Built 396: 1966 Chevrolet Impala SS

Whipping the drivetrain of a classic project build into shape can be an expensive undertaking. Parts and labor can consume mega-dollars, and if the owner’s budget is limited, it can mean that other aspects can be delayed until the builder’s bank account is replenished. The person who buys this 1966 Impala SS shouldn’t face that financial trauma because the seller has already completed most of the mechanical heavy lifting. There are still some tasks to complete, but these shouldn’t be too difficult or expensive. I have to say a big thank you to Barn Finder Pat L for spotting this promising project for us. Located in Avon Park, Florida, you will find the SS listed for sale here on Craigslist. The owner has set the sale price at $10,000, and as you will see, the buyer could be getting a lot for their money.

There’s a lot to like about this Ermine White Impala, but there are also plenty of questions that are left unanswered. Cosmetically, this classic will need some work if it is to present at its best once again. The paint is tired and has accumulated plenty of chips and scratches over the past fifty-five years. However, the panels look pretty straight, with no significant dings or dents for the buyer to tackle. Most of the trim is in a respectable state, although there are a few pieces that the buyer might choose to restore or replace. The original owner ordered the vehicle with tinted glass, and its condition looks acceptable. The great unknown with this car is rust. While the photos and listing text don’t give much away, it does show some promise. The rockers and most of the lower extremities look clean, although I can spot some small areas that are suspect in the lower rear quarter panels. There are no underside photos, so the best that we can do is to make an educated guess. The interior has no carpet, so we do get a few brief glimpses of the floor. What can be seen looks promising, so there’s a chance there will be little or no rust for the buyer to address.

While this Impala will need some cosmetic work, the buyer won’t need to spend a bundle under the skin. The owner admits that it currently isn’t roadworthy, but it seems that it wouldn’t take much work to get it to that state. We start with the engine bay, which houses a 396ci big-block V8. It isn’t clear whether it is numbers-matching, but the owner states that it is freshly built. It’s hard to find a lot to be critical of with its appearance, and if the same level of attention has been lavished on the internals, it should produce some healthy horsepower figures. Once again, we are short on details, but we know that spent gases find their way out of the big-block via Headman headers, while a three-row aluminum radiators and dual electric fans keep it cool. All of that power and torque need to find its way to the road, and it does so via a TH400 automatic transmission. The suspension and brakes haven’t escaped the owner’s attention. He has installed many new steering components and has upgraded the brakes to slotted and drilled power front discs. The buyer will need to source and install an exhaust and a few other items, but it appears that getting this classic to a roadworthy state should not be difficult.

The owner is nothing if not consistent because he doesn’t supply much information about this Impala’s interior. We can see a B&M shifter controlling the TH400 and some aftermarket gauges to monitor the health of the brute under the hood. Beyond that, we are back to playing a guessing game. However, there are enough brief glimpses to suggest that this interior will need to be completely restored. Trim kits are readily available, but their prices vary pretty wildly. Potential buyers could pay as little as $1,800 for a complete kit, while some suppliers charge closer to $2,500. This demonstrates the importance of shopping around when undertaking a project like this. After all, if both kits are essentially identical, why throw away the extra cash that the buyer could put to better use? I did spot evidence that the original owner may have ordered this SS with air conditioning. It isn’t clear how much of the system remains intact, but it might be a worthwhile investment to source a new system if the buyer lives in warmer climes. Owning a high-performance classic is an amazing experience, but if you can add some creature comforts, why not do it?

While this 1966 Impala SS might need some work to present at its best, it is a classic that deserves a closer look. If the photos are an accurate representation, it seems that its rust problems could be pretty minor. It will still need time and money spent on its paint and panels, and the same is true of the interior. However, when you start to consider the money that the owner has spent on this classic’s drivetrain, it becomes a more attractive proposition for potential buyers. It has only been on the market for a couple of days, and I wouldn’t be surprised if someone snaps it up quickly. Are you tempted to pursue this one further?


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  1. Goatsnvairs

    Probably $15k minimum body and paint on this car alone. If you pay $10k to start you’re already underwater.

    Like 5
    • Thomas

      Your right on, no side chrome moldings on any real SS Chevy models, the appearance of factory stamped holes for chrome molding is a big red flag, before making a offer I would ask to see vin identification.

  2. dw clausen

    Not sure this is an SS. Looks to have holes for chrome strips on this car. The SS was dechromed compared to base Impala. We had a like new 65 SS 327 with factory A/C back in 1974. Paid $500 for it. Bought it with paper route money. I was 14 yo.and the SS was the third car i had owned.

    Like 5
  3. flmikey

    If done correctly, the engine had almost 10K put into it, so you are basically getting the car for free…surprised no one mentioned the ugly shifter…it would be the first thing I would get rid of….

    Like 8
  4. Haynes

    The “heavy lifting” has not been done…Warning to all potential first timers…this is a cool(ish) car but it is, without a doubt, a high cost proposition. Only if you could do everything yourself( and own a car hauler) would this car be worth it… thats if you like the car.. Bad investment but maybe cool to own

  5. Stevieg Member

    The drivers side rear quarter panel appears to be rusting. The passenger side one is not being shown at all. I bet it is a transplanted Northern car. Florida cars tend to rust from the top down. Close inspection in person is warranted.

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