Hurricane Victim: 1966 Chevrolet Chevelle

Hurricanes and other natural disasters can cause so much heartache and trouble to families, pets, wildlife, and even our beloved cars. Offered up for sale as a flood victim, this 1966 Chevrolet Chevelle  seems more than worthwhile to repair and enjoy. Currently bid up to $6,100 this Chevy is looking like a very interesting proposition. Take a look at it here on Copart out of College Station, Texas. Thanks to reader Nicholas Triplett for this interesting and save worthy submission!

Clearly someones dream machine, this Chevy is quite tidy under the hood. There is no visible damage, and the engine looks to have a few goodies. There is little information offered on this car, so all I can do is speculate as to the engines condition, and some of the aftermarket parts that may be fitted. One thing Interesting is that this is a flood car, but it would seem from the listing that the water only got as high as the door jamb. Perhaps I am mistaking, but that low of water would not have affected the engines condition, making it curious that the car was totaled for insurance.

There is a fair amount of dust all over this car, on the interior and the exterior. My guess is that the windows were left down to allow the water to evaporate and prevent as little mold from occurring as possible. Looking at the interior as a whole, it is really very nice. There is not really any evidence of moisture damage, to the carpet or the seats. I will say that the carpet does still appear to be somewhat wet, but just about any of us could have removed the seats and carpet to dry the car, and to clean the interior components.

With the 20 foot approach the photographer took in taking these pictures, it isn’t exactly clear what we have in front of us. It would seem we have a clean and well restored car that looks to be rust free. The one rocker image we get looks nice, with no rust blisters present. Also there are SS badges fitted, but again, this may not be what it seems. If it were a true SS I would guess that it would have been submerged further than the door jambs to write it off. The tomato red paint looks quite shiny, and the chrome appears without flaw. For the current $6,100 bid price I think I would take a chance on this Chevy, how about you?


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  1. RayT Member

    As a guess, Hagerty’s adjusters — assuming the name in grease pencil on the windshield refers to the insurer and not the ex-owner — would find the damage pretty extensive before they would total a real SS in such cosmetically nice condition. So I would be very careful….

    In any case, this won’t be an “it’ll buff out” project. I’d want to pull it down to a bare shell and start over, thoroughly cleaning and protecting what’s usable and replacing everything else. The sooner that’s done, the sooner long-term problems — mainly rust — can be minimized. I’d expect the engine to have internal damage, too: a lot of people would first try to start it after pulling it out of the floodwaters.

    Tens of thousands of cars will go to the crusher after the recent hurricanes. Hope this isn’t one of them. Same goes for the ’66 Corvette, though that one seems to me an even harder task.

    • Steve R

      The VIN number indicates it is not an SS.

      It’s already over priced based on the amount of unknowns. This looks like someone is going to buy this car because of the “shiny” red paint.

      Steve R

      • GaryC GaryC

        The vin will not tell if it is an SS. The cowl tag will though.

      • GaryC GaryC

        I spoke too soon. The 1966-68 SS cars are identifiable by the vin. The 1969-70 SS Chevelle’s were not.

    • Red'sResto

      Hundreds of thousands of cars…apparently 500,000 are in lots awaiting destruction.

      • Rush Meade

        Pretty much

  2. Fred W.

    If the water truly only got to door jamb level and not to air cleaner level, this could be one heck of a deal. That would involve removing the carpets, inspecting floors, inspecting wheel bearings, inspecting wiring harness running at floorboard level. I would drain the oil before doing anything else and check for water. Even if there is some, it takes time for rust to accumulate outside of flash rust. Hope this one is rebuilt rather than scrapped.

    • henry adams

      It rained in my home(Jax. Fla) and my 62 Impala flooded to the inside floor boards. took the carpet out threw it across the cloths line blew out the water with a wet vac and air compressor re did all the brakes and wheel bearings changed all fluids…drove for five more years. took me a week to get it back on the road


    Isn’t that a water line on the right front inner fender? Either way it’s fixable unlike a modern car with all of the electronics. It’s like throwing your computer in the lake then trying to fix it.

