Nine-Seater with Built 350! 1966 Chevrolet Bel Air

Sporting fresh white paint, new wheels and tires, and a rebuilt 350 V8, this 1966 Chevrolet Bel Air outside of Nashville, Tennessee looks ready to roll. The listing here on Craigslist makes no mention of the wagon’s driving or operating condition. It would be a shame to drive the car to a photogenic location only to take seven pictures, but what we see looks good. The original interior in a silvery blue largely escaped the lens of the camera but what’s visible seems to have held up well. The chrome looks shiny as well. For many owners, the asking price of $14,500 on this Chevy could stand tall against modern seven to nine passenger vehicles. Thanks to reader rex m for spotting this matte white wagon.

Not showing the driver’s seat shows either lack of experience with buying and selling automobiles or deliberate subterfuge. The interior overall looks ready for service. I’d put my family in this wagon in a minute, though I can hear one of my girls saying “It smells like old people.” The extra gauge pod under the dash has made a popular add-on since the days this Bel Air left the factory.

The sporty stance and rolling gear look perfect without being over-the-top. The air foil at the rear directs air down the back window to keep it clean. Without that airflow, the natural vortex behind a boxy vehicle attracts dirt, especially if you regularly traverse dirt roads as wagons are known to do. That rear bumper might be tweaked or it could be a trick of the light.

The Moon tachometer with adjustable red-line suits the classic perfectly. We don’t get to see the “FRESH” “HI performance” 350 cid (5.7L) V8 but that sounds promising. The “Stall Converter” describes every automatic transmission, but presumably the stall RPM is higher than stock for a harder hit off idle. Hopefully the engine doesn’t spend too much time toying with the indicated 4800 RPM max. Take two families. One spends $15,000 on a nine-passenger hauler from the 21st Century and the other buys this one for $14,500. Add air conditioning to the ’66 for $1500. With full-sized SUVs weighing nearly 6000 lb, this wagon enjoys a one-ton weight advantage every mile, making the most of whatever power the rebuilt small-block produces. Drive both vehicles everywhere that families go for ten years and you’ll probably still have a $15,000 Bel Air. The SUV… not so much. Would you consider this Bel Air as an SUV alternative?

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Comments

  1. Kenneth Carney

    Dunno if I could get my girls near it either, but I like it a lot. My SIL and niece
    will say that it’s too big for them to drive.
    If my nice got freaked out driving my
    Charger, what would she do with this?
    And Sis doesn’t do wagons period. Can’t figure out why they like the Mariner
    we just bought, but they do. Me, I’d be
    perfectly happy with it.

    Like 2
  2. Jcs

    Surprised no comments on this one, nice looking wagon. Maybe it’s because the write up pretty much nails it.

    Like 12
  3. Tooyoung4heyday Member

    If I had kids I’d totally rock something like this. Good body, good stance, sounds like a nice drivetrain…. Sadly we don’t get much info on that. Even a pic might have been helpful. Is it built up random 350? Drop in crate motor? Define built?!? Still neat ride, should sell quickly to right person. Wagons are getting hot again.

    Like 3
  4. Chunk Plepgeat

    Gear indicator shows PRNDL – could this be a two-speed Powerglide transmission? If so, fuel economy is gonna SUCK.

    Like 5
    • Steve R

      That only tells you what transmission originally came in the car, not what’s currently in it.

      Steve R

      Like 1
      • robert semrad

        I think that’s why he said….”could this be a two-speed Powerglide transmission?” indicating that it may not be.

      • robert semrad

        I think that’s why he said, ” – could this be a two-speed Powerglide transmission?” That indicates he’s questioning what tranny came in it.

    • mike grelles

      Fuel economy!Really!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      Like 1
  5. Courtney

    I have 2 1966 Pontiac wagons one with 6 cly 3 on the tree the other a 283 auto. Always liked the wagons. Personally I would lose the 350 put in a 327.

    Like 1
    • Hound59

      Pontiac had a 283 CID?

  6. Kenneth Carney

    Dunno if I could get my girls to go near it
    either. But I like it a lot. My nice and SIL
    will say that it’s too big for them to drive.
    Besides, we just dropped 6K on a very nice
    1-owner Mercury Mariner that they both
    love. Me, I’d be happy with this wagon
    and would drive it anytime I could. Sometimes, it really bites being legally
    blind and unable to drive what you want.

    Like 1
  7. gaspumpchas

    Check the frame good for rot. looks cool, but any seriously interested party would look it over anyway. Good luck abd happy new year. Rebuild could be a rattle can job, but I guess we will never know. Good luck and happy new year.
    Cheers
    GPC

    Like 1
  8. Paul

    Yes super cool for a casual Sunday drive
    Not safe to put my kids in. Cars from those years were a death trap in the event of a collision. Would crunch up like an accordion right into the passenger compartment. Just watch the video online of the 1950s chev belaire and the 20__ chev Malibu. No comparing modern crash crumple zones. Plus airbags missing, and all of the other safety advances. Like I said for me to cruise sure but I wouldn’t trade a modern SUV for this for daily use. IMHO

    Like 2
    • W. Winston

      I don’t agree. There is also a lot of videos on YouTube showing stock car race crashes (involving 1950s cars) where people walked away from 100 mph pile ups with only scratches and bruises.

  9. MCH

    “If you don’t leave your brother alone, I will pull this car over…!”

    Like 8
  10. James Martin

    Good shot of the tac. But what of rwst of car? Funny how 3500 dollar cars went to over 10 grand these days. Must be the pandemic

    Like 2
    • robert semrad

      Nope…..just inflation….

      Like 1
  11. G Lo

    That’s easily a 12 seater. I had the non-wagon version of this back in H.S. and we could get 4 across the front seat and 5 across the back seat without even trying. ‘Course we were all a bit (!) more slim back then, and my car didn’t have the optional seatbelts.

    Like 1
  12. Gary Chapman

    Interesting comparison when the world opens up we are coming to US/Canada,to travel and buy a car you go this wagon you pay the $14500 for it you look after it end of trip you probably get $14500 back,but you pay $14500 for generic SUV hard to know possibly $10000 back.Plus you get the fun of travelling in American iron possibly enter car shows.

    Just a different opinion Gary Chapman Australia

    Like 4
    • Todd Fitch Staff

      Hello Gary Chapman – I like your angle. I’ve thought the same thing about buying a boat to travel the Intra-Coastal Waterway and selling it at the end of the trip. Flipping it around, what would be your top choice if someone wanted to visit Australia and buy a classic for a month-long tour of the Land Down Under, then sell it easily before flying back? Let us know if you make your USA Trip a reality!

  13. Chris Londish Member

    A sleeper to give the family some thrills take the family to the drags race and home again what could be better

  14. robert semrad

    I think that’s why he said….”could this be a two-speed Powerglide transmission?” indicating that it may not be.

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