The 1966 Chevrolet Nova SS was more masculine than the decidedly unthreatening original. The SS package was a $159 option and included Strato-bucket front seats with a console when the optional four-speed manual or Powerglide was ordered.
SS models could be had with six-cylinder engines of 120-or 140-horsepower, though the 220-horsepower four-barrel 283 was more in keeping with the car’s character. A new 275-horsepower version of the 327 with a new four-barrel carb and a revised spark advance curve replaced the previous 250-and 300-horse variants. It was capable of ETs in the low-16s.
To hard-core muscle fans, however, the real news was Chevy’s decision to offer the Chevy II with the 350-horsepower 327. This was the 11.0:1-compression L79 engine, first found in ’65 Chevelles. It would shoot the 3000-pound Chevy II through the quarter in the high 14s.
“The 350-hp 327 in approximately Corvette tune, dropped into a Chevy II, didn’t have the juke-box magic of a 409 or a 427. Still, that combination made for one of the sneakiest muscle cars ever built,” remembers Patrick Bedard, writing of his top-10 all-time muscle cars in the January 1990 issue of Car and Driver.
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- Muscle Cars: Get information on more than 100 tough-guy rides.
- How Muscle Cars Work: Learn about the complete history of muscle cars, from the classic period in the 1960s to today.
- Chevy Muscle Cars: Find out about more great Chevy muscle cars.
- 1967 Chevrolet Nova SS: Learn about this exciting Chevy muscle car.
- 1969 Chevrolet Nova SS: Get the lowdown on the '69 Nova SS.