Factory Big Block: 1966 Chevelle SS396

1966 Chevelle SS396

Who doesn’t love a big block equipped American classic? I know the weight of a 396 cui V8 sitting up front can have negative effects on handling, but few things are as much fun as hammering the throttle of a big block and feeling the rush of horsepower and torque hitting the pavement! This ’69 Chevelle SS is said to be running and driving, but needs some work to be a nice driver. The seller describes it as the kind of car you can drive while you work on it, which is exactly what I would do with it. I’d put as many miles on that 396 as I can while the weather is nice and as soon as there’s some snow on the ground, I’d start restoring the interior. Take a look at this Chevelle here on eBay in Irvington, Alabama and then let us know what things you would fix on this one first.

1966 Chevelle SS396 Engine

Before putting any serious miles on it I would want to do a full service with all new fluids and the usual consumables. I can live with the interior and exterior not being perfect, but you don’t want to risk damaging the 396 right away. Speaking of the engine, here’s that glorious big block. It actually looks to be in amazing shape. It’s so clean I’m going to guess it was rebuilt not too long ago, at the very least it has been repainted.

1966 Chevelle SS Interior

The interior actually doesn’t look too bad. It really just needs a good cleaning and some detailing. That’s something you could do right away or you could just do pieces of it at a time. I would recommend vacuuming the carpets right away, before any dirt or dust gets ground in.

1966 Chevelle SS

With the engine tuned up and running well, I would turn my attentions to rust prevention and repair. The seller claims the floors are in great shape, but that there are pinholes in the trunk. I’d want to take a closer look at it to see how severe the rust is. If it isn’t too bad, I’d just remove the bad spots and weld in patches. It would be fairly easy and cheap to do. If the rust is more extensive, the only option maybe to weld in a whole new trunk. Of course that’s something you could put off for a while if you properly treat the rust to keep it from spreading. So what’s the first thing you’d do with this Chevelle (other than a burnout)?

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Comments

  1. dirtyharry

    These are so easy to fall in love with. I call them, “have it your way cars.” You could buy a six, 283, 327 or 396. I think from the photos, this one has the power glide 2 speed. Well, that has to go. At least put a 3 speed auto or something better. Anyone has had anytime behind the 396 will tell you what a sweet motor it is. I spent a lot of time in Chevelles, I just can’t tell you everything that happened, because some of the people involved are living. There is such great vendor support for these cars, it just makes sense to do restoration and get a 4 or 5 speed on the floor.

  2. PaulG

    My first car, purchased in 1976. Green w/ white interior, 4 speed, and was a wicked performer. Had a lot of fun with it, even driving cross country at 18 y.o.
    In the past 40 years have owned several more 66-67 SS Chevelles, even owned the same 66 convertible twice!
    Hard to find one this original, and with one previous owner (- the current seller…). While not a huge fan of the Yellow, the non-factory A/C, or the powerglide, I’d make room at the right price.

  3. Djs

    Its not a 69 i think its a 66 or 67

    • Glen

      what’s with the thumbs down?

    • Gorzor

      It is a 1966.

  4. 68 custom

    Nice 66 lovw the color combo and looks to be in very good shape! the main place to look for rust is around that rear window, if it.s fairly clean then chances are so is the rest of the car! I am guessing it is a 325 hp car.

  5. Bill

    I’d leave it as is, two pedals and all. It’s only original once and when you chop it up to put in a third pedal, something is gained, but something is also lost.

  6. JW

    I would swap out the 2 speed tranny for a OD trans then tidy up the interior and drive it, just save the tranny so if you sell it the new owner can swap it back if preferred.

  7. Steve Member

    Once owned a car exactly like this including the color. GREAT car, but it had one major fault: it couldn’t pass a gas station without the need for more fuel. It sucked gas like it had a whole in the tank, and big one. Fun, fast and comfortable!

  8. Rock On Member

    Maybe it had a hole in the tank!

