Original 396: 1966 Chevrolet Impala

While it might not have quite the cachet of a genuine SS, this 1966 Impala could hold its head high in that company. It is an original survivor that is remarkably solid. The fact that its engine bay houses its numbers-matching big-block V8 is the icing on the cake. It would benefit from a light cosmetic restoration, but its next owner could retain it as an original survivor without feeling ashamed. I have to say a big thank you to Barn Finder Pat L for spotting this pearl for us. It is located in Lee’s Summit, Missouri, and has been listed for sale here on craigslist. Compared to what you might expect to pay for an equivalent SS, this Impala looks like a bargain at $12,500.

The owner recently located the Impala sitting in a barn, a spot it had occupied since 1981. When he examined the car closely, he was pleasantly surprised. The Mist Blue Metallic paint proved to be tired, but it is acceptable for a survivor-grade car. The owner states that it looks nicer in the photos than in person, so I suspect that the buyer will probably treat it to a repaint. The panels have a few dings and bruises, the worst of which are in the passenger side front fender and rear quarter panel. These appear to be repairable, so the buyer would not need to fork out the cash for replacement steel. However, all of that was the entree because the main course is that this car is not riddled with rust. The panels look extremely clean, and if there is anything present in the underside, the impression is that it would be fairly minor. This could be a pretty straightforward restoration project if the underside is as clean as the seller suggests. The trim seems to be in good condition, as is the glass. The Impala rolls on a set of Rally wheels, and these appear to be in as-new condition.

It seems that the original owner might have wanted the performance credentials of an Impala SS, but in a more subdued and subtle package. It looks like he grabbed the Order Form and a pen and then went for his life! What the buyer will receive for their money is a numbers-matching drivetrain that features a 396ci V8, a 3-speed Turbo Hydramatic transmission, a 12-bolt rear end, power steering, and four-wheel power drum brakes. With 325hp available under the driver’s right foot, the 4,118lb Impala could conquer the ¼ mile in 16.1 seconds. Left to its own devices, it would eventually find its way to 124mph. When the owner revived this classic after four decades in hibernation, he was pretty thorough. The list of parts he replaced is extensive and ranges from the alternator and water pump to shocks, wheel bearings, plugs, wires, and the carburetor. He flushed and replaced the fluids, while the brakes benefitted from a new booster, wheel cylinders, shoes, and springs. That list is merely the tip of the iceberg, but all of that work has paid dividends. He says that the car runs and drives perfectly and that he would be happy to drive it anywhere.

When you scroll through the supplied photos, it is easy to get the impression that this Impala was treated with respect before the previous owner placed it into storage. There’s no evidence of abuse or mistreatment, and the interior condition seems to support this. There is some wear on the wheel, but that is one of the few signs to indicate that we’re dealing with a 55-year-old classic. The seats and other upholstered surfaces are in excellent order, as are the carpet, dash, and pad. There are no signs of rips, tears, cracks, splits, or any other issues that can be an unavoidable part of any find like this. The owner only identifies a couple of problems for the buyer to consider. The factory AM radio doesn’t produce noise, but this could be as simple as a faulty connection or failed speaker. There is no glove box liner, but with these readily available for around $20, it is hardly likely that this will bankrupt the buyer. Otherwise, it seems to need nothing, and the factory air conditioning should make life pretty pleasant on those warmer days.

We’ve featured a few examples of the 1966 Impala SS over the years here at Barn Finds, and some of the feedback makes interesting reading. While few people have anything critical to say about the cars themselves, a group of enthusiasts with young families find a two-door classic to be impractical. They would long for an equivalent vehicle, but one that offers the versatility of four doors. That is what this Impala would seem to provide, which those people will find attractive. The other thing that might tip the scales is the price. If this were a genuine ’66 Impala SS 396, I would expect to see it listed for around $18,000 to $20,000 in its current state. Those two additional doors might impact its value, but for the right buyer, they could be a blessing at a bargain price. This classic has only been on the market for a few days, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it finds a buyer pretty quickly. Could you be tempted?

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Comments

  1. DayDreamBeliever Member

    If I had the garage space, I’d have already talked to the seller, gotten a plane ticket, and been waiting for the flight to go get this car.

    The only think I’d have asked for is some photos and assurances regarding the level of rust underneath, especially on critical items like brake lines.

