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396-Equipped: 1968 Chevrolet Camaro

There’s no doubt that some project cars will offer more potential than others. That is certainly true of this 1968 Chevrolet Camaro. Its rust issues seem relatively minor, while somebody has slotted a big-block V8 under the hood. It comes with a host of new and used parts and should make a satisfying restoration project. Once complete, it will offer a perfect combination of stunning and muscular good looks, along with staggering performance. Located in Hollister, Missouri, you will find the Camaro listed for sale here on eBay. Subdued bidding has pushed the price to $5,100, although this figure remains short of the reserve.

The quality of the photos supplied by the seller is disappointing, but they provide a useful insight into this classic’s overall condition. It wears LeMans Blue paint that has seen better days. The buyer will almost certainly choose to strip the car to bare metal, allowing them to repair a few external faults. The driver’s side rear quarter panel has a sizable dent and some rust. The best course of action would be a replacement, although the corresponding panel on the other side has rust that the buyer could address with patches. The remaining panels appear to be respectable, with no significant rust. Delving below the surface reveals rotten floors, but the subframe and structural integrity of the car looks promising. There is some rust in the trunk pan, but it is a small area that the seller believes could be addressed with a patch. The car rolls on a relatively new set of Rally wheels, although one tire is damaged. The seller includes a vast array of parts for the new owner. Some of these parts are new, including a hood, hood louvers, and RS grille assembly. There are also many secondhand parts in good condition that could be used as part of the restoration.

The big-block V8 occupying this engine bay is of 1968 vintage, but it didn’t start its life in this car. It was sourced from a 1968 Chevelle and is a 2-bolt unit that produced 350hp in its prime. Bolted to the back of this V8 is a turbo 400 automatic transmission. If the next owner returns this classic to a roadworthy state, the current drivetrain configuration should allow it to blitz the ¼ mile in 14.6 seconds. However, they will have some work to do before achieving this. The owner indicates that this V8 has a bad camshaft, so common sense suggests that a rebuild might be a wise move. The buyer will undoubtedly pull the motor to detail the engine bay to a high standard, and this would be the perfect opportunity to ensure that this 396 is in excellent health before it finds its way back under the hood.

There’s really no other way to put this, but the interior of this Camaro is trashed. All of the essential components like the seats and dash are intact, but the buyer will be left with little choice but to undertake a re-trim. Since they will not be completing a faithful restoration, that leaves them with the option of choosing custom upholstery. They may decide that either leather or cloth is a better option than vinyl, which will be a matter of taste. Alternatively, trim kits are readily available, and returning this interior to a factory-fresh state would cost around $2,000. It is an option worth considering, especially if the buyer wishes to funnel their cash into ensuring that the body and drivetrain of this classic are in the best possible state.

Returning this 1968 Camaro to a roadworthy state will be more of a refurbishment than a faithful restoration with its current drivetrain configuration. However, the finished product should be worth the effort. Its rust problems are surprisingly limited for a pony car of this era. The buyer will probably still decide to strip the car to bare metal to achieve a high-quality finish, but the financial rewards should be worth it. Have you managed to slip behind the wheel of a big-block-equipped First Generation Camaro? If so, did it make enough of an impact to tempt you to pursue this one further?


  1. Mark P

    This poor thing has a long way to go before you can even sit in and pretend to drive it. Transplanted big block. Hopefully not replacing a 250ci stove bolt that may have come with the car. With the light duty front end and mono leaf rear springs that were part of the package. Lots of work time and dollars here.

    Like 5
    • Larry D

      Yep, it was originally a 6-cylinder car. The VIN starts with12337. A V8 car would be 12437.
      So this car is permanently branded as a 6 popper. At least if it had the V8 VIN, it could always be up for debate about WHICH V8 Chevrolet placed in its engine compartment.

      Like 1
  2. gbvette62

    From the looks of the heater box, this car started life with a small block.

    Like 5
  3. Claudio

    Born in 1962 means that i saw, rode , drove and owned these
    The raw horses from a big block nose heavy camaro made for dangerous rides in rain and horribly dangerous in winter conditions
    As soon as the stroker engine became affordable, that was my go to choice
    And now all of this LS power is available in light form
    Nice car , always loved them in topless mode

    Like 2
  4. Camaro Joe

    Mark, you’re exactly right. The ad says that the VIN starts with “1233784N-” The third digit tells you if it’s a 6 or 8 cylinder car. 3 is a 6 cylinder and 4 is a V-8. This one started out with a 250 six cylinder motor.

    I know a guy who built a number of RS/SS 350 cars that started out as 6 cylinders. Do your homework before you spend money on a clone.

    Like 4
  5. 433jeff

    I had a 69 camaro with a 427 t 400( i know boo) i didnt have it long, with a 12 bolt posi was a great car. I also had a 67 firebird convert 400 car, this car ended up with the ls6 4 speed m22 that was supposed to go in my chevelle. Long story short, i had so much fun in these cars and yes in the rain you certainly need to pay attention. So this camaro if solid is a great rig, my 400 car had a rotted rear subframe, a piece of 3×2 box fits right into the front subframe, so i made a new frame to rear bumper. It was to far gone to be anything but a big block mule. Fun Fun Fun as far as the 350 horse 396, my 70 ss ran good after being rebuilt, but i blew up the 396, and replaced it with a 350 horse lt1 350, And the lt1 was incredibly tough, I beat the snot out of it. It would rev much higher than the 396 , the 396 would fall on its face. Mine was the 350 hp 402, not the fire breathing 375 hp or the corvette 425hp. As far as weight goes, the Ls6 made enough power and was so much fun i didnt spend 1 second thinking or saying anything was wrong , incorrect or heavy. I would later go 6-71 which was more weight and again more power. I think the stroking is a great idea, i also wouldn’t worry about a 6 cylinder car going big block, its not the first time. The subframe on my 69 427 camaro had to be bent or adjusted on a frame machine to be able to set up the frame, again heavy motor but tweaking a subframe also wasnt the first time

  6. Larry D

    I realize the taillight panel could have been painted over but all the Big Block Camaros had the taillight panel painted semi gloss black.

    I always thought that looked so tough especially on the cars that had the large (Z/28 style) bumper guards.

    Like 1

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