Here’s the story behind the 1966 Corvette that was originally thought to be the end of an era. If you’re looking for one, we have some history and specifications for you. Cheers and Happy Hunting!
Hey Corvette Fans, we have the story behind the 1966 Corvette.
For Corvette enthusiasts, the 66’ model was one of their most loved years. Produced between Sept. 1965 and July 1966 at the St. Louis Assembly Plant in Missouri. They sold 27,720 units that year alone – a total up by 4200 over 1965’s numbers.
The ’66 was originally thought to be the end of an era but Chevrolet opted to continue production of the Sting Ray because they feared disappointing their customers with a lack of good quality control among other reasons (more on that later).
To learn more about what was happening in ’66 and how it influenced America’s most iconic sports car please read this guide on the ’66 history which will give you all you need to know before starting your own search for one!
What happened around 1966
The Vietnam War continued in 1966 and inflation grew. In addition, the Soviet Union and America continued their space race to land a man on the moon first. Race riots across America reached new heights and American National Guards were called in to restore peace and order.
In the pop culture of 1966, clothes reflected both American and British influences from cities such as London (Carnaby Street). Men wore patterned pants while women donned floral skirts which matched with patterned tops or tights. The new fashion trend – miniskirts – appeared for the first time during this year which saw an influx of plaids, stripes, polka dots, and gingham patterns.
Popular musicians of this era included The Beach Boys, Rolling Stones, and Beatles.
The changes in 1966 Corvettes
Small changes marked this model year for the new Chevrolet Corvette. The front end featured a decorative grill and there were some small aesthetic updates all around. This included chrome-plated exhaust bezels, spoke-style wheel covers, ribbed rocker panel moldings, and the removal of roof vents. 1966 marked the end of knock-off wheels and the introduction of shoulder harnesses and headrests. The engine on models with the 427 CID engine had a noticeable power bulge in its hood to show off just how strong it is. The 1966 Corvette was the first year to incorporate backup lights and tinted glass.
VIN numbers for this year range from 194376S100001 to 194376S127720 (For convertibles, the fourth digit is a 6).
The 1966 427 V8 Engine
General Motors management had decided that no car line smaller than a full-size vehicle could have an engine any larger than 400 cubic inches.
But with the two-seat Cobra having a 427 V8 they changed their minds. Management now felt it would need a 427 cubic inch engine to compete. General Motors had overwhelming success with the 427 Sting Ray so perhaps it was an easy decision due to Carol Shelby’s competition. So, the 1966 Corvette would continue to feature big-block engines. When Chevrolet released its latest model for 1966, its new engine size was no longer a 396, but now it was the bigger 427 instead. Even though this new size only has 0 difference in horsepower, the torque has increased tremendously! It went from 415 pounds per foot of torque (at 4000 RPMs) to 465 pounds per foot of torque (at the same RPM). Engineers said that they were inspired by the thought of making even lighter cars, which led them to think about ways they could cut weight out of already heavy metal.
1966 Corvette Options
In 1966, there were four different power plants for the Corvette. Standard was a powerful 300 horsepower 327 cubic inch engine, with optional upgrades 327ci – 350HP Engine, 427ci – 390HP Engine, and the 427ci – 425HP.
In addition to this expansive variety of engines, you could also purchase an optional 4-speed manual (optional), or the 2-speed Powerglide (optional); 1966 came with the 3-speed manual transmission.
There are many rare options that come with the Corvette. In 1966, there were only 15 models made with the M-22 heavy-duty close-ratio transmission. These cars became the predecessor to the world-renowned L-88 that came out in 1967 – arguably one of the most sought-after Corvette transmissions in history.
A few of the rare options were: A85 shoulder belts (37 produced), C48 heater and defroster deletion (54 produced), C60 air conditioning (2,138 in coupes/1,382 in convertibles produced), J56 special heavy-duty brakes (382 produced), N03 36-gallon fuel tank (66 produced), P48 cast aluminum knock-off wheels (1,194 produced), and 4.56:1 ratio rear end (91 produced).
AM-FM radios were the most popular options in ’66, which were installed in 95% of all 26,363 cars. They cost an average of $199.10 each but they lasted a long time – way longer than today’s technology.
1966 Corvette Color Choices
There are many different colors you can choose from when getting a Corvette in 1966: 1,190 cars were made in Tuxedo Black; 2,120 cars were made in Ermine White; 3,366 cars were made in Rally Red; 6,100 cars were made in Nassau Blue; 2,054 cars were made in Laguna Blue; 1,463 cars were made Trophy Blue; 2,967 cars were made Silver Pearl, and 3,799 was the number of Milano Maroon. Eleven Corvette owners picked no standard color or primer.
1966 Corvette Specifications
Below are the 1966 Corvette options and option codes, production figures, original “window sticker” prices, and details.