    I’d think that the original carburetor was a Rochester “Quadrajet”.. If it had a Holley when he found it, likely that it had been replaced? I can’t remember whether GM used the Holley “Thermoquad” or “Spreadbore” on some of their cars during that era, or not.

    Like 11
    • TimS Member

      Agreed. If I was looking to buy an Impala of this era, I’d be all over it. Especially with factory air. The 4-door haters (who mostly drive vehicles with at least that many doors today) can just click on by.

      Like 13
    • jwzg

      Interesting info about the carbs. Found a pretty detailed discussion here:

      https://www.chevelles.com/threads/what-carb-was-used-on-the-l34-396-engine.182339/

      Like 4
    • 19sixty5 Member

      I believe the Quadrajet (QJ) made it’s Chevrolet introduction in 1967 if I remember correctly. The ThermoQuad was a Carter carburetor was used by the Mopar guys starting in 1971 I believe. Spreadbore was Holley’s name for their replacement carbs used in QJ applications. They sold a ton of them because no one knew anything about the QJ, or as it was referred to by some in the day as the Quadrajunk. The truth is the QJ was (and still is) an excellent carburetor, but everyone was sold on the Holley design. Back to this car, I like it, but I would ditch the white letter tires and go with appropriate white walls. I just don’t see the 4 door/white letter vibe.

      Like 3
  2. MattR Member

    I am amazed this hasn’t sold yet. What a deal.
    For whomever runs to score this, I have queued the 1959 hit ‘Kansas City’ hit for you: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f8tZO97uhyE

    Like 3
  3. KC John

    Anyone having Dirty Mary crazy Larry flashbacks? Love that movie. Nice car for a realistic price. How did that happen? Lol

    Like 14
  4. Bob C.

    Looks like a good deal to me. Those “sport sedans” as Chevy called them, have a cool look to them.

    Like 8
  5. AndyinMA

    nice car, great color

    Like 5
    • nlpnt

      Too bad about the black interior though, it looks great as-is but would really pop with the matching blue gut. The metallic vinyl they used gave a swimming-pool effect.

      Like 4
  6. Troy

    My grandpa had one of these in low mileage original condition when I was 16 I was working out a plan to buy it from him, but on his way home from the store one day he didn’t see the pup behind a dump truck and that ended that car.

    Like 4
  7. robert lingaas

    The best thing with four door hardtops?….. put poppers on back doors. I did it to a 67 chevelle sport sedan. You get a lot of double takes

    Like 2
    • nlpnt

      IMO four-door cars should have four door handles, I don’t even like the factory “hidden” ones in soon-to-be-chalky black plastic in the DLO.
      I’d be up for putting poppers on exclusively as a means to open the rear doors from the driver’s seat, retaining the stock door handles, if I had enough occasion to pick up passengers at shows and cruise nights though.

      Like 2
    • nlpnt

      IMO four-door cars should have four door handles, I don’t even like the factory “hidden” ones in soon-to-be-chalky black plastic in the DLO.

      I’d be up for putting poppers on exclusively as a means to open the rear doors from the driver’s seat, retaining the stock door handles, if I had enough occasion to pick up passengers at shows and cruise nights though.

  8. Kenneth Carney

    @KCJohn:. Don’t forget that Robert Blake drove one on Barretta too. And I
    agree wholeheartedly with all those that
    would fly in and drive this car home. As
    for me, I’ve got space under my carport
    but no cash to pull the trigger. Just got
    done spending 13K to redo my MILs
    house.

    Like 3
    • JoeNYWF64

      I can not understand for the life of me why “Baretta” was rerun only very rarely & never on broadcast tv channels.
      & THE most important tv show of all IMO, “Room 222”, has never been repeated at all!
      They were on for 4 & 5 seasons yet.

      • Steve R

        Because he was arrested for murder, though aquited, he was later found responsible in a civil trial. There was extensive news coverage, he came across in a manner similar to OJ, he sounded guilty as hell, but beat the criminal prosecution. After that, no tv station or streaming service wanted to broadcast his shows, why would they.

        Steve R

        Like 1
  9. Utes

    Speaking of Robert Blake…you haven’t lived until you’ve watched “ElectroGlide In Blue!” RENT IT!

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