Rolling Drop-Top: 1966 Chevrolet Chevelle SS 427

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Due to the growing popularity of the 1960s mid-size muscle cars, Chevrolet promoted the Chevelle SS 396 to series status in 1966. The 396 cubic inch V8 was standard and nothing bigger than that was officially installed in 1966 (except by dealers or under the COPO program). This ’66 convertible is a real-deal SS 396 per the VIN, but the original drivetrain was pulled long ago. A 427 is ready to go back in the car once you put it together. Located in May Landing, New Jersey, this Bow-Tie roller is available here on eBay where the current bid of $8,200 is below the seller’s reserve.

When this Chevy was new, it was one of 5,429 SS 396 convertibles to leave the assembly line in ’66. It came with a 4-speed manual transmission and was finished in Aztec Bronze paint with a black bench seat interior and canvas top. At some point in its supposed 47,700 miles, it lost its original drivetrain, whose factory presence can be verified by the car’s build sheet which has survived. The previous owner had planned to install a 5-speed Tremec tranny which we assume is somewhere in the photos of parts the seller provides.

As the story goes, this automobile has likely been in New Jersey since it was first sold 58 years ago. Since it won’t ever be numbers matching again, the seller purchased a 427 V8 to join the restoration party. But we’re not sure it’s all there although the block is photographed separately. To help with the car’s rebirth, the seller has two used front fenders to replace the rusted ones. Rust was and is a problem, so another frame was installed which had none of those issues.

If you were to buy this muscle car project, would you continue down the path with the seller’s 427 or locate a period correct 396 to finish the job? Likewise, you’ll probably have to dig up a Muncie 4-speed unless you like the idea of the proposed 5-speed. The Chevelle SS 396 was one of the best-selling performance cars of the 1960s and the 1966-68 editions are the only ones to be identified by their VIN.

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  1. ThisGuy

    The only real visual difference between a 396 and a 427 are the stickers….

    Just sayin’

    Like 5
    • Ronny Goff

      Two bolt pan vs Four bolt main pan..?
      Only a 375 horse and it didn’t have to be a L-78, there was an iron head rectangular port headed 375 horse motor with 11.00 to 1 slugs in it. But A. If it was a 375 horse rather than a 427 you were trying to ID, two bolt 396 and 427 back then had a two bolt pan on it. 5qts was pretty much it until 69 and up.

      Like 0
  2. Pat

    Column shifter stub? 4spd?

    Like 9
  3. Marshall

    Nice fixer upper. You will find that chunk of foam in the trunk with a momma and her baby’s asleeping in it.

    Like 2
  4. Greg G

    Excellent for a custom modified classic restomod. Just my opinion.

    Like 2
  5. Hammer

    It’s either 138 or 136 first three numbers in the vin I can’t recall which is correct but that’ll tell ya if it’s a true ss. But no Vin was posted. And a tree shifter ? That’ll be the first for me in a big block ss. Although the column seems to be a pieces parts thing going on. Oh well good luck to next owner

    Like 0
    • Norman K Wrensch

      vin is posted and it is a 138

      Like 1
  6. Hammer

    That’s odd I didn’t the Vin posted in the write up? Or did I miss it?

    Like 0
  7. Robert Atkinson, Jr.

    The question on the floor is: 396 or 427. My answer is: neither! Crate motor, here we come! I can’t decide if I want an LS, and LT, or a 572/632 big-block, though. The 632 is the only normally-aspirated engine available today with a rated power output that exceeds 1000 horsepower (1004 hp, to be exact).

    Like 0
  8. CB Frie

    Check to make sure the frame is “boxed”. SS convertibles had an extra crossmember to stiffen the chassis as well. With no sail or roof support, the chassis on SS models were beefed up. The 427 build-up would definitely be entertaining. Good Luck !

    Like 0
  9. Mark

    Have that same ss convert with the stock factory motor in Aztec bronze outside and interior with white top

    Like 3

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