In 1966, Chevrolet decided that the 396 L78 engine was just too small. Instead, they installed a 427ci engine, offered it with two different horsepower ratings, and sold over 10,000 Corvettes with the 427 alone. Today, conservative estimates believe that each of these engines produced over 400 horsepower.
Unique to the mid-year Corvettes was the ability to have a car that truly fit ones lifestyle. Arguably, for the first time in 1966, every driver could be satisfied with a Corvette. On one end of the spectrum was the base model, which was powered by the standard 327ci, and only had 300 horsepower.With an automatic transmission, it was easy to just get in the car and drive. But, for the true thrill-seekers, the big-block 427ci offered heart-stopping power (approximately 450 hp) at the touch of a pedal.
With all these added performance features came a renewed focus on occupant safety. In 1958, seat belts were made standard on the Corvette, and in 1966, shoulder harnesses were added to the factory equipment.
Out of all the mid-year Corvettes, the 1966 was the top seller by about 5,000 cars. Chevrolet sold 27,720 cars in 1966. Of these, only 9,958 were coupes. The remaining 17,762 were convertibles in one of the ten available colors. Outfitted with the high-output L72 427ci and a 4 speed, a coupe could be had for $4,792.20. Today, this same car is worth around $85,000.