396 And A 4-Speed: 1966 Chevrolet Bel Air

It’s easy to think of Chevrolet’s Bel Air as a sensible and comfortable cruiser, but the reality is they could actually be performance machines. Well, at least depending on how they were optioned. In the late ’60s, Chevy restyled the full sized Bel Air and introduced a wide range of engine options. You could order your ’66 Bel Air with anything from a fuel sipping inline six to a wild big block! In the case of this Bel Air, it was optioned with a 396 V8 and a 4-speed. Talk about a great combo! The seller claims that it is all original, right down the black paint and bright red interior. You can be the judge of those claims for yourself after having a closer look at it here on eBay in Denver, Colorado.

This Bel Air’s 396 is the 325 horsepower version. It’s said to be in excellent running condition and the 4-speed shifts smoothly. This actually isn’t the highest horsepower engine that was offered in the Bel Air, you could also get a 340 horsepower 396, as well as a 400 or a 425 horsepower 409. We would be perfectly happy with this 325 horsepower 396!

The interior looks to be in good shape, although the upholstery is showing a few stains and there’s a crack in the dash cap. These are pretty minor issues that could be fixed or you could just leave them alone and enjoy it as is! Personally, we would just drive it and enjoy rowing though the gears.

While big block Chevelles are more desirable, this Bel Air would be a great way to experience a big block muscle car without having to break the bank. The $21,500 asking price isn’t necessarily cheap, but a Chevelle SS396 with a 4-speed in this condition would cost you considerably more. It isn’t perfect, but this looks like a nice driver that would put a smile on your face every time you take it for a spin!


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  1. Angrymike

    The 409 stopped being put in any car in the beginning of 1965, plus the intake isn’t original on a 325 hp big block Chevy !
    Nice car though !

    • Gerald Heeren

      I am very sure a 427 was available in 66. In the Impala for sure.

      • John C Cargill

        The 396 was introduced in 1965 midyear as an option and replacement for the then discontinued 409. Some early 65s had the 409.

        Like 1
  2. Steve R

    Nice car. Thanks for posting.

    I think he’s only referring to the paint and interior as being original. The engine and shifter and probably more have been modified.

    It would be worth a look if in the market. It’s definitely more interesting than most of the cookie cutter cars roaming the streets.

    Steve R

    • Mike McCloud

      Tha add-ons, or modifications were all the usual stuff done back then, they aren’t anything radical, and do represent the usual practices of The Day. I wouldn’t care myself, some might, but it’s not worth pickin’ over. You’re right in that it’s defnitely more interesting than a cookie cutter, Lord knows the m’cycle industries are guilty of self-abuse in market-flooding with cookie cutters. Go to Sturgis & look at a line of bikes at the curb. Take the differences in colors only out of the picture, and they all turn to homogenized ‘blecchhh’ !

  3. Barzini

    This car checks so many boxes for me: big block; post car; bench seat / standard shift; poverty caps; and the black / red color combination to name a few. I don’t know prices for these cars but it seems very reasonable compared to similarly equipped Chevelles and Camaros.

  4. DRV

    A post car with a red interior checks a huge box in my car world.

  5. Bob Member

    12,000 miles???

    Like 1
  6. Ken Carney

    Just add radio, heater. Everything else just fine! This car is really nice,
    and it reminds me of a police interceptor. I seem to recall that I’d seen one
    recently on YouTube. That car had been used by the New Hampshire State Police. Also knew a young man who had one in highschool, but
    couldn’t tell whether his was a clone or the real deal, but man, that
    thing was fast!

    • Steve R

      It has a heater.

      Steve R

    • stanley kwiecinski

      RADIO! radio? i don’t want no stinkin’ radio!

      • thomas j schweikert

        dont have a radio in my el camino just header mufflers rrrrrrr beats rock any time lol

  7. Flmikey

    I think the price is fair if it’s in as good condition as it looks…and cudoes to the seller for keeping the original air cleaner on….

  8. Troy s

    These and the Biscayne could be excellent sleepers, back then,especially when the 427 was made available. Now days if I saw this car it would throw up a flag, I’d be expecting more than just a baby big block 396 under that hood. These are really good looking old Chevy’s, reminds me a bit of that blue Chevy Peter Fonda drove in Dirty Mary Crazy Larry! Excellent car.

