Four on the Floor: 1966 Corvette 427

1966 Corvette 427

I’ve spent a lot of time on the road lately, with most of that time spent driving a car with a manual transmission, but over the past few days I’ve been stuck in an SUV with a slush box automatic. While automatics are getting somewhat better, they still don’t provide the driver with a truly connected driving experience. Oh sure, paddle shifters are great and I have no doubt there are plenty of automatic fans here, but giving gear selection control to a computer or a system of hydraulics doesn’t exactly conjure the same spirit of driving that slamming the clutch down and rowing to the next gear does. As I was battling the delayed gear changes and random down shifts of the SUV I was in on my recent trip, I started thinking about something I have noticed over the years. It seems to me nearly every Corvette, new and old, has an automatic gearbox. When I first came across this 1966 Corvette 427, I nearly skipped over it, but then I noticed that it came with a 4-speed manual. When I took a closer look I discovered that it is a one owner barn find that is still in great shape! Find it here on eBay in Portland, Oregon.

1966 Corvette interior

I can understand why some owners prefer their Corvette have an automatic and I understand that in situations like drag racing they are typically the better choice, but it has always struck me as peculiar that America’s Sports Car typically comes with an automatic. From my understanding, many of these cars were ordered by dealerships, so they were optioned to be the easiest sale possible. Either this car was ordered by a dealer that appreciated shifting by hand or the original owner, Louie, ordered it the way he wanted it. Either way, I’m just glad to see a four speed behind that big block V8. Overall, it appears that this car was very well-optioned, with power windows, power steering, optional hardtop, and just about every other option you could get.

1966 Corvette 427 V8

Speaking of big blocks, this 390 horsepower 427 cui V8 is the second most powerful engine one could get in their Corvette. The seller claims that the original owner stopped driving it regularly in the early ’80s, but up until just a few years ago they would change the fluids, add new gas, and take it for a drive around the block every couple years. With his passing, the original owner’s wife has decided to part ways with it. Amazingly, the seller was able to get it running simply by changing the points and adding some fuel. It still needs to be gone through, but they have installed a new master cylinder and have the brakes working.

1966 Corvette 427 cleaned up

The seller has already cleaned the car up and it is looking good. There are a few problem areas, mostly with paint chips and what look to be a few cracks. Overall, this looks to be a great car and would be enjoyable to own with a manual or an automatic. I’m sure there are plenty of good reasons why so many Corvettes came with automatics, but for me I’ll take my Vette with a 4 speed! So which gearbox do you prefer in your sports car?

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Comments

  1. jim s

    it is over $30000 with more then 5 days to go so it will be interesting to see where it ends up. the lack of a front bumper, hood from a newer car and the way the front of car looks from the side would have me looking very very close at the front of car. great find. as for automatic transmissions, in the past every time i would buy a car/truck with an automatic i end up selling it because of transmission. now i only buy manuals.

  2. Rick

    Would love to have this Vette, 427 4 speed, convertible and with patina. Wouldn’t restore it, just start cruising as it after sorting out the mechanical 100%,, wish I had the extra $40K+ it will likely go for . . .

  3. Alan (Michigan)

    Corvettes from the 60’s seem to be bringing higher dollars all the time. And while most of the moneyed crowd has gotten selective, there still may be a few fish in the pond which can be snagged by this hook.
    I am always one to be suspicious when a seller leaves out very basic photos from a listing. In this case, it is a straight-on front shot. Sure, we can tell that there was (likely long ago) a modification to the front, putting the headlights down low and doing away with the leading-edge flip-overs. But the reason for doing that may have been a wreck? PPI required!
    Many would not appreciate the aftermarket grille, but who can tell? It is not shown but on the edge of one picture.
    Also missing are underside photos.
    What CAN be seen is overspray here, there, everywhere.
    Can a Corvette owner, fan, or expert tell me: Did Chevy really pop rivet plates inside the upper front door jams, next to the dash?

    I dunno… This might be a “reconstructed” or substantially repaired car. That would be OK I guess, if properly done. But the work here does not seem to be all that great. Am I too picky?

    WOW! Hey, thanks for bringing back “Click to Edit” Barn Finds!

  4. rancho bella

    Little too heavy up front for my liking…………

    • paul

      In those days most Vettes came with a stick it was quite rare to see an automatic. I think the advent of the cell phone is turning the tide against sticks. I owned about 35 years of cars with sticks then about a decade with auto’s now my daily driver is auto but my toy is a stick. This car looks to have either been lowered or the springs are shot & while these big block vettes went like stink the nose heavy handling made them understeer.

  5. Grumpydan

    Chevy did indeed pop rivet data plates and such on the cars….about any car they made.As for the custom grill and moved headlights, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s been hit, a lot of folks did that modification back in the day. Never cared for it my self but a lot of folks did that….

    • Alan (Michigan)

      I was not talking about the data plates…

      Note in the photos that there are riveted metal plates on the upper front door openings, both sides, right next to the dash. They look so much out of place, like other things on the car.

      The fact that this fright pig has been for sale for so long (May 30 on BaT, thanks @ Rex Kahrs) means that everyone who has bothered to look at it has left the location without the car. Perhaps backing away slowly, maybe running? Yea, this flipper appears to be the type that makes you want to wash up after a handshake. One eBay feedback in 2012, two recent 2014’s, and the rest from 2010 or before. Hmmm.

