You know we get a lot of A-body convertibles here at Streetside Classics, but this cool 1966 Chevrolet Chevelle SS 396 ragtop stands apart. Not chopped-up and customized, it's just clean, sleek, and packs a great-running big block to get some attention. A real SS with a high-end restoration: This is how to do it if you're going to build a pedigreed car that does everything well.
According to the cowl tag and VIN, this is a real code 138 SS396, and that same cowl tag also gives away the fact that this one was originally Marina Blue. That's good, because the slick finish on the car now not only looks fantastic but is also correct. The bodywork is nicely done, with nary a ripple or wave to be found, even on those big quarter panels which are notoriously difficult to get this straight. Note the subtle crease that runs from nose to tail; if the body isn't straight, that's where it will show up first, and on this car, it's razor-sharp. Looking at the reflections in our photo studio, you can see that someone spent a lot of time getting the paint right, and that same level of detail is found throughout, so the car makes a very good first impression that stands up to closer inspections. You'll also note correct 'Super Sport' badges used on the quarters, a proper SS tail panel, and a super clean SS396 grille up front. With the bright bumpers fore and aft, and brightwork as shiny as it was when the car rolled off the factory floor, the owner decided to darken things up and opted for a black convertible top and boot during the resto, and we love the combination. No detail was overlooked on this one.
The interior is spot-on correct, sporting a set of code 761 black vinyl benches front and rear. As nicely finished as the bodywork, the interior has quite a few new components that make it look crisp and upscale. The seats have handsome seat covers with bright trim and cool metal inserts on the seatbacks, while the door panels show crisp detailing that was a hallmark of GM in the '60s. The steering wheel is correct and in remarkably good shape, and a proper chrome shifter combines good looks with user-friendliness, beckoning the driver to open up that big block. Gauges are simple and the controls are basic (including a column-mounted tachometer), but the important things about cars like this weren't the frills, but the hardware underneath, and this one delivers. You'll note it also carries an upgraded AM/FM stereo in the factory housing. In back, the trunk is finished with proper spatter paint, a correct mat, and carries a full-sized spare tire.
The engine is a correct but not numbers-matching L35-spec 396 cubic inch big block dressed for battle in correct Chevy Orange paint. Against that satin black engine bay, the motor simply pops, thanks to a set of chrome big block valve covers and a correct open-element air cleaner with Turbo Jet decals on top. There's a Holley 4-barrel carburetor and aftermarket intake manifold that run the show up top, and everything is tidy and evident of careful maintenance and care. Stock-style manifolds feed a dual exhaust system with Flowmaster mufflers that dump to each side just after the rear tires. Power steering manage the corners with ease, and the quick-shifting 4-speed manual transmission and 12-bolt rear end are up to the task of having fun on the street. Rally wheels are all you want on a correct car like this and carry big 245/60/15 Uniroyal performance radials at all four corners.
Fast, fun, and handsome, this pretty blue SS396 will make a fabulous cruiser that will knock the crowd dead at the next local cruise-in, and you can drive it with confidence knowing that someone already sweated all the details. Call today!