Between 1966 and 1969, the L78 396 Turbo-Jet engine was the most
powerful "Regular Production Option" engine available in the
Chevelle. The Camaro didn't even get this motor until '67. That
engine, plus factory correct paint, code R-R, and interior, code
761-A, make this a highly collectible muscle car.
Let's start by talking about how great the rest of this car is for a minute, and get back to that motor a bit later. A '66 Chevelle is considered by many people to be the best-looking muscle car of all time and you can see that that the fit and finish on this particular car is outstanding by the way the light reflects off the body lines. Flanked by 4 headlights, an SS 396 emblem in the grill leads the way, and is topped by a unique louvred hood, concealing the prize inside. Graceful curves flow down the length of the car leading to the Super Sport script that is actually spelled out on the rear fenders. A rectangular black panel between the tail-lights spells out Chevelle SS 396, which is echoed in the rectangles of the back window and bumper, for a really neat and clean look. Red Line tires on red steel rims with Chevy wheel centers are a sweet combination on this car and complete the look.
The rectangular theme continues in the interior which lends a rock-solid look and feel to it. Open the door and you will see this in the door panel and the panels sewn into the seats. Sit in that seat, grab that two spoke wooden steering wheel, and check out the dash. The central gauge cluster is dominated by the speedo with fuel and battery gauges to the left of it and temp and oil gauges to the right. An old school tach is mounted next to the steering column and switches are within easy reach along the top edge of the dash with the radio and ventilation controls in the center. Keeping with the simple but effective theme of this car, a Hurst 4 speed shifter for the manual transmission resides, unconfined by consoles, in the center of the floor. The nice sized trunk in this car means that you can load up whatever you might need, for wherever you might like to go.
Now back to the motor in this car. Open the hood and you will notice a very neat, clean, and stock, engine compartment. The engine itself was a new design, developed to replace the Y series big blocks, and was introduced at the 1963 Daytona 500 as the Mark II. By 1965 it was in production street cars rated at 425HP. It's a little unclear about why the power output rating for '66 was changed to 375 HP, even though no changes were made to the engine, or power output, for '66. Hmmm? The important thing though, is that the Chevelle was the only intermediate line car to receive this engine for '66. That makes it pretty exclusive. The rest of the drivetrain on this car is solid too. A Muncie 4-speed transmission sends the power back to a 12-bolt rear end. Coil springs front and rear hold the car up off those Red Line tires giving the car just the right amount of rake and good handling.
Make a point of coming on down and checking this car out. It probably won't stick around long.
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