Review of the
When it comes to classic cars I have always had a soft
spot of big, wide and finned American cars from the period 1957-1962.
And indeed they are big with fantastic fins. They also come from a time
where the two or even tri-tone color combinations where in fashion.
So how will a midsize non finned car from 1966 fit in that equation will
some ask? Yes Ill will admit this Chevrolet Chevelle 396 SS at first
glance is a misfit placement in the above époque. But to understand the
evolvement from the finned cars to the dawn of the muscle cars there
were only a few years between the new trends among the youth of the
potential buyers in the early sixties. The idea of mixing a sporty
looking car with a heavy performance car was not new, just look at the
Impala/Galaxie war. One thing for sure the game changer was the Ford
Mustang 1964 the car that sat the benchmark for years to come and
remember; Chevrolet was caught with their pants down, as the Camaro
first came as soon as 1967.
Therefore the Chevrolet Chevelle 396 SS is a vital example of the cars
that filled the gabs between the old and new style in these years.
Auto World / Ertl have been a producer of fine model cars with a special
attention to the race and muscle car segment. And they have done it with
great result, as the fans are many. The best models from Auto World are
compelling or better than Sun Stars in some cases, but they also make
models with lower details and fewer real chrome trims (just as Sun Stars
as well) But Auto Worlds best models is one of the best models out there
for the money! – So an intensive research of pictures, on the net,
before the purchase is recommended.
When I do an ordinary review of a model, I always try to first enhance
the pros and then call out the cons and hereafter give a fair judgment
of detail richness contra price. I can do it too with this model, but
let’s try something different here: What do I not like?
Actually there is not much I don’t like on this model! If we look at the
four fenders they all have emblem that are tampon printed in great
details, but I had whished they were metal etched just like on the Sun
Stars Platinum series. On the rear a big Chevelle emblem is molded and
painted silver – It will have been great if it also were etched metal.
The taillight have nicely painted red and white lenses that looks very
realistic, but imagine if they have been in real colored
All other and I mean ALL other things is perfect! Often underneath model
cars, the details of other makers are so and so, but on the models from
Auto World you get real red primer coat paint, a drive shaft with small
painted balance rings on it …and it turns when the back wheels is
turning! This is a feature that signals the makers of this model do
Take a look at the interior - Wow what an interior. I bought this model
for the interior alone! The colors, the material and the attention of
details are breathtaking. Even the glove compartment can be opened….but
the turnkey is missing! But hey – you get seatbelts and moving backrest
on the front bucket seats. If you have the patience of studying the
interior in detail you can surely spent some joyfully hours here.
All doors and lids are matching perfect and they fit like a hand in
glove. If you preferences lay in engines, just look at this miniature
375Hp 396 cu/in Turbo-Jet big block, from Chevrolet. All the wires and
stickers are here. And the party is not over yet, as the trunk has all
the bells and whistles you can hope fore: Carpet, jacks, wheels and
stickers inside the deck lid. I could go on and on, but you get the
picture I really like this model from Auto World and I promise you will
be amazed how good this 1:18 scale Chevrolet Chevelle 396 SS is.
In 1966 Chevrolet had a slogan that sill can be used on this
model…..”Most popular value of its size”
I will give this model
6 out of 6 stars ******
Below here are pictures of the model,
historical description, old brochures, technical data and some movie clips for
the real car. So please enjoy!
1966 Chevelle SS396 - America's Musclecar
For generations of Bow Tie lovers, the 1966 SS396 was
their first ride
by Paul Zazarine.
When baby boomers born in the 1950s got their driver's licenses, many of
them wanted a 1957 Chevy. Nothing represented "cool" better than a '57,
regardless if it was a top of the line Bel Air, a Nomad or a humble 210.
They were cheap, easy to work on, and there was nothing to dropping a
327 in place of a tired Stovebolt or an anemic 283. Add a Duntov cam and
lifters, bolt on a four-barrel carb and intake, and a set of headers to
make that '57 would howl. Ripping the bolt action three-speed off the
column in favor of a Hurst floor shifter, adding a set of Cragars and a
radio, and cruising Main Street on Saturday night looking for some stop
light action was as good as it got.
Those born 10 years later found their own version of the '57 Chevy. It
also wore a bow tie, but came in a more potent package. It was the 1966
SS396 Chevelle, and over the years it has become America's favorite
muscle car. After all, wasn't it all about "baseball, hot dogs, apple
pie and Chevrolet"?
Like the '57 Chevy, a used '66 SS396 was inexpensive (the base price for
a new SS396 was just $2,276 for the coupe). They were plentiful;
Chevrolet built 66,843 SS396 hardtops and 5,429 convertibles (which base
priced at $2,964). And they were powerful. The standard engine was the
L35 325hp 396-cid engine. Two other 396s were offered that year, the L34
396 that produced 360 hp and the iron-head L78, rated at 375 hp and a
bargain at just $236.
Countless numbers of Chevy gear heads cut their teeth on a second-hand
'66 SS396. By the time these cars were hitting used car lots, many had
been unmercifully beat on by their first owners. That didn't matter to a
16 year old with enough bread to buy a tired SS396. To him, it was a
diamond in the rough, and he had already planned a hundred different
ways to build it. The big-block was a ready-made powerhouse that lent
itself to modification. The fact it had lousy gas mileage wasn't
important; at 24.9 cents a gallon, you could cruise all night on $5 of
Since most SS396s were equipped with the 325hp base engine, the first
thing that went in the trash was the black single snorkel air cleaner in
favor of an open element with chrome lid. The Rochester Q-Jet also went
south, replaced by a huge Holley jug. When the budget allowed, a set of
headers and pipes were next. Crane cut a lot of different cam grinds,
and your choice wasn't determined as much technically as you just liked
the "rumpity rump" sound of a high-lift cam.
