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1966 C2 Chevrolet Corvette Model Guide

Specifications, VIN, Options, Performance, Recalls, & More

1966 Corvette Overview

With the 1966 Corvette arriving after General Motors’ recent, overwhelming success with the 427 Sting Ray, there was no question that the newest Corvette model would continue to feature big-block engines.

This turnabout in events was rather interesting, especially given GM management’s earlier decree that no car line smaller than a full-size model would carry an engine larger than 400 cubic inches.  Perhaps fortunately for Corvette, it was Carroll Shelby’s two-seat Cobra, which featured its own 427 cubic inch V8 engine that prompted the change of opinion.

Chevrolet now felt it would also need a 427 cubic inch engine, and it materialized for the 1966 model year.

Model: 1966 Corvette
Generation: C2 Corvette
Type: 2 Door Coupe/Convertible
Available Colors: Tuxedo Black, Ermine White, Rally Red, Nassau Blue, Laguna Blue, Trophy Blue, Mosport Green, Sunfire Yellow, Silver Pearl, Milano Maroon
Engine: 327ci – 350HP Engine,  427ci – 390HP Engine, 427ci – 425HP Engine
VIN: 194376S100001 – 194376S127720
Transmission: 3-speed manual (standard), 4-speed manual (optional), 2-speed Powerglide (optional)
Original Price: $4295.00 (Coupe), $4084.00 (Convertible)
Units Produced: 27,720
1953 Corvette 1966 Corvette Specs List
1966 Chevrolet Corvette Sting Ray Coupe — the second generation of the Corvette was produced from 1963 to 1967 and introduced the landmark “split rear window” styling

Although it was effectively a 396 cubic inch engine with a larger 4.25-inch bore, the new 427 big-block engine came in two forms: the relatively mild L36, which featured a hydraulic-cam and produced 390 horsepower on 10.25:1 compression, and the truly awesome L72, a 425 horsepower engine with 11:1 compression, larger intake valves, a bigger Holley four-barrel carburetor on an aluminum manifold, mechanical lifters, and four-hole (instead of two-hole) main bearing caps.

Though it had no more horsepower than the previously developed 396 cubic inch engine, the 427 did pack quite a bit more torque-460lbs/ft instead of 415.

Given the fact that, especially in the Sixties, engine outputs were sometimes deliberately understated, it is not unreasonable to assume that the output of these two engines was closer to 420 and 450 horsepower respectively.

There were limitations to ordering the big block 427 cubic inch engine.  First, it had to be ordered in combination with Positraction and the close-ratio Muncie four-speed transmission.  It also required that the Corvette was equipped with an upgraded suspension, similar to the setup on the 396 package.  Lastly, it required stouter, shot-peened half shafts and U-joints, as well as a higher-capacity radiator and sump.

DID YOU KNOW: The 427 cubic-inch engines were introduced in the 1966 model. Corvettes equipped with this type of engine received a special bubble hood first seen on the 1965 Corvettes equipped with the 396 cubic inch engine. Although initially listed as a 450hp engine, the solid lifter 427ci engine’s rating was later reduced to 425hp shortly after its introduction for reasons unknown. Similarly, the 390 horsepower engine was initially rated at 400 horsepower. When the official ratings were reduced, the decision to make this change was purely administrative and was not the result of any changes made to the engines.

The introduction of the big-block V-8 engine captured the imagination of Corvette consumers the world over, and in no time at all, the demand for big-blocks far surpassed those of the conventional 327 small block Chevy engine.

As a result, the small-block engine options were reduced from five to two for the 1966 model year, with only the 300-horsepower (L75) and 350-horsepower (L79) versions remaining available to prospective consumers.  Even amongst the earlier small-block options that had been available on earlier Corvettes, these two engines were arguably the best all-around engines.

Additionally, both could be paired with the Powerglide automatic, the standard three-speed manual, or either of the optional four-speed manual transmissions.

With the exception of the dramatic new lineup of engine choices, there was little else that was deemed “new” for the 1966 model year.

There were minor modifications made to the Corvette’s appearance.  For one, the Sting Ray’s front end was mildly altered with the introduction of an “egg-crate” grille insert which replaced the previously installed horizontal bars.

Restyled wheel covers were introduced along with an all-new rocker trim.  Also, the coupe lost its roof-mounted extractor vents, which had proven to be inefficient in earlier model years.

Lastly, less notable upgrades like the addition of “Corvette Sting Ray” scripts to the hood and the introduction of standard backup lights were introduced.

Likewise, the interior went largely unaltered from 1965.  The interior electric ventilation system was dropped (in conjunction with the aforementioned exterior vents), extra pleats were added to the Sting Ray’s bucket seats, chrome door pull handles were introduced, headrests were made optional, and a vinyl-covered foam headliner replaced the previously used fiberboard.

Given that these were amongst the only notable changes from 1965 to 1966, there was a good deal of reasonable speculation that an all-new Corvette was slated for 1967

Still, the lack of changes for the 1966 model year did not hurt Corvette’s popularity with consumers.  In fact, 1966 would prove to be another record-breaking year in Corvette sales, with volume rising to 27,720 units sold – an increase of more than 4,200 units over 1965’s sales of 23,562 units.

Consumers found that the new Corvette, especially one equipped with the 427 big-block, had all the refinement it needed.  The 427 Sting Ray was an astonishingly fast car, with 0-60 times of just 4.8 seconds, 0-100 mph times of 11.2 seconds, and a top speed of 140 miles per hour (when properly equipped with the short 4.11:1 gearing.)  Even in cars equipped with the somewhat less sensational 3.36:1 ratio, the Corvette was still able to run 0-60 times of 5.4 seconds with a standing quarter of 12.8 seconds at 112 miles per hour (source Car and Driver).

