Backyard Find: 1966 Chevrolet Chevelle SS

Our ever alert Barn Finds reader Michael has been on the lookout and has spotted this classic for us to consider, thank you Michael. This 1966 Chevelle 396SS is located in Long Beach, California, and is listed for sale here on Craigslist. The owner has listed it at $11,500 and it will come with a DMV Bill of Sale.

Some of these Barn Finds never cease to amaze me. This truly desirable Chevelle has been owned by the same person from 1970 until recently but was actually found languishing in a backyard in Los Angeles, a spot that it has occupied since 1982. Considering that fact this old Chevy is in remarkable condition overall. There are some obvious rust issues around the rear window and the trunk lid and surface corrosion in several areas, but otherwise its condition is amazing for a car that has been exposed to the elements for 36 years.

Under the hood rests the 396ci V8 which in its day punched out 325hp in base form. This one is backed by a 4-speed transmission. The seller notes that the engine turns over by hand. What I notice is how uncluttered it all appears in there. I detect a distinct lack of wires, hoses, and pipes. I wonder if this is the reason why the car has been sitting since 1982. This may not be an issue because I believe that replacement wiring looms are readily available if it is actually missing (which it appears to be).

The interior is going to need some work, there’s no denying that. The dash itself appears to be in reasonable shape, but the pad is cracked in several places. The rear seat and trim, along with the door cards all appear to be sound and are candidates for a deep clean. The front seats will require new covers, while the console appears to be intact and may respond well to cleaning.

Scouting around the internet reveals that the starting price for a good Chevelle SS396 is nudging $30,000, with some priced significantly higher. I would love to know if that’s the original engine under the hood, as that would make it all the more appealing. I’m glad that the seller found this hiding in a backyard and is giving someone the opportunity to bring it back to life. Personally, I think that the price is probably about right to allow someone to restore it and not lose money on it. Hidden gems like this have to make you wonder how many more are out there sitting quietly and patiently in backyards waiting for someone to bring them back to life.

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  1. Chris

    If the car is exceptional underneath and I mean clean with a matching numbers drivetrain I think the asking price is fair. But with turn key 396 Chevelles selling for 40 grand you’d have to have a set up shop with accomplished skills to jump into this build and keep it above water. Great year for an SS just the same.

  2. LMK Member

    Good points Chris…

    But still ‘WOW’ !!

    • Chris

      Its a “wow” find for sure.

  3. Lance Nord

    While I have never been a Bowtie fan, I do appreciate good styling. I always thought the ’66 was one of the most underrated body styles of the Chevelle.

  4. Mark

    I like the Sun Tach! And it’s a 4-speed!!

  5. Mike1955

    The painted valve covers are a give away that it may not be original engine?

    • Chris

      Im not certain and open to correction but I think the painted valve covers were standard on a 325 horse 396?

      • Mike1955

        All Chevelle SS had chrome valve covers from factory.

  6. PaulG

    Dang, my first car was a 66 SS-396 I bought in ’75. If the rust wasn’t so bad, I’d give this one a go, just to re-live that portion of my youth!

  7. Miguel Member

    I don’t think a bill of sale will do it to be the owner of this in California.

    If it is the same owner since 1970, he can give you a signed application for duplicate title and you can put it in your name from there.

    • Steve R

      It’s more than likely he bought it from the people that owned it since 1970, that may not even be the case. I would want a title before I handed over the cash. Too many bad things can happen and you will be on your own to resolve them.

      Steve R

      • Miguel Member

        Especially when you are forking over more than 10K.

        For that amount I want the seller to handle the title issue.

        If they don’t that is a huge red flag.

  8. Lroy

    Great place to start for a young person. Chip away year after year and before you know it you got your self an extremely desirable mucsle car.
    The title needs to be secured otherwise its a parts car and that would be a waste.

  9. Gaspumpchas

    Good look at the underbelly is a must, when the trunklid is that rotten you gotta wonder. This is a very cool car done. Look ‘er over good and good luck!!!

  10. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    Already Gone.

  11. stillrunners

    Cool….agree – 66 was my fav year….this looked real good to start with.

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