  9. Tort Member

    Nice car! Must be the 60’s at the drag strip because whether it is Chevy, Chrysler product or Ford the 2 door sedans Plain Jane’s appeal to me more than the higher end models. With the 396 325 horse I would have to drop in another higher horsepower big block to do justice to the car.

    • Ed

      How do you know what big block is under that 396 air cleaner?

    • thomas j schweikert

      put some L-88 parts on it and it would scream

  10. jeff6599

    Nice! And just around the corner from being a true muscle car. Too bad it is not a mid sized car (Chevelle) cause that would do it. Now it is just an entry level high performance Chevrolet Bel Air in a higher rare air category!

  11. tom

    Very nice car. I could live with that. Nothing like a black car with dog dish hubcaps. Back in the 60’s I was running a ’66 GTO post car with 3×2’s and a 4 speed that I bought in Denver 1967 and these 396’s while they sound good, they just couldn’t compete. That’s why I didn’t buy one then. Even the 375 horse 66 Chevelles had to slink back across the Texas/Louisiana line after getting beat by my Pontiac. Not saying I wouldn’t
    take this car if my aunt Marie left it to me. It’s a great find. They just aren’t all that fast. But hell, how fast is fast enough especially at my age?

    • LucilleCaddy69

      While I prefer Tin Indians, I believe your statement to be of the blanket variety. The 396 325 horse version in the bigger car was a slug. The 350 horse version would have been a match for your car with a good driver. The 375 horse 396 in PROPER TUNE would obliterate your 389 Tri-power. If your car was tweaked, the other driver can’t row gears, or both, I can see it. Otherwise, no way Jose. Again, this coming from a Pontiac fanatic. Now throw a 421 SD in your car, and it’s annihilation city for the 396.

      • tom

        Not sure what to tell you but the red 375hp Chevelle from Louisiana lost to my GTO by 2 car lengths. I also beat 440/375hp Mopars. The closest I ever came to getting beat was by a Model A sedan with a 283. I only beat him by 1/2 car length and the only reason he lost was because he broke a rear leaf spring on launch otherwise it would have turned out differently. The GTO I drove had every speed option and not much else except an AM radio & heater. No console, no AC, no power brakes. I sold it in ’69 with 41,000 miles for $1400.

    • Howard

      Pontiacs ran pretty good when they weren’t tossing their cast iron connecting rods through the side of the block. Big block chevies ate cams and lifters, and they broke valve springs on a regular basis. But they would eat tin indians for lunch when they were in top shape.

      • thomas j schweikert

        i believe ponchos had oiling problems

    • Charlie 1

      A buddy of mine had a really cool 67 GTO, we used to cruise it on Friday and Saturday nights back in High School ( Newport Beach, California) Circa 1982
      Had the Ram Air IV 400 rated at 335HP with a turbo 400 transmission and a
      Non posi 10 Bold with i believe were 2.88,s or maybe slightly lower 3.00

      The car was frankly a dog with a best of 15.32@89.00 in the quarter mile we
      were on the losing end of allot of races even lost to a Mazda RX-7 !! his dad
      Had a friend who had a 65 GTO and swaped in a 389 three deuce motor, what
      a cruiser with the hood off , i think that motor was rated at 360HP, still didnt solve the performance issue, the last time i talked to him right out of high school he changed the motor to a 455. kind of lost touch with him after that,
      who know if he would have addressed the rear end to see what the car would
      have been capable of ???

  12. 86_Vette_Convertible

    I like. Back in the day an upper classman had one very similar to this one except it was green and a Biscayne. Definitely something to watch out for.

    • Beatnik Bedouin

      That wasn’t in California, by any chance.

      There’s a 66 Biscayne, 396/four-speed that came out from my home state to NZ a few years ago. Damned cool car.

      • 86 Vette Convertible

        Nope, unless he moved there after HS. That was back in Dysart, Iowa.

  13. Anthony

    Love it. Good price too. Bet it’s gone in a day or so.

  14. PaulG

    Funny how spec wise with the exception of being about 11″ longer, they stack up in almost every other category (wt. wheelbase, ht.) with the 68 Roadrunner. Plain Jane is a cool look, esp. in Black and Red!

  15. tom

    Just for comparison, my cousin had a red ’63 two door Biscayne 409/425 4 speed all factory stock. I’ve driven a few fast cars but man, that car was fast. We’d open the cut outs and let it smoke the tires. Still, this black car is a most excellent find. And the lines of that year are way better than the 64 or 63.

