1966 Corvette Restoration

Purchased in 2012, this Stingray roadster was very original and had seen little use in fifty years. The fiberglass body panels were straight and had not been modified.

restore an old Corvette

Last registered in 1983, the odometer showed just 44,553 miles.

Inside, the door panels and black vinyl seats were in good condition, the dash had not been hacked, and all the original factory gauges were still there.

Restore an old Corvette

As far as factory options, this car had just four; automatic transmission, power steering, AM/FM radio, and an auxiliary hardtop. The original exterior color was 'Ermine White'.

removable hardtop on rolling stand

The removable hardtop was on the car when purchased. Rolling stands like the one pictured are offered by several aftermarket suppliers.


L75 327 Chevy

The motor was the original L75 327 small-block, factory rated at 300 horsepower. The numbers on the VIN plate matched the engine block, and the cylinder heads, intake and exhaust manifolds, and carburetor had the correct date-code castings.

The aluminum valve covers were the only non-original parts under the hood. They appear to be from a 350hp 327, and presumably added on for looks.

Read: 327 Corvette Engine Build

66 Corvette Restoration

327 Engine Before and After Rebuild

spray paint engine

Related Articles:

327 Bottom End Build

Install Camshaft in 327 Chevy

327 Cylinder Head Assembly

327 Chevy Valvetrain Assembly


Moving The Car

As soon as we winched the car out from the barn where it sat for 26 years, the front caliper seals began leaking brake fluid all over the tires and brake rotors.

leaking brake caliper

Although rebuilding a Chevy small-block is far more rewarding than rebuilding old calipers, it's the brake system where this restoration began. Every brake component was rebuilt or replaced.

Related Articles:

Rebuild Corvette Calipers

Rebuild Corvette Calipers-Reassembly

Lip Seal vs O-Ring Calipers

Removing Riveted Brake Rotors

One of the safety upgrades was replacing the original single-reservoir master cylinder with a 1967-style dual master cylinder. This has become a popular choice with owners of 1963 through 1966 Corvettes who wish to upgrade to the safer, dual reservoir master cylinder.



More so than most other cars, correct documentation will increase the value of a classic Corvette. Factory identification tags are located in several places. The body and trim plate will be on the left-side door pillar, and there's a VIN plate behind the glove box door.

Most classic Corvettes came with factory build sheets found on top of the gas tank. The VIN plate on this Corvette showed that it was built in November 1965, making it an early, low serial number 1966 model.

NOTE: Chevrolet did not start equipping Corvettes with factory build sheets until late 1966 production.

There are several Corvette sites that will help you decipher the VIN code. One of the easiest to navigate through is VetteFacts.com


1966 Corvette Stingray Production Figures:

  • Coupes: 9,958
  • Roadsters: 17,762
  • Total Production: 27,720
  • All 1966 Corvettes were built in St. Louis, Missouri


Corvette Steering System Overhaul

Power steering was an option on Corvettes from 1963 to 1976, and became standard equipment in 1977. Although the pumps and gearboxes changed several times, the power steering control valve and cylinder remained pretty much the same. Rebuild kits for the P/S cylinder are the same for all C2 and C3 Corvettes (1963-1982).

how to rebuild a power steering cylinder

Read: How To Rebuild A Steering Cylinder

The four power steering hoses were replaced with new ones. Procedures for 1963 through 1982 models are virtually the same.

Replace power steering hoses C2 Corvette

Read: P/S Hose Replacement (C2 and C3)


After several years of on and off work, I had come to terms with the fact that I had too many car projects. Plus, I really didn't have the budget to restore this Corvette the way it should be done. It was sold with a rebuilt engine, new brakes and steering components, but still in primer and lacking interior.