    • JamestownMike

      Copart lot employees put that water line on the vehicle when it arrives at their facility. It’s a “best guess” water line and isn’t guaranteed! I bought a fresh water flood car from Copart about a year ago and it had a similar water line just above the rocker panel…….boy what that off! The owners manual and paperwork in the glove box was WATER SOAKED, water in the ash tray and water in the spare tire compartment. The BCM (Body Control Module) was water soaked (mounted next to the glove box, so now the interior lights stay on all the time. The A/C blows out the defrost, so obviously the blend door actuator is water soaked too! The electric trunk closer no longer works too. Beware of newer flood cars, they have too much wiring and electrical that gets damaged!

  4. Jay E.

    Weren’t Harvey flooded cars were mostly submerged in fresh water, unlike Irma or others where it was saltwater storm surge? Might make a big difference in restoration.

    • Miguel

      This wouldn’t be a Harvey car as that just happened.

      It takes months to get the owner paid and get the car to auction.

      If this was submerged in salt water, the electrical system will have to be replaced, but other than that, it is an old car, it will survive, but now with a salvage title.

  5. Retired Stig

    Not a real SS, just a mystery small Chevy/auto trans ’66. Cheesy shifter. Yawn. However-if the body is solid, the interior looks nice (assuming it isn’t rotting now), so if the price is right, you could make something quite nice out of this.

    • JamestownMike

      Not only is it NOT a real SS, it now has a SALVAGE FLOOD TITLE!

  6. Alex

    Smelling too much of hydrolock….

  7. Mike1955

    Salt water flood vehicle is more problems than fresh water flood, plus as with any “total”,the title will be branded, meaning lower value forever.

  8. mike

    Not to be too cynical, but anybody could have put that grease pencil flood mark there. Do insurance adjusters really put marks like that on the car?


      I’m not talking about a grease pencil. It’s a WATER line where the water was at it’s highest point like on a building.

  9. Big Mike

    I bought a 75 1/2 ton GMC Pickup that had been in the flood of 93 here in Missouri. I thought I had gotten a good price, but man was I wrong. Even after I had gutted the interior of the car, it had a smell that smelled like a animal had died in the car. I then had the interior and exterior of the truck soda blasted to help rid the smell, but after we had finished with the restore, on hot days a strange musty smell would be there, so as long as you did not leave the truck closed up you would be fine, but close it up of a hot sunny day in Missouri and the smell would come back like the smell from a storage trunk in a attic for years. I finally took the truck back apart and replaced everything, all new duct work in the dash, wiring in the truck everything I could come up with, we even drilled holes in the frame and pumped cleaning fluids up the frame section, and then welded plates over our holes. What ever it took finally helped the issue, I sold that truck in 2015, and did not break even, but it sure smelled good after all that!!

  10. Chuck Simons

    THe badges are big block, the motor is small block. Watercoul be in th cavities of the interior (rear window wells, front doors, those pesky places in the body/frame area. Pretty picture though.

    • Jerry Landis

      I wondered when someone would notice the wrong engine !!

  11. Woodie Man

    Looking at what you call dust, I would guess that is silt left over from the water receding after rising over the bottom seat cushions. You really need an in person look see . While it’s a nice looking car, it’s just a small block w a slushbox. I don’t know if it’s a real SS, I kind of doubt it, but If the price was right, anything can be fixed with money.

    • Tom Member

      As long as we have a episode of CSI Texas going here (Chevelle Scene Investigation !!) Look at what the car is parked on, super fine dirt/clay/dust…that is what is all over this car inside and out. I agree with everyone’s comments but pretty sure the dust all over it is that same dust on the car behind it coming from the ground and a nice Texas breeze.

  12. gbvette62

    After Sandy hit NJ, there were plenty of what appeared to be perfectly good cars, get totaled.

    From what I saw, any car where the water level, reaches the frame rails and/or rockers, the insurance companies prefer to total. No matter how valuable the car is, the feeling is that there are to many things that could cause issues later, to make it worthwhile for the insurance companies to repair the cars. Frames, wiring, bearings, transmissions, clutches, rears, brakes, brake and fuel lines, radiators etc, could all become a problem in the future, and it just makes more sense for the insurance company to total the car, than deal with the possible long term effects of insuring a car that was under water.

    It was all good for me, as I’m in the Corvette parts business, and had a number of customers who chose to “buy” their cars back from the insurance company, and restore them. Interestingly, none of my customers ended up with cars with flood damage titles! The insurance companies would list the car for auction for one day on Copart. At the end of the day, they gave the owner the option of walking away and getting a full settlement for the car, or keeping it and collecting the difference between the insured amount and the high bid. For the people who chose to keep their cars, the insurance companies never took possession of the cars or the titles, and the titles never got branded as totaled, salvage or flood.

