Real Deal? 1966 Chevrolet Chevelle SS396 Convertible

Suspicions abound! Sure, an SS396 Chevelle is always an attention-getter but can be an even bigger one when it just doesn’t look quite right. Of course, with a car that is 55 years old, a lot can happen over the years so it’s important to be objective and probing, and that’s what we’ll do with this 1966 Chevrolet Chevelle SS396 convertible. It’s located in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and is available, here on eBay for a BIN price of $28,800. There is a make an offer option too.

The suspicions start with the general exterior. While the hood and the faux vents are correct, the SS badge in the grille isn’t correct (no 396 designation) and there are no 396 “Crossed Flag” emblems on the leading edge of the front fenders. There are four stud holes, however, and they appear to be properly aligned for that most distinctive emblem. The rear valance looks to be incorrect too with the single stainless strip bisecting the panel – that’s not proper. There is no SS396 badge present, though there are holes in the valance panel, on the passenger side, where that badge would normally reside. While the finish is in rough shape, the body is intact with no obvious signs of rust-through though a dent or two have manifested themselves over time. The wheel opening moldings are missing, though the seller states, “I DO HAVE CHROME STRIPS ECT” so that may be what he’s referencing. The convertible top shows to be in pretty fair condition and this Chevelle is wearing Impala SS wheel covers – not correct but they look pretty good and work well on this car.

Under the hood, we are treated to the sounds of silence. Engine options for ’66 included 325, 360, and 375 HP versions of Chevy’s 396 CI “Turbo-Jet” V8 engine but this example is a roller – no mo! And what was most recently parked between the fender wheels was a small-block V8 based on the lone, remaining exhaust header. This was a four-speed manual transmission-equipped car and the seller does have a transmission but he states that it’s a Saginaw gearbox, but a 396 Chevelle of this era would have employed a Muncie unit, hmmm. Another observation is the rear axle, and what can be spied appears to be a ten-bolt standard differential and an SS396 should employ the heavy-duty twelve bolt version, hmmm.

Check out that interior! The car’s a roller and so is the interior, it has been rolled with diamond pleating, both the seats and door panels! Curiously, the buckets have seatback release latches which weren’t introduced until 1967, they weren’t required in ’66. There is a manual transmission console in place and the seller advises that the driver’s side floor pan, as well as those in the trunk, have been replaced. That’s not such a surprise with a convertible, but it should point one to making a close inspection of the underside. And there are underside images included; nothing of a deleterious nature is visible.

So, what do we have? I’d like to see the actual VIN tag, but all we have is the trim tag that verifies this Chevelle as a genuine “138” SS396, built the fourth week of July in Baltimore – and the tag looks legit. It was typical, long ago, when this car, and we all, were a lot younger, that the 396 engine would spin a bearing or encounter some other mayhem and be replaced with a small block V8. And that may explain the missing SS396 emblems and engine callouts – a move to redefine the car. As for the transmission and differential, that’s harder to explain. So suspicions that abounded are probably just suspicions of a car that has undergone a lot of changes over time and nothing more than that. As for the price, I say GLWTS, what sez you?

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Comments

  1. Steve R

    If the tags started life with this car and are legitimate, so is the car. Period.

    Steve R

    Like 2
  2. jerry z

    Trim tag is 13867 which started life as a SS396 conv’t. It’s the real deal.

  3. Larry D

    The auction on ebay lists the VIN as 138676B186694, with the B indicating it having been built in Baltimore The trim tag is for a 13867 car, which is a Chevelle SS convertible and it shows it as body 3242 in Baltimore, where the VIN says the car was made. The trim tag indicates the original color as code C which would be Ermine White but that’s no big deal since someone probably changed the color to red. It’s hard to tell without a close inspection. I believe the grille AND grille emblem have been replaced, maybe due to a bump up since the original SS grille would have been black. I can see holes on the right side of the taillight panel which would indicate the SS 396 emblem having been placed there.

    But I think one main thing we need to look at is the placement of the Super Sport emblems on the quarter panels. People always get those in the wrong position when faking an SS. These look genuine to me.

    I tend to believe this car is a real Super Sport ’66 Chevelle.

    Like 6
  4. mh

    who cares… its a ten grand car at best

    Like 8
  5. john vititoe

    I could buy a true Super Sport ’66 Chevelle in perfect condition for 32,000
    You guys need to visit maple motors.

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