1966 Chevy Nova SS Is a Sleeper With Enough Power To Kick the Detroit Out of Muscle Cars

In the mid-sixties, not all Detroit cars with muscle car aspirations aimed to make a visual statement. Some opted for an unassuming appearance, blending seamlessly with average Joe’s daily drivers. Among these inconspicuous performers, the 1966 Chevrolet Chevy II Nova Super Sport stands out, discreetly concealing one of GM’s legendary small-block engines—the 327 cubic-inch (5.4-liter) L79 V8.

With just 3,547 units produced out of over 172,000 Nova cars in total, the 1966 Chevy Nova SS emerges as a remarkable gem among its contemporaries. Yet, it remains modest in its presentation, lacking flashy decals, oversized script, or ostentatious trims that would distinguish it from the crowd.

Only a few discreet elements differentiate the Nova SS from its non-performance counterparts. Two SS badges on the grille and trunk, Super Sport scripts on the rear fenders, and 327 V8 flags behind the front wheels offer subtle external cues of its special nature.

From a distance, it can be easily mistaken for a regular 1966 two-door X-body, equipped with a straight-six or even a modest inline-four engine. However, when the pedal hits the metal, the Nova SS reveals its true character. The 327-ci L79 engine boasted one of the highest horsepower-per-cubic-inch ratios (1.07:1) among American V8 engines of its time. With a compression ratio of 10.5:1, forged pistons, and an aluminum intake manifold, the SS held its ground against larger-displacement muscle cars.

The 1966 Chevy Nova SS came equipped with a high-output 350 horsepower (355 PS) and 360 lb-ft (488 Nm) of torque. The only available transmission option for the L79 Nova SS was a close-ratio four-speed manual, delivering exhilarating acceleration with quarter-mile times in the low 15-second range. Interestingly, the 1966 Chevy II SS equipped with the potent 350 engine did not bear the “Nova” name on its exterior badging, but sales brochures clarified its true identity.

The distinguishable L79 engine, characterized by its opposed snorkels on the air cleaner cover, was only offered for a single year, making surviving examples a rarity. Today, nearly six decades later, one of the pioneering factory muscle cars to emerge from Detroit’s horsepower wars is seeking a new owner. Remarkably, the car has had a well-documented history, with its first owner retaining ownership from July 7, 1966, until 1996.

This Nova SS proudly retains its factory-installed V8 engine, with matching numbers, paired with the M21 Rock Crusher transmission and a 3.31 12-bolt Positive-Traction rear end. The interior remains original, and although the Aztec Bronze shade received a refresh in 1998, it still exudes an authentic period charm.

Driven with enthusiasm, the car’s odometer proudly displays a road record of 125,307 miles (201,619 km). Encouragingly, the vehicle has been spared from any major incidents, as evidenced by the untouched original spare wheel and jack found in the trunk, attested by the seller.

Currently residing in Massachusetts, the car comes with a transferrable Rhode Island title. With a highest bid of $37,500, the reserve meter bar has yet to surpass the halfway mark to meet the reserve, leaving three days of bidding remaining.

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