1966 Chevelle SS
The 1966 Chevelle SS is a classic of the muscle car era in American automotive history. While Chevy’s Chevelle came out in 1964 to compete with the Ford Fairlane, it quickly became one of the brand’s best sellers. The key to the car’s success was in the versatility. The Chevelle was a mid-sized car that appealed to many and included body styles from coupes to sedans to wagons and convertibles. Trim levels included the Laguna and upscale Malibu, and when the latter also included the Super Sport package, a classic muscle car was born.
When the Chevelle came out in 1964, the muscle cars were just beginning to test their wheels on the street. The Pontiac GTO proved immensely popular, and Chevy wanted to be able to compete with its sister brand. The Malibu SS of 1964 and 1965 included bigger engines and more performance-oriented elements than the base models, but they still could not quite match the power of the GTO or the Oldsmobile Cutlass 442. Chevy’s answer was the 1966 Chevelle SS with a big block engine.
The 1966 Chevelle SS 396 housed a 396-cubic inch big block V8, an exciting addition compared to its predecessors’ 283 and 327 engines. Along with the big engine, the 1966 Chevelle SS 396, which was a package available on the two-door sport coupe and the convertible, included a heavy-duty suspension with recalibrated shocks and high-rated springs. The frames were reinforced, the hood came with simulated air scoops, the tires included a red stripe, and the body had more chrome trim.
The General Motors rule-breaking 396 engine of the 1966 Chevelle SS could be had at three different horsepower levels: 325, 360, and 375. In spite of the powerful engine, the car has its detractors who criticize the standard brakes and the suspension, which many believed was no different from that on an ordinary Chevelle. In spite of the criticisms, the 1966 Chevelle SS was a reasonably-priced, comfortable, and highly drivable muscle car with the power to compete with the rest of the pack.