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1966 Chevy Bel Air - Sensational Sixty-Six

Bob McClurg Aug 1, 2001
Sucp_0108_02_z 1966_chevy_bel_air Front 2/2
Sucp_0108_02_s 1966_chevy_bel_air Front 3/2

Ron Shirley has a collection of classic '60's musclecars. And, one of his favorites is this award-winning, '66 Biminy Blue Bel Air two-door sedan. The big cruiser came with more power than might have been needed to haul a family of four around Stillwater, Oklahoma, but for those who wanted the baddest ride on the block, nothing was more impressive than the sight of the 427 emblems on the fenders of this four-speed ride.

The Rat-powered bruiser was restored to perfection by performance car enthusiast Albert Taylor of Clarksville, Tennessee, before Shirley purchased it in 1998. The Bel Air, which was assembled at the GM plant in Atlanta, Georgia, features a 425hp Rat with four-bolt mains and a solid lifter cam. It is reportedly the first "real" 427 design cylinder block built in the series, as previous 427s had been based on the older 396 block.

This "new for '66" engine design utilized a closed-plenum four-barrel factory intake with 4150 Holley carburetor. It also featured a Delco Remy, cast-iron externally adjusted distributor, along with a set of the log-style factory cast-iron, high-performance exhaust manifolds.

Backing up this potent combination is an aluminum-case, Muncie M22 close-ratio four-speed gearbox, replete with the factory GM shift linkage. Final gearing comes from a 3.70:1 10-bolt, Positraction rearend. The Bel Air's rolling stock consists of a set of 15x6-inch steel rims sporting Firestone bias-ply red stripe rubber.

The blue interior of Ron's '66 is about as no frills as can be. In other words, you're looking at your basic vinyl bench seat with light blue, cloth inserts. There is, however, one important performance upgrade, and that's the factory AC Delco 8-Grand mechanical tachometer.

Like its interior, the trunk of Shirley's '66 is basic. All you find is the factory jack and spare tire. That's it! But then again, that's all you need when you've got a vintage Bow-Tie with unreal power under the hood and a smooth-shifting gear selector protruding from the transmission tunnel.

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