Muscle Car Spotlight – 1966 Chevrolet Chevelle SS 396

By Auto News Log • November 21st, 2009

Chevrolet’s “Super Sport” option package was first introduced for the 1961 Impala and soon spread to its other model offerings including the Chevelle, which began life in 1964. The 1966 model year saw the Chevelle take on its best looking body style, with its most-recognizable feature, the classic forward-thrusting front fenders. The Super Sport version also included special wheel covers, red-line tires, and a black-out grill which showed off the SS badging to further compliment its bold appearance.

Enginewise, the 396 was basically a de-stroked big-block 409, and was available in several configurations starting with the base-rated 325 hp version. The top option was the RPO L78 which was a mid-year release. Thanks to its 11.0:1 compression ratio, a hot cam, and other tweaks, this baby generated 375 hp at 5600 rpm, could go 0-60 in about 6.5 seconds and ran 14.5 second quarters. In 1966, Chevelle SS 396s with the L78 engine option numbered only about 100 units, and accordingly are highly prized today.


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