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OneStopRestoration 01-18-2017 04:50 PM

1966 Chateau Slate L78 Chevelle
9 Attachment(s)
Its not often that I ever post on forums, but over the years reading storys from others and hearing about there good fortune in finding increasingly rare and powerful muscles cars is a real treat to me. For this reason I hope some of you can find my story as entertaining as I have found many of yours.

4th Owner(Me aka Rick Berlage)
In July of this past year(2016) I happened to be on craigslist one late Sunday night after having a rather disappointing experience in looking at a blue 69 Chevelle SS south of Indianapolis that day. I was thumbing thru adds and came across a rather subtle 1966 SS for sale, once again around the Indianapolis area. I quickly blew through the pictures and the two things that caught my eye were what appeared to be an original 4 core radiator with finger guard and 6200rpm redline knee knocker tach. The car in the pictures didnít present itself very well with a lot of visible rust, no trunk floor and complete interior. At work the next day my interest intensified and a phone call to the owner had me trying to figure out when I would be able to come look at the car. Low and behold I was upset to know that another buying was driving to see the car. I told the owner thankyou and to please call if the guy backed out knowing I had probably just lost an L78 Chevelle. That night after agonizing over losing the car I called the owner and found that the other guy never showed. I indicated that I would be up early and out to see the car around 8am not wanting to waste anytime. As I indicated between the tach and radiator I felt certain the car was an L78 and bought it on the spot. Here are some pictures of the car

OneStopRestoration 01-18-2017 05:09 PM

Re: 1966 Chateau Slate L78 Chevelle
After getting the car I wanted to know for sure it was a real L78 so the documentation and owner search started.

3rd Owner (Dennis ..)
Got ahold of Dennis and was told that he had never messed with the radiator or tach and that they were original to the car when he bought it in the 70s. Dennis got the car pretty much as you saw above with everything with the car except the original big block. He rebuilt a small block that he got with the car in the trunk and his wife drove the car for many years taking it on long trips in the winter to florida. The car was repainted soon after Dennis took ownership but he kept it as close to the original silver as he could. He did change the bearings in the transmssion as well as the syncros but left the gears and everything else as is(this will be important later). Dennis actually found the car becuase of his cousin who was an insurance agent and one of his customers owned the car and wanted to get rid of it. Dennis owned the car for almost 40 years with no knowledge of what the car original was.

2nd Owner (Bill ...)
I was lucky and taked to Dennis and is cousin and was able to find Bills phone number who was the 2nd owner of the car. In talking to Bill he bought the car from the original owners who were two brothers as he put it. When we bought the car in the early 70s it was all original with solid lifter motor. From memory Bill could remember the 375hp crest that adorned the air cleaner. Bill carted his family around it for a few years before encountering an engine miss. Ultimately he did not want to tackle the rebuild and ultimately sold the car. Sadly at this point in the story I have two guys with stories that dont match. Bill claims the car was sold as is with the original motor, but Dennis claims the car never came with the motor. I plan to revisit this part of the story with each owner but I think its safe to say the original motor is gone. One other thing Bill taked about was racing the car on slicks up at the Terrea Haute drag strip int he 70s. Said the car ran from 9.05 down to 8.00 in the eight mile which I think even by todays standards is a pretty stought car.

1st Owner(Ron and Don ...)
I was actually able to track Ron down via some internet searches. I actually at first found his brothers wife. In getting ahold of her I found that Don had passed away in the early 2000s but Ron his twin brother could help me verify the car. I was a nervous person making that phone call to Ron. Ultimately it came down to asking what motor did the car come with. Ron didnt miss beat and explained that he and his brother bought the car off the showroom floor of a chevy dealer in Riley Indiana. Both the brothers were farmers and had worked hard to save enough money to buy a car. At first they had eyed up a 65 vette but the insurance for them would have been 1000/year. They ended up going with the Chevelle because of the insurance. Ron remembered the car being silver with a 4 speed and vinyl top. Ron also commented the car sounded and ran really good.

WILMASBOYL78 01-18-2017 05:16 PM

Re: 1966 Chateau Slate L78 Chevelle
Cool, what happens next??

-wilma [img]<<GRAEMLIN_URL>>/biggthumpup.gif[/img]

OneStopRestoration 01-18-2017 05:26 PM

Re: 1966 Chateau Slate L78 Chevelle
I was able to document many unique things that helps verify the car such as:

Frame Stamped Twice with Vin Seq

Rear End Date Code, and Stamping from May of 66

Harrison Radiator with Date code on the upper tank of D(sorry no picture) and code UN and Lower Tank BP. Side Straps are Dated C(March)

Seems little has been known why GM had a separate tag for the M20 with L78. I think I found why. 2 things that made the L78 muncie M20 different than the regular M20

Stiffer side cover dentent spring, muck like you would see in an M21 or M22

In the following 2 pictures notice the gears are painted differently from the factory(when I cracked the side cover I was like why!?)

I got the slider out and found out why. GM put an M21 slider with the locking groves for 4th gear in the M20 with High performance engine

Trans vin Stamp. Appears to be stamped off line after the car was assembled

Well I hope everyone can enjoy my story and learn as I have. Full Restoration to start later this year! Already have another NOM and plan to have this car back to better than new with a High End restoration

chevyman0429 01-18-2017 05:32 PM

Re: 1966 Chateau Slate L78 Chevelle
Wow nice find I love the 66 SS chevelle.

Big Block Bill 01-18-2017 05:50 PM

Re: 1966 Chateau Slate L78 Chevelle
Great story! Did all 1966 &amp; 1967 High Horse SS-396 Chevelles come with the finger guard on the top tank? My original 1967 SS-396 / M-20 Coupe had the guard on it when I bought it but I thought someone put a GTO or 442 radiator in it prior to me buying it. Keep us posted on your progress.


OneStopRestoration 01-18-2017 05:59 PM

Re: 1966 Chateau Slate L78 Chevelle

There are others that can chime in whos expertise goes deeper than mine, but its my understanding that a 4 core radiator with finger guard was only reserved for L78 in 1966. An exception would be a car ordered with HD cooling that meant dropping the finger guard for a fan shroud. There are also many 3 core radiators with finger guards. It might be easier to read the 66/67 research report over on the Team Chevelle Website. Just google 67 Chevelle Radiator and that should help get you there.

WILMASBOYL78 01-18-2017 06:36 PM

Re: 1966 Chateau Slate L78 Chevelle
When it comes to these cars Mike Crown knows his stuff.


cook_dw 01-18-2017 07:01 PM

Re: 1966 Chateau Slate L78 Chevelle
[img]<<GRAEMLIN_URL>>/worship.gif[/img] [img]<<GRAEMLIN_URL>>/drool.gif[/img] [img]<<GRAEMLIN_URL>>/worship.gif[/img] [img]<<GRAEMLIN_URL>>/drool.gif[/img] [img]<<GRAEMLIN_URL>>/Can-I-Have-It.gif[/img] [img]<<GRAEMLIN_URL>>/Can-I-Have-It.gif[/img] [img]<<GRAEMLIN_URL>>/Can-I-Have-It.gif[/img]

L34 car I am searching for; granted its not a high horse but it does have the guard.

WILMASBOYL78 01-18-2017 07:40 PM

Re: 1966 Chateau Slate L78 Chevelle
While we are on the subject of 66 SS396 cars....this beauty belonged to my neighbor back in the day. I think he bought it new...396/360hp, 4 spd, yellow with black top.

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