1966 Chevelle Super Sport

  • 396/375 hp L78

  • 1 of 3099 produced

  • Original Dealership: Dick Flick Chevrolet - Charleston, South Carolina

  • 4th and current owner: Rob Sauer

  • Purchased: 1983

  • Engine: 396/375hp L78

  • Muncie 4 sp: M21

  • Rear End: 12 bolt posi 3:55 was a 4:10 originally

  • 1990: Completed first body off the frame restoration (4 year project)

  • 2016: Installed a factory code/date correct 66 396/375hp L-78 engine

This Chevelle SS has a rich history of drag racing early in it's life. The first owner blew up the original 396/375hp engine after putting a bigger cam in the block sometime back in 1967, he left the car back on the Dick Flick Chevrolet car lot where it sat for over a year before the 2nd owner came across the car and negotiated a price of $2050.00 dollars in May of 1968. For an additional $400.00 the dealership replaced the short block and heads from a cannibalized 65 corvette L78 425hp 396 thus "ending" the original factory configuration. After the 2nd owner picked up the SS in June of 68 he drag raced the car in Walterboro & Columbia SC in the "A" Stock class running in the mid 12's for about a year. In November of 1969 he retired from the Navy and drove the car out to to his hometown of Brewster, WA.

In February of 1970 the 2nd owner pulled out the corvette 425 hp 396 and sold it, then put in a 69 Camaro Z28 (DZ 302) engine and ran that until 1976/77. He then pulled the DZ 302 and installed a garden variety 327 engine and turned it into a grocery getter. That DZ 302 block is still sitting in his garage today. In 1977 the 3rd owner purchased the SS and drove the car in Brewster for a couple years. In 1979 he moved to Sacramento CA, and in late Sept of that year the car was stolen. Two months later the car was recovered in Galt California but the engine, original M21-4 speed, tires & rims were long gone. The only saving grace to this chapter is that the original interior & body parts (door's, fenders, hood and trunk lid) were luckily recovered with the car.

The SS sat in an apartment parking lot for another 4 years before I talked my buddy into selling me the car in June of 1983, we towed it up from Sacramento to Kirkland, WA. Shorty thereafter I got the car running with a stock 307 engine and drove it around for a couple years. In 1986 after nearly wrecking the car several times due to not understanding its limits I decided to do a full body off the frame restoration, this process took me about 4 years to complete including the addition of a 350 small block engine and front disc brakes.

Finding a 66 L78 in the early 90's was fairly difficult due to the way one had to research and buy from a reputable seller. Therefore I ran a few different Chevy small blocks engines over the years. In 2014 after I began seriously showing the car and with the occasional ribbing from my buddy (Mike Montgomery), I set out to search and find that correct 66 L78 396 engine. After scouring the Internet for nearly two years I finally obtained all the code/date correct factory GM parts including a true 66 L78 396 (3855962) "EG" stamped 375hp block. The engine was professionally built by Action Machine in Shoreline, WA. The engine was then taken to Preston Automotive in Sammamish, Washington and placed on their engine dyno for the initial break in procedure and fine tuned for a complete turn key setup. The 396 pulled 520hp with 450 foot pounds of torque @6200 RPM. The 396 L78 engine was installed into the car March of 2016.

David Mumm