Finally, a set of wide Mickey Thompsons on the rear with chrome reverse
wheels all around were essential for street racing. To clear the big M/T
meats, a set of air shocks was required. That gave your SS396 a mean
rake. It wasn't very sophisticated, and you took a serious bounce over
speed bumps, but the Mickey's could really hook up.
The 396 engine had been released in mid-1965 to replace the old "W" head
409. The bottom end was beefy, and, with a bore and stroke of
4.094x3.76, it had gobs of torque way past its peak of 410 lb-ft at 3200
rpm. The base L35 had drop-forged steel rods and a cast nodular
crankshaft. The heads sported 2.06-inch intake and 1.715-inch exhaust
valves with 1.70 rockers and a hydraulic camshaft ground with 322* of
intake and exhaust and an overlap of 95*. Because of the valve's splayed
position in the head, the 396 was nicknamed the "Porcupine." That
unusual valve arrangement; positioned the intake valves at a 26* angle
to the bore, while the exhaust angle was 17*. -This provided better gas
flow, since the ports benefited from a larger radius turn and was not
siamesed. Either a Holley four-barrel or the new Rochester Quadra-Jet
was mounted on a cast-iron intake manifold.
The introduction of the 396 placed Chevrolet right in the thick of the
growing muscle car wars, however it was only available in the big Chevy
and the Corvette. Chevelle fans eager to get their hands on a 396 to go
GTO hunting would have to wait. To showcase what was coming for 1966,
Chevrolet dropped the 396 into a specially equipped 1965 Chevelle and
named it the Z16. Officially designated the "Chevelle Special Equipment
Option," the Z16 was powered by a 375hp version of the 396. Unmodified,
the Z16 could run the quarter in the high 14 seconds zone at 98 mph.
And, as Popular Hot Rodding magazine noted, "This car will turn 105 with
low 13 second est.’s by incorporating some of the standard drag strip
tuning tricks such as slicks, jetting, headers and lower rear-end gears."
The Z16 was more than just an engine transplant. It was a complete
supercar package, with chassis upgrades, bigger brakes and beefier
suspension. Inside, an AM/FM with stereo multiplex was included, along
with a special 160-mph speedometer and upgraded interior. The Z16 wasn't
cheap. It added $1,501 to the Malibu's base price of $2,590, but it
demonstrated that Chevrolet could engineer the ultimate muscle car that
could accelerate, handle, corner and stop better than any car short of
the Corvette. Chevrolet built only 201 Z16s, and most of these cars
found their way into the hands of celebrities and VIPs. It set the stage
for the 1966 SS396.
When the 1966 SS396 hit the showrooms with its new styling and handsome
bucket seat interior, buyers also found a long list of options to choose
from. Street freaks opted for the 360hp version, matched to a Muncie M21
close ratio four-speed transmission and 4.11:1 Posi rear. Right out of
the box, the 360hp SS396 ran in the mid 14s. Popular Hot Rodding
magazine coaxed 14.42/100.22 mph out of a L34 four-speed SS396 in their
June 1966 issue. In C/Stock racing, SS396s would clean house at drag
strips all across the country.
Some buyers chose to go the other direction, and build a luxury sport
sedan with plenty of muscle. That's how Rick Treworgy's Madeira Maroon
SS396 is dressed. Starting with the L35 396, it's equipped with a
four-speed transmission, air conditioning, gauge package, "knee-knocker"
tachometer, console, wood wheel, power windows, power steering, power
brakes, four-way hazard flasher and AM/FM radio (the rally wheels were
added later and were not offered in 1966). For less than $3,500 sticker
price, this combination made for an outstanding sport touring sedan that
could reduce GTOs to rubble.
Regardless of how it was equipped, the 1966 SS396 was the first
big-block Chevelle that would launch a legacy of affordable performance.
From street racer to luxury cruiser, the SS396 could be custom tailored
to just about anyone's desires. And when original owners finally traded
in their well-worn '66 SS396s, there was a long line of young hot shoes
ready to shell out money for a chance to own America's muscle car.
Chevelle SS wasn't truly brought to market until 1966, when those
classic forward-thrusting front fenders, special wheel covers, red-line
tires and black-out grill were added to show off the car's bold new
look. The 1966 Chevelle SS 396 was only produced in about short numbers,
highly prized today. In fact, the high end of resale has gone from
$28,000 to $369,000 in the last decade alone.
Chevrolet Chevelle SS-396 Sport Coupe 375-hp 4-speed
close (man. 4) , model year 1966, version for North America U.S.
2-door coupe body type
RWD (rear-wheel drive), manual 4-speed gearbox
Characteristic dimensions: outside length: 5004 mm / 197 in, width: 1905
mm / 75 in, wheelbase: 2921 mm / 115 in
Reference weights: base curb weight: 1595 kg / 3516 lbs
Gasoline (petrol) Turbo-Jet engine with displacement: 6489 cm3 / 396
cui, advertised power: 279.5 kW / 375 hp / 380 PS ( SAE gross ), torque:
570 Nm / 420 lb-ft.
Top speed: 224 km/h (139 mph)
Accelerations: 0- 60 mph 5.5© s; 0- 100 km/h 5.8s
Fuel consumption and mileage: average estimated 22.1 l/100km / 12.8 mpg
(imp.) / 10.7 mpg (U.S.) / 4.5 km/l
Number built: 72,300 (all Chevelle's 1966)