1966 Plymouth Belvedere I
8-cyl. 361cid/265hp 2bbl
With an experienced team and a lot of data.
The 1964 Plymouth Belvedere appeared with cleaner styling than the previous model year. Positioned as low-cost Plymouth’s mid-sized market entrant, the Belvedere rode a 116-inch wheelbase it shared with the Savoy and Fury. True to Detroit’s established formula, a variety of body styles were offered, including two- and four-door sedans, a two-door hardtop, and a four-door station wagon.
Most buyers in 1964 opted for the sensible pairing of a four-door sedan and a mid-block 318-cid V-8, but powertrain choices ran the gamut. The super-tough 225-cid slant-six was standard, while the Belvedere could also be ordered with big-block 361-, 383- and Wedge 426-cid V-8 engines with as much as 365 hp. Partway through the 1964 model year, a new big-block 426-cid hemi race car engine was offered on a limited number of Plymouths, and a young driver named Richard Petty took just such a car to the 1964 Daytona 500 winner’s circle.
For 1965, Plymouth shuffled the deck by essentially rebranding the Savoy as the Belvedere I, making the 1964 Belvedere the Belvedere II, and replacing the now-full-size Fury and Sport Fury with a hardtop and convertible Belvedere Satellite submodel. The Belvedere II was also now available in a convertible body style. The standard small-block V-8 became the strong-performing 273-cid unit from the Barracuda and Valiant with 180 hp. Power choices otherwise remained the same.
For 1966, the popular Plymouth Belvedere was restyled with clean and reserved lines. Body choices essentially remained the same, and the only changes to the production car’s engine list was the removal of the 426-cid V-8 from the Belvedere catalog and the 318-cid V-8 moving to the 273’s lighter and smaller architecture.
The Belvedere was mildly revised on the outside in 1967, but the big news was the addition of the hot-rod GTX hardtop and convertible submodels. By this point, a base Belvedere two-door cost $2,318, while the three-row station wagon was priced at $2,836. Richard Petty put the Belvedere in the spotlight once again as he took the NASCAR crown in his blue 426-cid equipped Belvedere.
The Plymouth Belvedere is a great artifact of 1960s America, and it is especially fun to drive when equipped with one of the larger engines. Of course, complete documentation is a must for such a car, or expect a discounted price. Well over half a million Belvederes were manufactured from 1964 to 1967, so parts are not a problem to locate. Likewise for well-maintained examples, which are usually worth the premium over unloved examples.