Source: Corvette Black Book
For more specifications, you can order the Corvette Black Book HERE
RPO# DESCRIPTION QUANTITY $ RETAIL 19437 Base Corvette Sport Coupe 9,958 4,295 19467 Base Corvette Convertible 17,762 4,084 —— Genuine Leather Seats 2,002 79.00 A01 Soft Ray Tinted Glass, all windows 11,859 15.80 A02 Soft Ray Tinted Glass, windshield 9,270 10.55 A31 Power Windows 4,562 57.95 A82 Headrests 1,033 42.15 A85 Shoulder Belts 37 26.35 C07 Auxillary Hardtop (convertible only) 8,463 231.75 C48 Heater and Defroster Deletion 54 -97.85 C60 Air Conditioning 3,520 412.90 F41 Special Front and Rear Suspension 2,705 36.90 G81 Positraction Rear Axle 24,056 42.15 J50 Power Brakes 5,464 42.15 J56 Special Heavy Duty Brakes 382 342.30 K19 Air Injection Reactor 2,380 44.75 K66 Transistor Ignition System 7,146 73.75 L36 427ci, 390hp Engine 5,116 181.20 L79 327ci, 350hp Engine 7,591 105.35 L72 427ci, 450hp/425hp Engine 5,258 312.85 M20 4-Speed Manual Transmission 10,837 184.35 M21 4-Speed Manual Transmission, close ratio 13,903 184.35 M22 4-Speed Manual Transmission, close ratio, hvy dty 15 237.00 M35 Powerglide Automatic Transmission 2,401 194.85 N03 36.5 Gallon Fuel Tank (coupes only) 66 198.05 N11 Off Road Exhaust System 2,795 36.90 N14 Side Mount Exhaust System 3,617 131.65 N32 Teakwood Steering Wheel 3,941 47.40 N36 Telescopic Steering Column 3,670 42.15 N40 Power Steering 5,611 94.80 P48 Cast Aluminum Knock-Off Wheels 1,194 316.00 P92 7.75×15 Whitewall Tires 17,969 31.30 T01 7.75×15 Goldwall Tires 5,557 46.55 U69 AM-FM Radio 26,363 199.10 V74 Traffic Hazard Lamp Switch 5,764 11.60
1966 Exterior Color Codes
1966 Corvette Interior Color Codes
|414||Bright Blue Vinyl|
|415||Bright Blue Leather|
|450||White and Blue Vinyl|
1966 Corvette Engine Suffix ID Numbers
|HD:||327ci, 350hp (air injection reactor, manual transmission)|
|HE:||327ci, 300hp (manual transmission)|
|HH:||327ci, 300hp (air injection reactor, manual transmission)|
|HO:||327ci, 300hp (automatic transmission)|
|HP:||327ci, 350hp (manual transmission, power steering)|
|HR:||327ci, 300hp (air injection reactor, automatic transmission)|
|HT:||327ci, 350hp (manual transmission)|
|IK:||427ci, 425hp (manual transmission)|
|IL:||427ci, 390hp (manual transmission)|
|IM:||427ci, 390hp (air injection reactor, manual transmission)|
|IP:||427ci, 425hpi450hp (manual transmission)|
|IQ:||427ci, 390hp (automatic transmission)|
|IR:||427ci, 390hp (air injection reactor, automatic transmission)|
|KH:||327ci, 350hp (air conditioning, air injection reactor, manual transmission, power steering)|
1966 Corvette Engine Block Numbers
3892657: 327ci, Ip (uu)
39D43’il: 427ci (Ip)
3855961: 427ci, ep (uu)
1966 Corvette Head
3782461: 327ci, 300hp,350hp
3873858: 427ci, 425hp
3872702: 427ci, 390hp
1966 Corvette Carburetor
Holley R3247 A #3886101: 427ci, 425hp
Holley R3367 A #3884505: 327ci, 300hp, 35llhp
Holley R3370A #3882835: 427ci, 390hp
Holley R3605A #3890499: 327ci, 300hp, 350lhp, ar
Holley R3606A #3892341: 427ci, 390hp, ar
1966 Corvette Distributor
1111093: 427ci, 425hp, ig
1111141: 427ci, 390hp
1111142: 427ci, 390hp, ig
1111153: 327ci, 300hp
1111156: 327ci, 350hp
1111157: 327ci, 350hp, ig
1967 Corvette Alternator
1100693: 327ci, 427ci
1100694: 327ci, 427ci, ac
1100696: 327ci, 427ci, ig
110750: 327ci, 427ci, ac, ig, uu
1966 Corvette Coupe “COPO Brass Hat Car” once owned by Joe Pike
Joe Pike, the former Chevrolet national sales manager, introduced many clubs relating to Corvettes such as NCCC (National Council of Corvette Clubs). He then went on to found GM’s Corvette News Magazine where he served as editor for 8 years before becoming inducted into the National Corvette Museum Hall of Fame. Moreover, it turns out he is one of Chevrolet’s most well-known ambassadors and certainly an asset when it comes to his contributions to his community.
You might also want to check out our blog post on the Mecum Kissimme Auction (2022). At the end of the post are the auction results. There were 19 1966 Corvettes that went across the auction block. CLICK HERE FOR THE AUCTION RESULTS
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