1966 Galaxie 500 vs 1966 Impala


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1966 Galaxie 500 vs 1966 Impala

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That’s right folks, it’s time for another round of “Clash of the Classics”, this time the showdown is between the 1966 Ford Galaxie 500 and the 1966 Chevrolet Impala.

1966 Galaxie 500 Powertrain

Ford galaxie engine 1966We’ll start with the Galaxie 500, it was the second year of production for this body style and it was doing well in terms of sales. There were minor cosmetic changes for 1966 and the all-new performance version was outfitted a 428 cid big block engine and a 4 speed manual transmission. The output was impressive for the time, rolling in at about 345 horsepower, Ford called it the Galaxie 500 7 Litre. 

Galaxie 500 Suspension

Ford Galaxie 500 1966

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The chassis and suspension were completely new having been dramatically redesigned in 1965. The new three-link system that featured all coils replaced the old leaf spring type design and the result was far better ride quality and handling. The improvements were so impressive, NASCAR used it in the full-size class.

Galaxie 500 Interior

ford-galaxie-custom-1966 interior

The Galaxie 500 Convertible was popular with American buyers

Interior was large and roomy but modest in terms of upscale amenities. A new instrument panel was fitted in the dash and a two-way key system was introduced, one key for the trunk and glove box and one for the doors and ignition.

The 1966 Ford Galaxie 500 was an instant hit with buyers and the convertible edition became the #3 seller in America with just over 27,000 units sold. The average MSRP back then was about $2,660, here today if you have a true, numbers matching, Galaxie 500 with the 427 cid engine it could be valued well into the $140,000’s

1966 Chevrolet Impala

Image is general in nature and may not reflect the specific vehicle selected.

Image is general in nature and may not reflect the specific vehicle selected.

Alright, heading over to Chevrolet, the 1966 Chevrolet Impala was in the second year of production for the 4th generation of the line and it was selling very well.

1966 Impala Powertrain

There were several engine choices including the inline 6 cylinder as well as the small block and big block V8s. The all-new Turbo Hydra-Matic 400 automatic transmission was optional for 396 cu in big block V8. (Unfortunately, the 409-cubic-inch “W” engine was discontinued early in the 1965 model year)The two-speed Powerglide, and Chevrolet impala 396 enginethe manual transmissions were still available. The 1966 Impala would become the 2nd best selling  convertible in the country, with near 117,000 units sold across all body styles. The obvious home run hitting body style was the SS with the 396 and the Muncie 4 speed. The average MSRP back then was about $2,789, today a 2 door SS hardtop is valued near $40,000

Chassis and Suspension

Chevrolet impala ss logoThe chassis and suspension were a bit on the soft side for many performance enthusiasts (even back in 1966) and overall ride was a bit void of organic feel. Ride quality was good for the average driver but body roll was a problem in high speed situations. Today there are a number of suspension upgrades that will cure some of the old problems normally found in early designs. Hotchkis Performance Suspension offers a great total suspension upgrade kit that works well in the early Impalas.

Impala Interior

Chevy impala interior 1966The interior was sparse and largely utilitarian but at the same time very durable. Folks could choose either vinyl bucket seats with a center console, or a Strato-Bench seat with a fold-down center armrest. The dash and instrumentation were well laid out and an AM-FM radio was optional.

Impala in Hollywood

The Impala was somewhat of a hit in Hollywood having appearances in movies as well as TV shows:
* Kojak
* Hawaii 50
* It’s a bikini world (1967)
* The 1968 hit with Frank Sinatra and Raquel Welch….”Lady in Cement”Lady_In_Cement_Australian-cdcovers_

Hit us with a text at 877-209-4480, let us know which car you prefer. The first 5 texts will be announced on our National Broadcast of “Horsepower for an Hour”  Your Ultimate Stop in Automotive Radio

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About Author

Donny is a Southern California specialty shop owner with primary emphasis on transmission and differential systems. He is an automotive technology graduate with over 30 years of experience. He and his wife own DMC Transmission outside of Los Angeles and were awarded “Shop of the Year” honors in 2010 and 2011.

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  1. The base 428 was rated at 345 HP from the factory (which was likely generous), while the Cobra Jet 428 was rated at 335 HP, but was likely in the neighborhood of 400 HP.

    The only 1966 7 Litre Galaxies that would come close to being valued at $140,000 would be one of the two convertible, manual transmission cars that left the factory with 427 motor. Hagerty insurance estimates that the average current day value of a 1966 7 Litre Galaxie Hardtop to be between $15,000-20,000.

  2. Ranjan Rishav on

    Hi, this is Ranjan, I love this car because several times i have heard the name from my Papa, I’m really interested to buy this car.. Please suggest the dealers in India..

  3. I thought this comparison would be in the 2 going down the track, a quarter mile track to see who wins. I had a brand new 1967 Chevell SS 396. How would that have compared with the Ford or Chrysler product in same class????


    • How about a real test? Take them out on a road course like Laguna Seca or Road America. I suspect one lap would be it for both cars with over-heated brakes, engine, and tires.

  4. Robert Kriegar on

    Chevy got a real shabby comparison on this deal. Especially on the bucket seat interior comparison. We has a 65 SS convertible, with a stick-and in no way was the interior spartan. Love the pic of the Galaxie interior.

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