so they can hose the car off for “proper display.” Their photos are amusing, but not so much as Saturday morning’s Roadrunner cartoons. C’mon, sellers, there are hard-working blue-collar workers like me who have been squirreling money away for years awaiting the right car. Give us a little break?

    Like 4
  13. Tileman

    I really like these cars but to me it is overpriced.

  14. Earl Chrysler

    It is also worthy of note that, when setting a price, one should consider that most of the cars offered will require “relocation” from where it is to where the buyer is. That is no small amount these days.

  15. Joey2

    Appears to have the 375 horsepower engine or similar rectangular port beast.
    Color combination is awesome.

    Like 1
  16. tony di mondi

    wash it dont hide it if it was a real deal. $50K to get this so id even drive it is it a $100k matching #, no way $50k in prime.

    Like 1
  17. Paul McGuirk

    Breather looks like trouble. Firewall is a mess. Way overpriced as well. Yikes!

  18. Dunk

    Saw a guy in my small city..
    Nice Falcon, juiced up, jacked up. All I could think is.. compensation, he is compensating.

  19. Jack Pruett Member

    cav427 pointed out that the stance didn’t look right and the entire car was low on the right.

    I know the later Chevelles had the F41 suspension option, but didn’t all the 396’s come with heaver springs and shocks, etc than the six cylinders and 283s from the factory.

  20. Leadfoot

    Yes, SS396s did have heavier front springs. Could have a bad spring on one side, or even a low tire.

    Like 1
    • Leadfoot

      In this case though, I believe it’s the angle of the photo causing the car to look like it’s leaning. The SS396 badge on the grille is definitely not straight, and may have a broken post.

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