      • RollerD

        Yes, that is the way they were built. I do agree that the car was likely wrecked and repaired on a budget, many years ago. Or perhaps by someone who did not have the skill to put the car together correctly.

      • brian

        Those riveted plates are dash extensions, and used to fasten the edge of the dash assembly to the A-pillar. They were color coded to match the interior, and do look a bit “basic”, but thats what they used for the 63-67 vettes.

        Another thing, in the 60’s the attitude was that automatic corvettes were for sissies or women, very FEW 427 BB cars came with an automatic. In fact, up until 68, you could only get a 427 auto with a powerglide, as the TH400 wasn’t available in the corvette until 68. Big Block corvettes are only fun with a standard behind them, all three of mine are 4 speeds

  6. paul

    Oh & one other odd thing is the seller has 100% feedback says he’s not a Corvette guy but has a wrecked Corvette in the backround of one of his pics???

  7. Rex Kahrs Member

    I have seen this car before, like a few months ago. I believe it was on BaT. Same conjecture at that time, that car may have had front-end damage. I agree with Alan about the front face shot. If the custom nose job is a special feature of the car, why not show it? (Still, how many car listings have you seen where they have every imaginable photo…except…the steering wheel and the dash!! It’s my pet peeve).

  8. Ron

    This car has been for sale for many months on Craigslist in Portland. I personally think the front end ruins the car, and it probably was altered as a result of being altered (wrecked).

    • paul

      Probably right on that crash as well as this, while I remember this mod, it devalues this car.

  9. Rex Kahrs Member

    Funny though, if you read the BaT comments, it appears this thing got up to around 60K on ebay in May. You wonder what happened…buyer probably saw the car in person and backed out.

  10. RollerD

    The upside is this is most likely a very original car. The downside is the front end repair would eat up a lot of your budget, even if you did it yourself. Like any old Corvette, needs a body off to be done correctly. Hope it gets a good home.

  11. Mike

    Ebay June-02-2014 after 37 bids from 17 bidders they did not hit the reserve, hi bid was $60,300.00 wow, ouch, what the heck!

    • paul

      60g, yeah right, i guess they legalized pot in that state as well.

  12. Scott Allison

    That pop-riveted panel you are referring to, is actually the mounting corner for the dash panel. It should be screwed on, and should not be painted yellow, as it is part of the dash.

  13. Jack R

    I have had many mid year Corvettes that have top flighted by NCRS judges. The pop rivets are correct.

    • Alan (Michigan)

      Thank You!
      Although it seems like a late/almost to production, can’t back up style short cut….
      So then, which side is correct: The right, with the rivets painted over (all yellow), or the left side, with the rivets still showing the (presumably aluminum, or maybe stainless) silver color?

  14. Johnd

    I remember this from BAT, as well as the original ebay listing, which had some barn find story that the car was perfect and almost unused and well maintained and never neglected and, did I say, perfect? and there was some really good reason the front end was glassed over and the headlights replaced and it was perfect and it was done by a Chevy dealer at the time so it was perfect and the fiberglass didn’t have ANY rust and it was perfect and it was ALL ORIGINAL, except for the hood, and headlights and paint and, etc., etc., and it was perfect. . . .

    I might be a little fuzzy on these details, although not much, but it was oversold, way oversold at that time. . . The story seemed to fall about as flat as those small block coil springs being crushed under the weight of that big block . . .

    Oh, and he isn’t a Corvette guy and if you don’t buy it you hate widows. . ..

  15. JJ

    I recently just purchased this car, aside from the front end (which actually was done at the dealer) the car is indeed a survivor. Its a numbers matching 390 427 with a handful of original options such as power windows, power steering, power antenna, AM FM radio that still works (speaker is a bit shabby) teak wheel, rare early 1966 air conditioning valve cover (passenger side), original spare tire in great shape, off road exhaust option as well as 4 corner factory disc brakes. I plan to fully restore it including fixing the headlights and the front bumpers, the hood, which is an original 1967 hood will be sold and replaced with the correct 66 BBC hood.

    I know the seller personally and the car is indeed a barn find that sat for 30+ years on its own springs, the underside of the car is fine, just greasy and dirty. The car was initinally purchased with the understanding it was a 67 (much greater value) which explains the high initial cost. He is indeed, not a corvette guy…

  16. JohnD

    So glad the car found a good home, and an owner who will do right by it. I was just turned off of what might have been a neat car by the sales pitch which reeked of carnival barker. “Stories” that don’t make much sense without much evidence come awfully close to “lies” . . . at least to me. . . But glad she is back on the road to, well, the road! Congrats!

    John
    ’56, ’59 and ’65 vettes. . .

    • JJ

      I wasnt worried too much about the story as I have known the seller personally for a long time and heard the story prior to him purchasing the car and me showing any interest in buying it.

      The front end is quite a turn off and the validity of the story of it being done by the dealer is hard to swallow, a wrecked nose seems to be the way to go. However, the facotry steel header bar is still under the nose (where the headlight brackets attach) which leads me to believe that if wrecked it was very slight not damaging this fragile piece, or the dealer did indeed perform this modification. I do know the driver door was replaced and as far as i can tell this is the only confirmed damage point.

      We are rebuilding the calipers and just performed a basic tune up, it actually runs decent for sitting 30+ years. plan to drive it a little bit around the block prior to completely restoring it.

      JJ

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