Car: Plymouth Belvedere II 426 Hemi Hardtop Coupe
What makes it special: For 1966, the Belvedere/Satellite received new sheet metal, resulting in a crisp body that was truly elegant. When equipped with the smaller 273, 318, and 361 cu in V8’s, they were the best all-around Plymouths in the line. Their chiseled styling was retained for 1967 with few changes.
What made it famous: Also for 1966, the incredible 425-horsepower Hemi was made available as an option on the Belvedere II and Satellite. The result was the electrifying “Street Hemi,” equipped as standard with a heavy-duty suspension and oversize brakes. It was first offered with a 4-speed gearbox, later with optional TorqueFlite automatic. In the light Belvedere package, the Street Hemi could be simultaneously a docile boulevard tourer and a demon at the stop light. With the right tires and axle ratio, and correctly tuned, it was one of the quickest production cars available. Right off the floor it was ready for drag-race competition in A/Stock or AA/Stock classes, and along with Dodge’s Coronet it was allowed to run on NASCAR’s shorter circuits-with predictable results.
Why I would want one: I absolutely love the look and lines of the ’66 and ’67 Belvedere’s, Satellites and GTX. Adding the potent 426 Street Hemi only makes it more wanted.
Fun fact: David Pearson won the 1966 NASCAR championship with a Coronet; Richard Petty won in 1967 with a Belvedere. These were the major breakups of Ford’s otherwise tight stranglehold on NASCAR between 1965 and 1970.
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