BODACIOUS BEATERS (and Road-going Derelicts): CHEVY II FADED

Phil Coconis
by Phil Coconis
em bodacious beaters and road going derelicts em chevy ii faded

Considering the recent entries in my “Memoirs of an Independent Repair Shop Owner”, it’s looking like I’m going to have to “go with the flow” and dig up another memory of my early automotive history for this entry in “Bodacious Beaters”.

This time the subject is the very first car I ever owned—and it was one of these: a 1966 Chevy II Super Sport with 283 cubic inches of Bowtie Smallblock under the hood, and the venerable two-speed aluminum Powerglide under the SS console shifter!

At the time, it was about the coolest automobile I could afford. A bit stodgy looking, in comparison to the popular “Pony Cars” of the day (read that: Mustang and Camaro); but an SS coupe nonetheless, sporting bucket seats, console shifter, and a real-live V-8 engine! Yeah, those features are fairly commonplace in today’s market, but back then they were something special. And taking into account the two cars I had trained in, and had previously had to come up with a decent excuse to borrow (I’m still amazed my Parents actually let THAT happen)—a late-50’s Ford Sedan with inline six and “three-on-the-tree” shifter, and a mid-sixties Ford Country Sedan S/W with a small V-8, column-shift automatic, and manual steering(!)—the SS was fairly a quantum leap in “special”!

Yes, it wasn’t particularly quick or fast—that Powerglide definitely not helping the cause in either department—and it didn’t handle anything like a sporting-type of car—although the lame “mono leaf” rear springs did provide a rather “jouncy” and otherwise unbalanced ride—but I just contented myself to crank up the in-dash stereo and cruise it. When I moved back East to NYC, my Parents—and subsequently my Sister—inherited it. She enjoyed it for sometime, cruising around the family’s new North Carolina digs, selling it when it needed more repairs than she cared to have performed. Got some good dough for it, even for back then in the ‘80’s.

So much for the memories—now to consider the example featured here in the photos: what appears to be also a 1966 Chevy II SS.

As you’ve probably noticed, I’m especially attracted to exterior finishes that exude “character’. This one’s got that stuff “in spades”! Given the fact that the metal—under what’s left of what has to be at least a few paint jobs—is really not rusty beyond what is seen on the surface, this one has had to have spent a great deal of time in a very dry, very sunny area—such as the high Mojave desert or a similar place. I have a feeling the beautiful resulting patina will not continue for long in its new Los Angeles Beach City residence. Glad I caught it when I did—difficult lighting and all.

I don’t know if it’s still got the original 283 (the front quarter flag badging indicating V-8 power, but not the 327, which sported additional displacement clarification), but it has most of the other identifying SS trim and equipment, as far as I can tell. Yeah, the seats have been upholstered in non-original vinyl, but that left rear quarter paint fade around the recently gone-missing badging makes up for that, nicely!

On this one, I might be tempted to do an interior, driveline, and chassis resto—but I’d leave the exterior finish alone. It took a lot of time and previous effort to get a Bodacious look like that, for sure!

Phil has written features and columns for a number of automotive periodicals and web-based information companies. He has run a successful Auto Repair Business in the past for many years (See “Memoirs of an Independent Repair Shop Owner” on this ttac site). He can be contacted through this very site, or

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  • Bill mcgee Bill mcgee on Jun 11, 2013

    During the malaise era , bought two 1965 Malibu sedans , both with that combination of rust and " patina " , both with the 283 4 -barrel , one with three on the tree and one with Powerglide . Both pretty peppy ,not surprising as they only weighed 3000 lbs. , no doubt quicker in the lighter Chevy II body . One bought for $ 50 and the other for $125.Remember racing the underpowered newer cars of the late seventies , once a Porsche 924 , another time my boss in his 1976 Mustang II Cobra 302 , the Malibu's bashed in trunk banging up and down as I flew over a railroad track . Smoked him , he said he was afraid of tearing off the Cobra's front spoiler - no fears of that in my $ 50 Malibu. A week later , he gave me a crappy performance review . Ah , good times .

  • Southbaycarchic Southbaycarchic on Jan 16, 2014

    Hey Phil! Great article, especially since this is my fave Nova in the South Bay! I ride my bike everyday and I see this nova almost everyday including prolly over 100 pix I have taken of it. I have actually met the owner of this car and he also owns that Purple Nova wagon. He showed up at the Summer Ruby's Diner Friday night car show. He's not what you think he is, but a very nice man. He did not bring the nova to the car show, but he was admiring my boyfriends 66 Nova at the carshow. I hope he brings it to the car show this year at least once. This article made my day!

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