Big block engines dominated the Corvette story for 1966. They first appeared in April 1965 and as such had limited exposure. 1966 extended the big block Corvette story with the introduction of the legendary 427 cu. in. motors. They were bored and stroked versions of the 396 cu. in. 1965 big block motors and were available in two flavors: 390 hp (RPO L36, $181.20) and 425 hp (RPO L72, $312.85). The extra cost for the L72 was justified as it included four bolt mains, impact extruded aluminum pistons, a very aggressive camshaft, Holly 780 CFM carburetor mated to a aluminum intake and a free-flowing exhaust. The K66 transistorized ignition was a mandatory option with the L72.
There are reports that the L72 actually featured more horsepower than the 450 hp that was quoted. The specifications were downgraded to avoid undesirable backlash from safety legislation, but enthusiasts only had to read the magazine reviews to learn what was really going on.
1966 Chevrolet Corvette 427 fender emblemClose
Notification of the engine displacement appeared on the front fenders.
1966 Chevrolet Corvette Hood ScriptClose
Above: The Corvette script was revised to a more vertically elongated style for 1966. For 1966 only it appeared on the hood front driver's side in addition to the right rear.
1966 Corvette Disk Brake Brochure IllustrationClose
GM, per the 1966 brochure, was rightfully proud of the four wheel disk brakes which first appeared on the 1965 Corvette.
Corvette C2 seating was quite comfortable, definitely more so than the C1, and, some would argue, better than the early C3 seats.
1966 Corvette Engine and Transmission ChoicesClose
Drivetrain choices were nicely varied in 1966. Notice the number of axle ratios available, quite a contrast to later years when regulations would effectively limit the number of options. The "Not recommended for general driving" refers to the famous M22 "Rock Crusher" Muncie four speed transmission. The M22 was exceptionally strong but, due to its straighter cut gears, had an audible whine.
Zora Arkus Duntov With 1966 Chevrolet Corvette CoupeClose
Above: Zora Arkus Duntov, Corvette Chief Engineer, next to a 1966 Corvette, a highlight of his career.
1966 Chevrolet Corvette Teak Steering WheelClose
Above: Teak steering wheel was a handsome option (RPO N32, $47.40) that was first available in 1965.
Below: As in 1965, the "Bubble" hood signified a big block was lurking beneath.
1966 Chevrolet Corvette Big Block Bubble HoodClose
1966 Chevrolet Corvette Fuel Filler DoorClose
Above: Stylish emblem on the rear deck also functioned as a lid for fuel fill-up access.
1966 Chevrolet Corvette in Nassau BlueClose
1966 Chevrolet Corvette Window StickerClose
Above: Sample 1966 Corvette window sticker. A price of $5308.90 might seem like an amazing bargain these days, but in 1966 it was big $$$ and almost three times the price of an economy car.
1966 Chevrolet Corvette in Ermine WhiteClose
1966 Chevrolet Corvette GM PhotoClose
1966 Corvette Options