  16. Christopher Wenz


  17. Mike

    Numbers, numbers, has anyone checked out the numbers? If this were a numbers matching car and found to be a pedigree, wow!


    Interesting, intake looks like it might be aluminum also note duel snorkle air cleaner is missing right snorkle. Dash looks repainted.
    Just my humble opinion.

    • al8apex

      The 325 hp version of the 396 had a single snorkel, that air cleaner is correct

      Only the solid lifter version had the dual snorkel air cleaner

    • thomas j schweikert

      396/350 had aluminum intake probably swapped in

  19. Larry V

    There were a few 409 motors left the factory in 65 modle cars.

    • Whisky Tango

      My friend has an early build 65 impala ss with factory 409. Was an option until available 409 were used up at factory. Rare car.

      • 86 Vette Convertible

        There’s another one in Ankeny, Iowa I had the pleasure of seeing the other year along with a private museum of one of every convertible from day 1 through about 1975. That will blow your mind to estimate what he’s got tied up in that collection. Me, I’d love to take a few of them out for a run which apparently he does all year round.

  20. Mark

    Beautiful, love the interior too, but seems sitting pretty high?

  21. Jim S

    When I was yonger ( 1983.) I owned and loved one 1968 Chevrolet Biscayne 396 375hp stock when I got it 47k miles. Paid 850$ for white with blue int the bad fact 3speed column shift hated that great burnouts that’s it swaped in a m22 4 speed totally different car high 13s stock with new trans I loved that car for 8 years raced it track and street and took it from Sacramento to anchorage Alaska down into south Texas where I sold it for 2000$ and bought my first Corvette but will always miss and love my old bisqwik I’m tearing up. Lol

  22. ruxvette

    Not an expert but shouldn’t there be a fan shroud? Also, the second groove on the alternator pulley drives what???

    • 86 Vette Convertible

      I don’t think they had to on the BBC because it sat so close to the radiator. I know they did on the Monte’s and some of the other SBC’s but I won’t swear to it but I don’t think they had to on these.

    • George

      Probably for the A/C. Don’t see one on it but the alternator stock came with that pulley anyway.

  23. ROTAG999

    I like it ! Had a friend who had a 65 Belair 4dr 327 with factory 4 speed not too many ordered that way never came across another one.

  24. bowmade

    My first car was my Grandpa’s 66 Belair. My mom couldn’t find the keys so my Dad got to show me how to hot-wire a car. It had an inline 6cyl and power glide. I found a 66 Caprice wagon with a 396 for sale cheap but couldn’t convince my Dad to help me take on the suspension and drive train swap. I’ve always loved these old farmer style cars that had no apparent purpose but to go fast.

  25. Buick Fan

    Bummer about the dent in the driver door (black is an ez fix though), wish it had console/buckets, and a/c, but still love it!

  26. BOP Guy Member

    She’s a beauty. Looks like just a little cosmetic work and then drive & enjoy !

  27. Gray Wolf

    Don’t underestimate the 396-325hp in that big car. I had that motor in ’69 SS Chevelle and I stunned my buddies that had the 350hp & 375hp! They were pissed!! Now have 396hp with 400 trans in a ’66 Imp S/W and people cannot believe that it’s only 325hp! It’s pretty impressive and fun!!!!


    Perfect example of a ’60’s era street fighter. Great looking car and I wouldn’t change a thing.

  29. ACZ

    A real sweetheart just the way it is.

  30. George

    I’m being tempted to go into debt!

  31. Pete

    Now that is far nicer than the 68 we saw a day or so ago that was slap worn out. That would be fun to drive around blowing doors off. LOL

  32. Cary Dice

    I recall back then that the Biscayne with a big block, bench seat, rubber floor mats, posi-trac, no power anything and dog dish hubcaps were the real deal sleeper and written-up in the car mags.

  33. Ck

    Two words BAD ACE

  34. Cadmanls Member

    Sweet, need I say more?

  35. Richard Ochoa

    Nice Interior. too bad it’s not a Hardtop! At least it has a Bow Tie!!!

