502-Powered: 1968 Chevrolet Camaro RS/SS 396 Convertible

Due to a set of unfortunate circumstances, this 1968 Camaro RS/SS Convertible no longer has its original 396 under the hood. However, a 502ci Crate Motor should mean that it has enough performance to keep anyone happy. As you will see, it isn’t all bad news with the original 396. That means that the buyer will have some decisions to make. The Camaro is located in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and has been listed for sale here on eBay. With bidding currently sitting at $20,400, the reserve has been met.

If a buyer is seeking spotless originality, this Camaro can’t provide that quality as it currently stands. It originally rolled off the production line wearing Corvette Bronze paint, but it underwent a color change in 1978. However, it isn’t all bad news from that perspective. The paint looks quite presentable, and there are no signs that it will need any attention soon. There are a couple of minor dings in the panels, but these should be able to be repaired without the need for panel replacement. There has been rust in the floors in the past, but this has been addressed with patches. The repairs aren’t the neatest that I’ve ever seen, but the next owner could look at tidying this up when time and circumstances allow. The convertible top is in good condition, and I can’t spot any issues with the trim or chrome. The wheels are not standard, but they are in keeping with the upgrades that have been performed on this classic.

The Camaro features its original 4-speed manual transmission and rear end. The original owner was focused on performance because it doesn’t feature such niceties as power steering and power brakes. The seller offers no photos of the engine bay, but what occupies it found its way there via a sad set of circumstances. A previous owner had the original 396ci V8 rebuilt by a friend. When this was completed, it should have happily pumped out its original 325hp. Sadly, something went radically wrong, and the 396 “spun” a bearing. This damaged the block, so that owner decided to ditch the 396 in favor of a ZZ502 Crate Motor. The dyno sheets included in the sale confirm that this monster pumps out a very healthy and genuine 502hp. However, the current owner does have the original 396 engine block, and the damage to it has now been repaired professionally. The owner believes that he has not only the original block, but also the cylinder heads, crankshaft, intake, radiator, some of the pulleys, the fan shroud, and numerous other components. It will require a full rebuild, but if this is completed, the Camaro will be a numbers-matching classic once again. As the owner rightly points out, the value of the 502 in the current market should mean that its sale could cover the cost of the rebuilding work on the 396. That has to be a tempting proposition. We don’t get any information or photos of the interior, so we are flying blind on that aspect of the car. However, I suspect that it isn’t going to be loaded with luxury appointments.

There is no doubt that in its current mechanical configuration, this ’68 Camaro RS/SS 396 Convertible would slam you back in the seat the moment that you mashed the loud pedal. Even in its stock form, it would have possessed enough power to keep the majority of enthusiasts happy. Restoring it to its original specifications should represent a straightforward process, and the result would be a desirable classic. Would you restore it immediately, or would you have some fun with that Crate Motor first?

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Comments

  1. Jeff

    Leave the 502 in it and put the 396 emblems back on, then go out and spank a few Mustangs.

    Like 21
    • Chuck

      With the 396 labels wouldn’t that be fake news?

    • Tman

      Why not paint it red, put a white top on it and match it to Guy Fieris Camaro

      Like 2
    • Camaro guy

      👍👍

  2. RoughDiamond RoughDiamond Member

    Now this is a beast! All go with manual everything. Pretty color although would’ve loved to have seen it in Corvette Bronze when it was new. Must belong to Tim “The Tool Man” Taylor. It doesn’t although this type of hot rod easily could. Can any of you other viewers or members on here speak to the main bearing repair and .005″ crank offset requiring timing chain with the same offset? I realize a spun main bearing necessitated the repair, but what scenario most likely occurred to the block itself to require the offset.

    Like 5
    • Jeff

      The metal removed during the line bore necessitates a .005 shorter timing chain.

      Like 5
  3. Keith

    Uhmmmmmmm any interior pics, just asking?

    Like 1
  4. Classic Steel

    I would gather all parts for 396 with carb to intake (if not on the current engine) then oil it down and put in dry)

    Then drive the Sh@t out of the crate for a couple years

    Its a convertible to boot 👍😎

    Like 3
  5. jokacz

    How unusual, a 396 that spun a bearing! [sarcasm font]

    Like 6
    • mike jacobsen

      that happens with 96s if you dont line bore the mane jurnals.

  6. JohnfromSC

    Folks, an SS/RS 396 convertible at this price and no one is excited? If the mechanicals and body are good, you can put $10K – $15K into this if you have to, on top of selling the current motor to fund the 396 motor rebuild, and not lose a dime. Seems like a very good deal.
    Am I missing something???

    Like 4
    • Camaro guy

      Yeah the fun you would have spanking mustangs and challengers with that 502

      Like 3
      • KKW

        A new Mustang would run off and leave it.

        Like 1
      • Wade

        Found numerous ‘Saleen’ mustangs with supercharged V8’s being auctioned off for around 20 grand. Nothing outruns those. This is just a toy for somebody with a lot of extra change burning a hole in their pocket like Leno maybe

  7. Troy s

    An honest butt slammer neck snapping thrill ride, even has stickers on the glass. Seems like a period machine, from some other time, I agree with above comment, the Corvette Bronze paint, along with the black top, would have been really special. Add Torque thrust style wheels and the bronze street machine looks seriously threatening, ready to rock and roll. Heck, it already looks menacing enough.
    As far as putting the 325 horse 396 back in there, well…..why??
    Maybe for future selling, but there’s a lot more to this Camaro than simply dollar signs. Nice ride

    Like 4
  8. DayDreamBeliever Member

    The 325 HP 396 had two-bolt main bearing caps, and when people tried revving too high RPM-wise, they’d walk just enough to allow bearing movement. Great motors, until someone thought 6K+ revs was cool.

    I owned one in a Chevelle. Bought it with the bearing issue. A local speed shop align-bored the block, and a friend with an “in” at the local high school automotive machine shop did the cylinders for me at 0.30. Add in TRW pistons, a steel crank and cam out of a 427…. That car would FLY! Never another issue, with a lot of hard running. All below 5500, of course.

    Like 2
  9. jerry z

    Too bad its not Corvette Bronze. My ’68 was also same color but had 6cyl/3spd. I do like this green though.

    • PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

      No doubt that Corvette Bronze is a nice color, one of my favorite Corvette colors of the era.

      It just seems strange that GM would call it that name while sitting on a Camaro.

      Like 2
  10. JoeBob396

    Nice Camaro. But why leave the heater disconnected if you can invest $10k for an engine?

    Like 1
    • Tman

      Like why have a non working A/C and invest in everything else

  11. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    SOLD for $30,600.

    Like 1
  12. David Conwill

    Wow, I could have sworn this was my old Camaro, but the VIN is different.

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