Were you at a classic car show this past summer and walked past a mid-60s Stingray mobbed by avid collector car enthusiasts? It looked much like the other Vettes with their hoods up. What made that one so special? It was a 1966 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray 427 that hid an engineering marvel under its sculpted hood.
Sexy Stingray Styling in a Serious Sports Car
The first thing that grabs anybody’s eye when you pass a Corvette Stingray are those impossibly long fenders that blend into a body built for speed.
The 1966 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray represented just the fourth year of the Stingray design. The first Corvette Stingray appeared in 1959 as a concept car brought to life by engineers Pete Brock and Larry Shinoda. Its long angular nose demonstrated a clear departure from the round Corvette SS and its hungry grille produced in the mid-50s.
The ’59 Corvette Stingray immediately saw success at the track, scoring an SCCA championship in 1960. This encouraged the office at GM to add its standout looks to the 1963 introduction of the C2 Corvette. Tweaks to the overall appearance culminated in the classic ’66 Vette sold as a coupe or the convertible.
Drivers enjoyed the linear beauty and bold performance of a Chevy racing machine while also being treated to a nicely appointed interior. But what really made this ride sing was the introduction of its big-block motor.
The 427 V8 Engine: Blowing the Socks off the Competition
The big-block Turbo-Jet 427 engine set a whole new standard for muscle cars. While the 1965 Corvette sported an impressive 327 engine producing 375 horsepower and 350 lb-ft. of torque, the new 427 changed the game.
Not only did the 427 increase the bhp up to 425, it also kicked up the torque to 465 lb-ft. at 4,000 rpm. Its unbridled power pushed the driver back into their seat and kept them there as they worked the available four-speed manual transmission. From a dead stop, it could reach 60 mph in just 4.8 seconds. It easily screamed past highway cruising speeds and could attain up to 140 mph on a straightaway.
How did it attain such insane numbers? Large manifold intakes, an 11.0:1 compression ratio, and unique camshaft with mechanical lifters eased its path toward glory. Finally, the introduction of a four-wheel independent performance suspension and front and rear disc brakes supported all that unholy power.
A Muscle Car Built for the Track and the Interstate
Even as it rolled off the production line, the 1966 Chevrolet Corvette was destined to become a true collector car. As such, it is trimmed out for long drives along the coast or fun afternoons at a local road course.
As a convertible, its manual folding top was sold in black, beige, or white to complement 10 exterior colour options including the iconic white with blue stripes. Vinyl seats could be switched for leather in your colour of choice. Heat and defroster were standard, as were crank-operated front vent windows. There is a surprising amount of storage space behind the seats, nearly 10 cubic feet! That is unless you selected the 36-gallon gas tank needed for cross-country road rallies. A hidden underfloor compartment provides a secure spot for valuables.
Instrumentation leaned toward the functional rather than elegant. The tach and speedometer take pride of place, sitting top and centre on the dash. The oil pressure gauge runs to 80 lbs, 20 more than the smaller 327 V8 package. Chrome accents interior and exterior touch points for that polished appearance.
Whether you bought one back in the day or as a recent purchase for your car collection, its timeless appearance still speaks of speed and performance.
The ’66 Corvette Stingray 427: A True Gem on Today’s Auction Block
While the 1963 Stingray may be the most desirable classic Chevrolet model, the 1966 Corvette Stingray 427 is the one created to fuel the speed demon inside every car lover. The highest sale price for the 427 at auction so far was $159,500 in 2018. There are usually only about 100 of these rare beauties on the market in any given year, so this will be something of an Easter egg hunt.
If you are thinking about adding one to your 1960s collector car garage, expect to spend an average of about $90,000. The cost is significantly higher than other 60s Stingrays as the 427 engine was only sold in a limited number of cars. Still, for the opportunity to drive a carefully honed racing machine built before Detroit turned to more fuel efficient engines, it will be worth every penny.