  36. George

    My brothers friend got one of those after coming back from Vietnam but I think he got the 400hp-409 one. That thing was wicked and I remember for a fact he put the posi-track 410’s in the rear and that thing would burn up a set of tires in minutes. He even got some M50 Micky Thompson’s on the back with narrows on the front. Boy, did that thing rip.
    What was wild in my neighborhood was all the guys that came back alive bought muscle machines from all of the car makers so since we had the street that was straight and smooth, they all used it for a warm-up before heading to Alton, Il. dragway on Saturday afternoons.

  37. erikj

    very nice-I love the basics with big ass hp and 4spd, black on red, how classy.

  38. Marc S.

    Who wrote this? 409’s stopped early 1965!

    • George

      If you go down the comments you’ll see that I commented and basically apologized for not being a Chevy head. and when your only 11 yrs old, a big motor is a big motor. If it’s wicked, it’s wicked.
      When I put my Sport Fury up against it, never saw it once we launched off.
      Sorry Chevy heads, but that Fury was the hottest thing on 4 wheels and blew away almost everything it came alongside of it.
      I had a ’65 Plymouth Belvedere 1 with a 225 slant 6 with 3 on the tree and no one could be me off the line up to 100mph. (near top end for the setup I had). It was my 1/8th mile runner.
      Knew how to rap that motor out and knew how to use that 3 on the tree to jump off the line and shift faster than anyone else.
      Not bragging just learn how to get off the line and shift like the pros.

  39. Comet

    How about a look under that trunk mat? The one that looks like rust spots are bleeding through. Nice car, however a thorough inspection would be recommended prior to any serious bids.

    • rbtempe

      There are pics and other listings for this car to be found on the web. Pics show a very rusty undercarriage.

  40. George

    I was 11 years old in ’66 and I was a Plymouth/Dodge gearhead when I started working on Muscle Cars in the mid/late 60’s and I did use the word “Think” in my comment.
    I’m sorry for not knowing every motor that was being used back then since I wasn’t a Chevy head anyway.
    In 1971,I finished the build a ’65 Sport Fury with 413 wedge, Holley 1050 duel pumper rejetted, Doug Thorley’s w/Thrush gutted out for exhaust, short throw 4 speed, 411 posi as#end, Mickey T’s for treads,no back seat, no A/C, and no radio but I ran low 12’s w/o bleach at 16 years old at the strip. BTW it was street legal, sometimes!! Lol
    My brother’s friends wanting to do a Detroit Locker on it but that’s way too hard of a ride on those bumpy roads and I had trouble with ripping out U-joints as it was. (That was from dropping air pressure in my MT’s to 20-25psi)
    I had pics of all of my rides but my clubhouse where I was living in the 80’s burnt to the ground, so there went not only my pics but my ’47 Knuckle chopper that I built in ’67 as well ;^(

    FYI, On my Fury, the guy who owned it didn’t make it back from Nam and since I was close to the family, they let me have it for $1500 on payments. By the time I was 22, I owned 4 Harleys, 3 Dirt bikes, a set of Triumphs( 650/750), 2 Muscle cars, 2 regular ones for work, 1 ’49 deluxe cab Chevy, 1 ’65 Ford pickups, and rented a 6 car garage for $40 a month.
    Damn, I had it made!! Too bad I got married, lost most of them in the divorce!! Sorry, my pic of my bike is upside down and sometimes it did throw me in that position and still have it and some other old Kaws now.

  41. jeff6599

    Pontiac V8 lube oil system is the best. No mods needed nor offered by Pontiac aftermarket manufacturers.

  42. Jim S

    I don’t know about that George I posted about my 68 chevy Biscayne the 3 on the tree sucked a lot may be mopar had a better 3 on the tree set up but my best day was when I got a m22 4 speed out of a wrecked 67 427 impala put in bisqwick ( her name) Sacramento raceway 1984 12:43 @118mph on slicks this was my dd for years was killing mopars all the time off fruitridge ave and florin rd all the time in pretty much stock set up

  43. jeff6599

    Sorry George but I never raced Fiats or VWs.

  44. rl spreeman

    I recall a magazine article from long ago where they tested a full sized 1968 Chevy Biscayne 2dr sedan. All the heavy duty and performance stuff, 427, 4 speed, and radio / heater… sticker price, $2998.

    • BOP Guy Member

      If only we could go back and buy one!

  45. Utes

    Hey Josh,
    No 425-horse 409 in ’65.

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