  13. fulm

    Stick it in rice, worked for my phone.

  14. Tort Member

    66 Chevelle’s are a very sought after cars even if they are not an SS. With a good solid body many have been restored with need of fenders, body panels and even frames that needs replacing. Sounds like a fair price to me.

  15. Bob

    In this case there is the title to show that it is not an SS car. You have to remember that the SS is just the trim package, and is not an indicator of the engine. But the sure sign that it is not a big block car, is to check the size of the fuel line. If it has 1/4 inch fuel lines rather than 3/8ths, it is a small block car. Another easy check is to look at the rear end. The big block cars will have the 12 bolt rear end.
    I don’t know anything about flood cars, and personally wouldn’t gamble, even though I have a period correct 396 that would be right at home under that hood.

    • Steve R

      From 1966-1970 all SS’s Chevelle’s were big blocks, it was not a trim package, it was a seperate model with its own VIN.

      Steve R

  16. D

    I had a car get totaled and the insurance company never had possession of it and the title never got branded.

  17. newfieldscarnut

    The speedometer looks to be untouched by water .

  18. Skillet

    Don’t care if it is a 136. I would love to have this in my garage right now. Do a frame off on it over the winter. Make an SS clone out of it. Nobody will know the difference when it blows by them.

  19. Tom

    I’m in the auto body shop buisness and I was told by an adjuster that with so many cars to look at that not all vehicles are inspected by the insurance company you report the flood claim give them the mileage the check the book value look at the pictures that are on file for the condition of vehicle and they pay the book value on it

  20. Troy S.

    If the car is never gonna be worth all that,it is a prime candidate for a hot driver. I really like the looks of the ’66 chevelle and this one grabbed my attention right away but the ss396 badges just don’t belong on a car with a small block. Put some 283 emblems on the fenders and keep ’em guessing.

  21. Gary Fogg

    I bought a flood car years ago, an 2002 Mercedes CLK 320 in 2004, was told it was a fresh water swimmer and low water, both lies, car was a total POS, hydrolocked and blown engine, every electric motor destroyed, wiring , grounds, etc. I doggedly tried to rebuild it, new engine, new harness, transmission done, etc…total money pit. Finally ran out of ambition and money and desire. It sits in the back of my garage as a constant reminder of how bad I could get sucked in by something pretty. If they say flood car and your not buying it for parts RUN THE OTHER WAY WITH YOUR MONEY !!!

  22. Alford Pouse Member

    Years back there was a big flood in NE Pa. Some friends brought back a few MGs and a 275,GTB Ferrari. MGs were stripped cleaned and put back together, and were still looking good and running good 10yrs after the fact. The Ferrari was offered to me for $5grand but didn’t have the cash, Not sure where it ended up. Typical luck no cash and the deals show up.


    IMO this car needs a complete frame off with an emphasis on anything electrical..A lot of these flood cars will be showing up all over the country. Best to have any used car Auto Checked or Car Faxed.

  24. S. Brodie

    I’ve bought several salvage machines over the years and rebuilt them successfully and I’ve seen many water damaged or flood cars for sale on Copart but on contacting our DMV I found that it was impossible to get a registration for them. While this is a relatively simple car to rebuild here they are parts only if the salvage title says Flood. If anyone knows away around this I’d sure like to find out the solution. Bought a Cessna 206 with Robertson STOL that had been supposedly flipped over on floats in fresh water. After many repairs I found out it was actually the salt chuck that it had been in and it was disintegrating from the inside out. Got rid of it quick.

  25. Mitch Ross Member

    I was buying an selling salvage cars up till a decade ago and fresh water flood cars were the best. 7 year old cars were sold for $300 and it just took time and patience to make them perfect. Of course I wasn’t buying Ferraris. One of the flood cars I got was a 2003 Cavalier. i gave it to my son who was in HS. it had 30k on it. He’s 27 now and still has the car with 160k. Lots of dents on it but in ten years only the fuel pump went bad 2 years ago.

  26. Mark

    How can compares sell as an SS when it’s not? Isn’t that fraud? The insurance paid owner for a SS? Price ?

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