The mid-1960s was a special time in American motoring as the idea of a “muscle car” was just beginning to take shape. But, unlike more noticeable performance cars that would come later on, these ordinary coupes with robust powerplants had more “sleeper” status. These were discrete performers that could usually be spotted only by subtle badging. We’ll explore two such examples in this Auction Dilemma: a 1966 Chevrolet Chevelle SS on eBay and a 1964 Pontiac LeMans GTO at autohunter.com.
1966 Chevrolet Chevelle SS
The Super Sport (SS) package was a brilliant formula developed by Chevy to spice up the ordinary Chevelle when it debuted in 1964. The performance upgrade was so well-received that the Chevelle SS 396 became a separate variant with the 1966 model year. Thanks for a respray, this Marina Blue example presents an exterior that appears showroom-worthy. The listing reports 61,000 miles, but there are no details on actual mileage.
A numbers-matching big-block 396 cubic-inch V-8 sits under the hood. Chevy offered three different versions of this engine in the SS with horsepower ranging from 325 to 375—but this information is missing from the eBay listing. A three-speed manual manages this Chevelle’s rear wheels.
There’s no word if the immaculate black interior benefited from restoration, but the cabin’s condition is as clean as the exterior. Equipment includes working air conditioning and a Delco radio.
1964 Pontiac LeMans GTO
Often battling with other GM divisions, Pontiac was positioned as the automaker’s performance division. Phrases such as “Pontiac Excitement” were part of the brand’s marketing efforts. And the first use of the “muscle car” moniker in advertising was for the 1964 GTO, a car that shared GM’s A-body platform with the Chevelle. According to the seller, this 1964 GTO backs up its performance credentials with a verifiable racing pedigree. The listing also reports the 17,890 miles on the odometer to be correct. At some point, the car’s clean and rust-free exterior was changed to Sunfire Red, a rare factory color.
Pontiac’s Tri-Power engines, like the 389 cubic-inch V-8 under the hood here, date back to the 1950s. The triple dual-carburetor setup helped boost output (348 horsepower for the 1964 GTO) and add to Pontiac’s performance image. A replacement Muncie four-speed manual controls the rear wheels of this GTO.
The listing reports this GTO has its original black vinyl interior, which appears pristine in the photos. Other cabin gear includes the factory radio, a Hurst shifter, and aftermarket gauges sitting below the dash.
Sleeper or muscle car? Take Your Pick Of These GM Classics
Whether you call these classics sleepers or early muscle cars, both helped usher in the performance era of the late ’60s and early ’70s. The 1966 Chevelle SS has a $67,995 asking price, while the 1964 LeMans GTO auction (which ends in one day) has a current $52,000 high bid.
Sources: ebay.com, autohunter.com, hemmings.com, volocars.com
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