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Droptop Muscle: 1966 Chevrolet Chevelle SS 396

This 1966 Chevelle SS396 convertible is 1 of 5,429 produced for the 1966 model year. This droptop was originally powered by the 396ci Mk IV V8 and is being offered as a project out of Placentia, California. Find this Big Block here on eBay currently bid to $8,500.00 with 34 bidders at the time of this post.

A quick review of the trim tag tells us that this is an original Regal Red car. Interior trim code 798 could be either a black or white bucket seat interior which the seller states was white. This Chevelle was built in Kansas on the third week of October and the 13867 identifies this as a true SS396 convertible.

There were three 396 offerings in 1966; the standard 325hp with 410 lbs. torque and a 10.25:1 compression ratio, followed by the L34 with 360hp and 420 lbs. of torque and the same 10.25:1 compression ratio. Then there was the L78 which produced 375hp, 415 lbs. of torque, and an 11.0:1 compression ratio. (Special thanks to Mike Mueller’s Chevelle 1964-1972 for the engine information). The seller identifies the motor as non-numbers matching and doesn’t share any information from the block pad. The seller also doesn’t mention the condition of the motor. Assume a full engine rebuild is needed. This Chevelle is also missing its original Muncie 4-speed. Make sure to source the correct main case casting number 3885010. It does have a 12-bolt rear but no mention is made of gear ratio.

There’s scant information provided in the listing as to body condition. The seller notes a new hood. Otherwise, the listing uses the pictures to represent overall body condition. The trunk is pictured and shows holes. The cabin floor can be seen above and also shows evidence of rust through.  No mention is made of frame condition.  The passenger fender shows lower rust.  The dash top which is often a trouble spot in GM A-body convertibles looks solid. Nearly every body panel is available through aftermarket parts houses and prices tend to remain generally reasonable. However, repair or replacement of the frame can be costly. Pay close attention to the rear frame turns when looking over one of these. The seller notes a missing rear seat. The rear seat is specific to the convertible and can be costly to source. The pictured front buckets will need to be recovered. Door panels, carpets, and dash trim will also need to be sourced. Again, the Chevelle parts aftermarket is robust and these parts are readily available.

So is this a project you are willing to take on? It checks many of the right boxes; it’s a low production model which can be verified by its VIN and trim tag, the top goes down, and it’s supported by a strong parts aftermarket. The only question really is whether this topless Chevelle will require a bottomless pocketbook. You decide.


  1. Steve R

    It looks like someone’s old parts car which the seller threw some parts they had laying around to make it salable. Which wouldn’t be hard for them considering they are a restoration supplier with over 1,000 eBay listings.

    Steve R

    Like 14
  2. stillrunners

    What scared the crap out of me in maybe 1967 or 68 as a 12 yr old kid. My buddy Ricky’s older brother took us out one night with his buddy riding shot gun and Ricky and I in the back seat. They laughed and laughed as we screamed slow down from the back seat of that red SS396 convertible. Remember that night like yesterday when we were just in grade school.

    Like 5
  3. Arthell64

    Looks better than a lot of clapped out mopars I see on BF. It’s going to cost lots of cash to restore this one but 66 chevelles have a large fan base.

    Like 5
  4. piston poney

    if only the original motor and transmission was still there, i wonder what the story is on the El Camino in the back ground.

    Like 2
  5. mjf

    Looks like a major headache

    Like 3
  6. Desert Rat

    Boy, I would love to get my hands on this, my favorit motors have always been big block chevys and to have one in a Chevelle drop top would be the icing on the cake. I’ve tackled worse projects than this one but one of my other cars would have to go and I can’t see that happening so I’ll just day dream a little.

    Like 0
  7. Erodian

    The hood looks like a ’67 and not a ’66. The hood scoops changed.

    Like 0
  8. George Mattar

    In high school I bought a Marina Blue 66 convertible for $400. Just a used 7 years old then. Wrecked it and sold it to a classmate for $75. Another classmate bought a 4 speed 66 conv white with red buckets for $800 in 1972. Still has it. Like 67s better. Money pit here.

    Like 1
  9. Terrylee86

    I have this exact car and it is definitely going to be a money pit. Bought a rust free car on e-bay and by the time I was done replacing just about every body panel, it became a total restoration not a paint job. If I had to do it over again, I would have parted it out and crushed it. Don’t touch this POS with a 10 ft pole unless you have a spare 60 G’s sitting around. After my body fiasco I went full Monty and put a LS3 connect and cruise engine and tranny in it. If I am going to have a car that not worth what I put in it, might as well have what I want.

    Like 5
  10. DuesenbergDino

    Maybe I’m getting old and just don’t understand the demand for these junks. $8,500 for a rusted out hulk? Then what? New engine, trans, interior, paint, top and buckets of cash later you still have a dressed up beater. This right here is how Dynacorn stays in business. By selling new bodies to swap out vin tags.

    Like 4
    • Camaro guy

      Yeah but you get the original mag wheel hubcaps 😁

      Like 3
  11. john hugh


    Like 0

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