When introduced in 1964, the Chevelle was intended to compete with the mid-sized Ford Fairlane. It was also no accident hat the Chevelle shared the same 115-inch wheelbase with the tri-five Chevys of the past, whose size and model lineup had proved wildly popular.
The first two model years offered a Super Sport option with unique trim, badging, a bucket seat interior with floor console and gauge pack. All were based on 2-door deluxe Malibu coupes or convertibles. In 1966, the SS396 became a model on its own, rather than an option.
While the SS 396 coupes and convertibles used the new 1966 Malibu sheet metal, they were built on reinforced frames with an updated front suspension using higher-rate springs, re-calibrated shock absorbers and a heavier front sway bar. Visual distinction came from adding a simulated hood scoop, red line tires and unique exterior trim.
With it’s own line of engines, the 396cui V8s were available in versions delivering 325 (L35), 360 (L34) or 375 (L78) horsepower in 1966. With slightly more torque, the L35 was often favored by street performance enthusiasts, particularly when hooked into the close ratio Muncie 4-speed and 4:11 rear gears.
The compression ratio was 10.25:1. Straight from the factory, this combination would turn mid-14′s at the drag track and take on all contenders in C/Stock competition.
The SS396 was available through the 1968 model year, when it reverted to being an option package once again. The unique roof line of the current example, however, was only available for the 1966 and 1967 model years.
Coming up for auction in July, this numbers matching car is fitted with the 396/360, 4-speed combo that was hard to beat back in the day. With just 78,484 miles on the odometer, the car has undergone a fully documented, frame off restoration and is ready for its new owner.
That opportunity will arrive with the Muscle Cars & More Auction by Mecum in Des Moines, IA. Taking place on July 15-16, 2011 at the Iowa State Fairgrounds, an additional 500 collector vehicles are expected to be available at the event.