Demoted, But Still Dandy: 1966 Chevrolet Bel Air

The Bel Air is cemented into the American collective memory as the fancy Chevrolet, thanks to the country’s long obsession with the 1955-57 models, but while that may have represented the model’s apex, it remained in production for a solid 18 years after that—and was the top-of-the-line Chevy for none of those remaining years. Despite its reduced standing in the lineup, however, the Bel Air remained a solid, handsome choice, and this ’66 sedan, shared with us by reader Pat L., is a really nice survivor. Check it out here on craigslist in Lafayette, Indiana, with a reasonable $5,000 asking price (archived ad).

It was the Impala, of course, that first usurped the Bel Air’s place at the top of the Chevy heap in 1958, and by the time this Cameo Beige ’66 hit the dealer lot, the Impala and Bel Air had both slipped another rung down the ladder with the introduction of the new Caprice. There had been no pillarless hardtop Bel Airs—the bodystyle that distinguished the line when it was introduced in 1950—since 1962, and only the severely plain Biscayne kept the Bel Air from being the poverty spec Chevy. Still, the domestic automakers’ a la carte options system of the time meant that a Bel Air could end up with most any of the goodies available on one of the more deluxe models, and this one sports a 283 V8, automatic transmission, and factory air.

Little is said about the condition of this Bel Air in the ad—you’ll have to call or text Del if you want to know more—but it is described as “nice running.” You can’t get too much more bulletproof than a small-block Chevy V8, and I bet this is a really pleasant cruiser.

The cloth-and-vinyl interior is anything but fancy, but again, a great environment for relaxed driving. Aside from a well-worn dashpad and old weatherstripping, things look pretty nice front and rear, and the full carpeting and subtle two-tone color scheme keep this interior from feeling like a stripped-down penalty box. This is solid, middle-class motoring, folks.

Rounding out the package is a roomy trunk full of parts and period-correct accessories. The radio is a nice addition if it works, since the dash doesn’t show one currently installed, and that aluminum rear window blind is super cool, if not necessarily something I’d want lurking a few inches behind my scalp. Overall, while it may not be the swankiest Chevy money could buy in 1966, I think this Bel Air has a lot of appeal, don’t you?


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  1. Josh_T

    You bet! That is a fine looking automobile! A/C too!

  2. Chebby Staff

    Oh, hell yeah. Lose the ’71 Nova hubcaps and this is a sweet ride for cheap!

  3. jw454

    I recall these cars along with their Ford, and Mopar counterparts, being the mainstay of family movers back in the day. They were everywhere and it seemed that every family had one or the other.
    This is a nice one for sure. I think I’d install those inside rear window slats for a bit more of the old feel nostalgia. Now all you need for that rear window is a dog with a bobble head or one that’s eyes light up when you apply the brakes.

  4. Maestro1

    A fine driver, with the right hubcaps and the radio looks like an AM-FM. Do a stem to stern on this car and then enjoy.

  5. John C Cargill

    NIce car for the money.

  6. Gaspumpchas

    Beautiful and one high quality car.Nothing runs as good as a 283.

  7. Loco Mikado

    Reminds me of the one a good friends parents owned. Before he got his own car he used his parents car. Went cruising with him, to the local dances and on double dates to the drive in movies. The car was one of millions of transportation people movers in the 60’s.

  8. Bob C.

    Nice car, nice look, even if it is a 4 door post. These 60’s chevy s were the best.

  9. Rodent

    Had a friend in the middle 70s who owned a 66 Impala sedan with a 283 and a glide with factory AC. I drove it a lot, and I liked it. He ran it at our local Wednesday night drags a couple times. IIRC, it ran the quarter in the low 18s. We forget how slow these sixties family cars really were compared to today.

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