  9. Luke Fitzgerald

    Would it have had centre caps with color coded wheels? Great shape

  10. Rocco

    The ad says it has a Holley carb. If that is so, from GM, it should be a 360HP with a cast iron intake, but with a powerglide tranny? I would think, if I’m correct, the 360HP car would have a TH-400. I’m not sure if GM had certain driveline combo’s, or what ever was available on the assembly line, or how someone ordered a car. Can a GM guru elaborate here? I’ve seen an automatic ’66 SS396, but with a TH-400. Maybe someone put a Holley on this one in the past. The 325HP, and 350HP Chevelles had Quadra-Jet carbs. Regardless, I’m glad to see the Holley, instead of the Q-J. Personal opinion.
    Love the car!

    • Marty Parker

      GM didn’t use the turbo 400 in any A body until ’67.

  11. Jay Calk

    I liked the powerglide transmissions I have owned plus when you change it out you lose original equipment. Fix what you have to and torgue that baby out. 85-90 in first gear at 5800/6000 rpm💤

    • Rocco

      They were invented for 6cyl. & small V-8 cars. I just would’ve thought GM would put there best auto tranny(TH-400) in a Big Block Performance car.
      Heck, I’ve seen the TH-400 behind a 327 in a ’66 Impala.

      • waldon herdman

        I have seen a few powerglides behind 396s, always the 325hp though.

      • 68custom

        As others have said the powerglide was the only automatic in Chevelle for 1966. Even behind the big block. The big block glide was beefed up with extra clutch packs and other mods for durability. Powerglide could be had behind 409/340 horse as well few years earlier. Corvette 427 for 66 as well.

  12. AMCFAN

    The White 65 Cutllass in the background was featured from this seller recently. Hmmmm!

    • Rocco

      They said they were a dealer.

  13. George

    that’s purty…

  14. Ross

    Turbo 400 wasn’t offered in the Chevelle until 1967, and only in the SS package.

    • Rocco

      @ Ross
      I almost bought a ’66 SS396 Chevelle with a factory TH-400, bucket seats, & console. I wasn’t real interested after I saw the auto. at the time, I didn’t know an auto was available. So I know GM made “one”. Could’ve been a late build, or a reps car.
      Thanks for the update. I just always thought, since I saw the one, that it was available for production in ’66 SS396. When I saw the car, I was amazed there was even an auto available, so I looked under the car to be sure, since I noticed the 3-speed floor shifter. This was in the ’80’s.

  15. geomechs geomechs Member

    I like the car, overall, however, I have a big problem with that York A-C compressor. If you feel you need air conditioning at least use the A-6 Frigidaire unit and try to keep it in the family. Seeing what’s there, if this came my direction the aftermarket A-C would be the first thing to go…

  16. 105 flash

    Judging by the painted intake manifold, probably a Q-jet carb, the 396 is the 325 hp version. 360 hp version came with factory alum. hi-rise and holley carb.

    • 68custom

      66-325 horse 396 could be had with Holley or Quadrajunk depending on which cast iron intake the factory bolted on.

      • George

        why hate on Qjets? They are awesome. They’re all I run.

      • 68 custom

        a well set up Quadrajunk is a fine carb. the thing is finding someone who knows how to work on the complex beast. Holley is much easier to tune. Sorry it was just what we called them…

    • Rocco

      360HP came with hydraulic lifters & cast iron intake with Holley(not sure of cfm); 375HP came with solid lifters and aluminum intake and 780cfm Holley.
      The 360HP was just the 350HP with a Holley carb that gave it 10 extra HP.

    • Gary beck

      360 hp had cast iron Holley bolt pattern

  17. Marty Parker

    360 HP also came with different cam, valve springs and distributor. Still hydraulic, but a little more duration.

  18. Helmut Member

    I was in touch with the seller. Apparently it has original paint in the door jambs, and the rest of the body has been sprayed with primer.

  19. Robert White

    I had the use of my brother’s 1967 Chevelle SS 396 400 Turbo 12 Bolt Pozi when I was 16. I used to take it out late at night and do 110mph down a road near home just for a speed rush. At 110 the car started to float with the air literally lifting the front end up at that speed. The light posts were the weirdest thing at that speed because they just clipped by at twice the usual rate of speed. At 110mph it was not really safe and that why I did not take it up to 130mph which it could do easily. The cops in my area liked it and I got let off on speeding once due to the fact that the cop liked the car and was amused that a 16 year old kid even knew what it was.

    Bob

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