Marina Blue
Blue
396 V8
4 Speed Manual

A perennial favorite, cars like this 1966 Chevelle SS396 convertible are some of the best vintage cruisers you can buy. With plentiful parts, a thriving aftermarket, big horsepower, and full-sized comfort, they're an ideal combination of all the things guys look for when buying a vintage car. This one has been refinished to a very high standard, yet remains affordable and carries some cool options.

The original cowl tag is still intact, and most importantly tells us that this is indeed a real SS396 convertible:

03D Fourth week of March build date
7154 Sequence number
ST66 1966 model year
13867 Chevelle SS396 convertible
KAN Kansas City assembly plant
1023 Body number
763-B Black vinyl bucket seats
F Marina Blue
2 Black convertible top
W Tinted windshield
2MG Powerglide transmission with console
5Y Deluxe seat belt

Who doesn't love Marina Blue? It's vibrant, bold, and on this car, which has been finished in two-stage urethane, it practically glows on its own. The bodywork is well done, and those massive quarter panels are straight without losing that slight character line along the top edge, the mark of craftsmen who cared about doing it right. The big hood fits extremely well and opens easily, and the same can be said of the trunk. Both rear end caps are tightly fitted with tight gaps and almost perfect alignment, giving the back of the car a seamless appearance. After it was dry, the paint was color sanded and buffed to a very high shine, and there's no trace of orange peel or waviness in the finish today. And as a recent restoration, there's no road rash or other damage, making this a car that's ready to enjoy immediately.

All the correct SS trim has been fully restored and reinstalled, including the blacked-out tail panel, correct 'Super Sport' badges on the quarter panels, and a proper SS396 grille. The crossed flags and '396 Turbo-Jet' badges on the front fenders were a significant threat in 1966, and the stainless trim around the wheel wells has been straightened and polished. Both front and rear bumpers have been rechromed, along with the large bumper guards, and the ribbed rocker molding trim is beautifully finished.

The engine is a correct L35 396 cubic inch V8 making 325 horsepower, fully rebuilt and dressed for show. Nestled between the satin black fenders, the bright Chevy Orange engine looks brilliant, especially with the standard chrome valve covers and air cleaner lid—obviously Chevy knew their customers well and figured they'd be spending a lot of time showing off with the hood open. There's a lot of attention to detail, including proper reproduction decals, correct hoses and clamps, and correct finishes throughout. The engine spins to life easily and settles into a rumbling idle, and pulls like a freight train on the highway as only a big block can. Power steering and brakes make this one a pleasure to drive, and the car just goes about its business with an effortless feeling that's hard to describe but easy to appreciate.

The original Powerglide 2-speed automatic is long gone, replaced by a far more desirable Muncie 4-speed manual which feeds a heavy-duty 12-bolt rear end. The chassis is as nicely detailed as the engine bay, with satin black floors, rebuilt front and rear suspensions with correct finishes and identification tags, and a new dual exhaust system that replicates the original exactly. Power drum brakes at all four corners have been rebuilt with new lines, hoses, and cylinders, and the car tracks like a cruise missile at highway speeds. Four restored Rally wheels wear correct reproduction F70-15 Firestone redline tires.

The original specification was black vinyl, but during the restoration, it was changed to brilliant blue, and you certainly can't argue with the results. With the color change, you also know that every single component is new, including the seat covers, door panels, carpets, and even the soft parts of the dashboard. Beautifully fitted, the seats show no wear and expert installation and the carpets are still new thanks to a set of matching floor mats. Cool options include the “knee knocker” tachometer mounted down low on the dash, a tissue dispenser, as well as the gorgeous center console with integral clock that looks like some kind of racing stopwatch. The two-spoke woodgrained steering wheel is an unusual piece that you don't see very often, and all the standard gauges have been restored. The shifter has been suitably upgraded for the 4-speed, which also has a correct shift pattern badge fitted just to its right. A new white top has been fitted, which includes a crystal clear rear window and a matching blue boot. The trunk is finished correctly as well, with a new mat and full-size spare with fitted cover.

We sell a lot of cars here at RK Motors Charlotte, but few are as perennially popular as the Chevrolet Chevelle. Legitimate SS396 convertibles are unusual, and restoring any car to this level takes cubic dollars, making it a smart investment to buy a finished car like this. Upgrades like the 4-speed only make the car more desirable, and if you're looking for an awesome convertible to cruise in next summer, you'll scarcely be able to find one better suited to the job than this. A lot of car for not a lot of money.

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