Unwrapping the 1966 Chevrolet Nova SS: A Blast from the Past with Rare L79 V8

Chevrolet

Let’s Time-Travel to the Birth of American Compact Cars

Back in 1950, the Nash Rambler marked the beginning of American compact cars, but it took almost ten years for big names like Ford, Plymouth, and Chevrolet to join the compact car scene.

In 1959, Ford brought out the Falcon, Plymouth unveiled the Valiant, and Chevrolet introduced the Corvair, known for its unique rear-engined design.

Even though the Corvair made its debut, the Falcon outsold it in 1960. Recognizing the need for a front-engined compact,

Chevrolet quickly responded by introducing the Chevy II Nova in August 1961, just 18 months after making the decision.

The Evolution of Muscle: Nova’s Journey into Performance

At first, the Nova wasn’t all about performance and muscle. It wasn’t until 1964, with the emergence of the Chevelle, that the Nova got its V8 engine.

But by the end of the 1960s, the Chevy II had transformed into a muscle car, thanks to the powerful 396-cubic-inch (6.5-liter) V8.

The turning point came in 1968 when the SS trim became a full-on performance package. This package included a V8 engine in two configurations, delivering 350 and 375 horsepower, respectively.

However, even before the 1968 Nova, the 1966 second-gen model introduced the 327-cubic-inch (5.4-liter) L79, a small-block V8 producing 350 horsepower.

The Hidden Rarity: L79-powered 1966 Nova SS

The 327-cubic-inch L79, often overlooked compared to the SS 396, deserves more attention. It put the Nova SS in competition with strong rivals like the Pontiac GTO and Oldsmobile 442, even outpacing non-Shelby Ford Mustangs of its time.

The 1966 model, with its L79 engine, is considered one of the rarest Novas ever made.

In 1966, after a somewhat disappointing 1965 model year, the redesigned Chevy II sold 172,485 units, with nearly 21,000 in SS trim.

Out of these, 10,589 had the 327 V8. The high-performance 350-horsepower version of the small-block unit was limited to just 3,547 units, making surviving examples extremely rare in 2023.

A Survivor’s Story: The Tough 1966 Nova SS

Meet the black Nova SS, a lucky survivor that beat the odds. This Nova SS hasn’t been restored or changed and is among the few that have stayed in such fantastic condition over the years.

Unlike many found in barns, this Nova SS is not just a relic; it still works and is taken for a spin regularly.

Documented by YouTube’s “DezzysSpeedShop,” this L79 stands out for its subtlety. With a black exterior and a red interior, it doesn’t boast the flashy looks of a high-performance car. Instead, it proudly displays the scars earned through years of use.

Under the Hood: Numbers-Matching Excellence

The 327 V8 and the four-speed manual gearbox in this Nova SS are not just parts; they are treasures that match the original specifications. The engine not only matches its original specs but also makes an exciting sound as it sips gasoline.

For a close look at this rare gem, check out the exciting video below, as encounters with such remarkable survivors are few and far between.

Have you ever come across a vintage gem like the 1966 Chevrolet Nova SS L79? Share your thoughts and stories in the comments below! And don’t forget to watch the video for more cool automotive discoveries; share this piece of history with your family and friends.

Leave a Comment