Car Cruise Classic: Nine Reasons to Buy a 1966 Plymouth Belvedere


I can find a for sale sign on an old car like some kind of bipedal hound dog.  When I get on the scent of one, I ignore traffic rules, I jaywalk, and I disregard my own safety to find it.  It’s a compulsion!  Needless to say, I found this ’66 Belvedere Hardtop in short order, but there was no price on the sign.  I didn’t even ask, because there is definitely no room in the garage.  But what if there were?  Why should I plunk down X-dollars on this old Mopar?

1966 Plymouth Belvedere-06-07

Reason #1: It’s not a Satellite!  I don’t know if that’s a good thing, but this Belvedere II tripped my weird-o-meter. The Satellite would have been the “top of the line,” but who cares?  When else are you going to find a Belvedere II?


Reason #2: Effortless V8 power!  Did you know that you could still get a 361 in the ’66 Belvedere?  In fact, you could order one of four V8s, but this one likely has the 273 or 318, because the big-blocks were called “Commandos,” and should have special badging.  Special note: the 318 was still the old “poly” engine in ’66 (and until ’67 in Canada).  I wish my Dart had the 273, but oh well.


Reason #3: Two-tone?  Actually, I don’t like the silver top too much.  I’d prefer a solid “dark red metallic,” but according to the brochure, 18 different two-tone combinations were available.


Reason #4: Boring hubcaps.  I often prefer boring factory hubcaps, largely because most people don’t.  Yeah, sure a set of Torq-Thrusts would look cool, but does a 318 Belvedere really need a set of wheels that make it look fast?


Reason #5: Interior color.  Old cars had loads of options, and you could get a nice, deep red cloth/vinyl interior. Plus, this one is nearly showroom new!


Reason #6: Torqueflite!  As cool as I expected my three-on-the-tree Dart to be, I must admit that I get why people ordered the automatic…three-on-the-tree is clumsy and slow.  Having to shift into second before going down into first so it doesn’t clash is an unnecessary pain.  Smooth, effortless power mixed with one of the great automatics?  Delightful.  This would immediately become one of my long trip cars.


Reason #7: I’m starting to get used to Mopars!  While the above printed circuit from Classic Industries is meant for a ’62 or ’63 model, a ’66 model’s would be similar.  I had no idea that the Mopar electrical system was so unlike what Ford and GM were using.  That’s not really a compliment, but now that I’m starting to get the hang of it, that would be a hurdle I’d expect!

1966 Plymouth Belvedere-14-15a

Reason #8: Size.  The ’60s intermediates are a reasonably practical size.  Sure, they’re big by today’s standards, but they’re still easy to maneuver, and they might (MIGHT) fit in the garage.  May I repeat that just about every ’60s car offered a bunch of color options?  Look at all those colors!  Unlike today’s black, gray, or silver options; one could order a veritable rainbow.


Reason #9: The name.  My lovely bride remarked that I’d have to get a “Mr. Belvedere” personalized license plate if I bought the car.  That’s reason enough, I guess.


Unfortunately, there were also reasons to not buy this Belvedere.

Reason #1: It’s not on the list.  Neither was the Dart, and that didn’t stop me, but I can’t be pulling that kind of garbage all the time.

Reason #2: I don’t have room or sanity for another old car.  A Belvedere would make six.  That’s a lot.  I already have to keep one “off campus,” and that’s not cheap.

Reason #3: It’s too nice; therefore, it’s probably too expensive.  I kind of like cars that are a touch beaten down. That way I can fix them.

It is, however, always fun to dream, and for a minute, I was tossing this one around in my head.  Now you know why.