Impressive as those numbers were, the intent of the 427 cubic inch engine had been to meet the Shelby Cobra head-on and give it some staunch competition.  However, even despite the staggering horsepower and the impressive performance numbers, the fact remained that the Corvette was half a ton heavier than the Shelby Cobra so, even with the same horsepower rating, it was considered less than a threat.  Still, the Corvette did not go home empty-handed.  The Corvette still took a number of victories in endurance racing including Penske’s team’s 12th place overall in the GT class.

See full 1966 Corvette Image Gallery

See Also

C2 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967
Gen C1 C2 C3 C4 C5 C6 C7

1966 Corvette Specifications

See the complete breakdown of technical specifications for the 1966 Corvette, including engine, suspension, brakes, body dimensions, and power.

Read more: 1966 Corvette Specifications.

1966 Corvette Powertrain Specifications

Order Code Standard L79
Manufacturing Location Flint, Michigan Flint, Michigan
Type 90 degree V, Valve-In-Head 90 degree V, Valve-In-Head
Cylinders 8 8
Displacement (cid) 327 327
Fuel Induction System Carburetor Carburetor
Horsepower 300 @ 5,000 350 @ 5,800
Torque 360 @ 3,200 360 @ 3,600
Bore x Stroke (in.) 4.00 x 3.26 4.00 x 3.26
Compression Ratio 10.5:1 11.0:1
Firing Order 1-8-4-3-6-5-7-2 1-8-4-3-6-5-7-2
Cylinder Number System (Left) 1-3-5-7 1-3-5-7
Cylinder Number System (Right) 2-4-6-8 2-4-6-8
Recommended Fuel Premium Premium
Order Code L36 L72
Manufacturing Location Flint, Michigan Flint, Michigan
Type 90 degree V, Valve-In-Head 90 degree V, Valve-In-Head
Cylinders 8 8
Displacement (cid) 427 427
Fuel Induction System Carburetor Carburetor
Horsepower 390 @ 5,200 425 @ 5,600
Torque 460 @ 3,600 460 @ 4,000
Bore x Stroke (in.) 4.251 x 3.76 4.251 x 3.76
Compression Ratio 10.25:1 11.0:1
Firing Order 1-8-4-3-6-5-7-2 1-8-4-3-6-5-7-2
Cylinder Number System (Left) 1-3-5-7 1-3-5-7
Cylinder Number System (Right) 2-4-6-8 2-4-6-8
Recommended Fuel Premium Premium

Read more: 1966 Corvette Performance & Specifications.

1966 Corvette Vehicle Identification Numbers (VIN)

For all 1966 Corvettes, the location of the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), body style, body number trim, and paint combination can be found on the instrument panel brace under the glove box. Read more: 1966 Corvette VINs.

1966 Corvette Factory Options

19437 Base Corvette Sport Coupe 9,958 $4,295.00
19467 Base Corvette Convertible 17,762 $4,084.00
402 Genuine Leather Seats, Black $79.00
408 Genuine Leather Seats, Red $79.00
415 Genuine Leather Seats, Bright Blue $79.00
419 Genuine Leather Seats, Dark Blue $79.00
421 Genuine Leather Seats, Saddle $79.00
427 Genuine Leather Seats, Silver/Black $79.00
431 Genuine Leather Seats, Green $79.00
451 Genuine Leather Seats, White/Blue $79.00
A01 Soft Ray Tinted Glass, All Windows $79.00 $79.00
A02 Soft Ray Tinted Glass, Windshield 9,270 $79.00
A31 Power Windows 4,562 $57.95
A82 Headrests 1,033 $42.15
A85 Shoulder Belts 37 $26.35
C07 Auxillary Hardtop (for convertibles) 8,463 $231.75
C48 Heater and Defroster Deletion (credit) 54 $-97.85
C60 Air Conditioning 3,520 $412.90
F41 Special Front and rear Suspension 2,705 $36.90
G81 Positraction Rear Axle, all ratios 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
427ci, 390hp Engine 5,116 $181.20
L72 427ci, 425hp Engine 5,258 $312.85
L79 327ci, 350hp Engine 7,591 $105.35
M20 4-Speed Manual Transmission  10,837  $184.35
M21 4-Speed Manual Transmission, Close Ratio  13,903  $184.35
M22 4-Speed Manual Trans., Close Ratio, Heavy Duty  15  $237.00
M35 Powerglide Automatic Transmission  2,401  $194.85
N03 36 Gallon Fuel Tank (for coupe)  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 (5)  1,194  $316.00
P92 Whitewall Tires, 7.75 x 15 (rayon cord)  17,969  $31.30
T01 Goldwall Tires, 7.75 x 15 (nylon cord)  5,557  $46.55
U69 AM-FM Radio  26,363  $199.10
V74 Traffic Hazard Warning Switch  5,764  $11.60
1966 C2 Corvette

1966 Corvette Common Issues

The following list of common issues is intended for individual reference only, and may not reflect the specific issues of every 1966 Corvette.  While the intent of this page is to identify the common issues pertaining to the 1966 Corvette, it is not an all-inclusive list and should be used for reference only.

Read more: 1966 Chevrolet Corvette common issues.

1966 Corvette Recalls, Technical Service Bulletins, & Maintenance Schedule

The information contained on this page is for reference only.  The time and mileage intervals for each of the maintenance items included on this page were established by General Motors with the introduction of the 1966 Chevy Corvette.  Please note that the original service intervals may not reflect the standard service intervals used in current automobile engines.

Read more: 1966 Corvette Recalls, Technical Service Bulletins, & Maintenance Schedule.

1966 Corvette Brochure

See the original 1966 Corvette sales brochure here.