L30 And M20: 1968 Camaro 327

1968 Camaro L30 M20

For those of us outside the muscle and pony car world, the codes and designations used to denote the options and features a car might have can be a bit confusing and hard to follow. One thing I’ve learned in hunting for classic American iron is to always check what a set of codes means before putting out any money, especially for GM products. Some sellers throw designations out without any explanation of what they mean or what value they might or might not add to the car. When I spotted this 1968 Camaro here on eBay in Petoskey, Michigan with the designations L30/M20 in the title I knew I better look up what that actually means.

Camaro L30 Engine

You don’t have to be a Camaro fanatic to recognize designations like Z28 or even L78, but some of the lesser codes aren’t likely to be well known by those that don’t eat, drink, and sleep all things Camaro. When I spotted L30 I knew enough to assume it was the engine code, but I didn’t know the specific engine it denoted, and while I could only assume M20 was a reference to the gearbox I wasn’t completely sure. A quick search revealed that the L30 was the 275 horsepower version of the 327 cui V8 and as I suspected M20 is the transmission code. What I didn’t know was just how cool this option was!

1968 Camaro Interior

At first I was left asking why these options would matter enough to make them a selling point, there were far more powerful versions of the Camaro out there. As it turns out the L30 might have had less power and the slightly heavier Saginaw 4 speed, but it was lighter overall and had some high performance components borrowed from the SS. It really was the half way point between the base Camaro and the SS350, both in performance and looks. And if a buyer knew just how to option their L30/M20 they could bring its performance much closer to SS level without having to spend SS kind of money. This made it a rather unassuming sleeper that just about any gear head could have afforded.

1968 Chevrolet Camaro

This example looks to be in good shape, or at least from what little can be seen of it. The seller doesn’t offer any photos of the car that show all of it at once, which makes me a bit nervous. Only 11k or so of Camaros were built with the L30/M20 option and given the weakness of the Saginaw transmission, there aren’t many left on the road, but without seeing more of this one I would hunt for another example. I do like the idea of buying an L30 car though, there is just something cool about them. They tend to fly under the radar of mainstream collectors and while there are countless SS clones, I can almost guarantee no one is cloning L30/M20 cars! The question is would you go for one of these understated sleepers or spend the extra money to have the flashy and fast SS?

WANT ADS

WANTED 67-69 Chevrolet Camaro Looking for an affordable Camaro in need of resto. Something with a solid frame and cowl. Thanks. Contact

WANTED 1970-1972 Honda N600 or Z600 Rough cars that need restoring or for parts Contact

WANTED 1959 Chevrolet Apache 3200 Fleetside LWB Looking for project truck. Complete vehicle with minimal rust desired. Contact

WANTED 1950-80’s Alfa Romeo , Aston, AC, Ferrari, Iso, Lamborghini, Lancia, Maserati, etc. Also 66 Toronado, 63-5 Riviera, 70-72 Firebird, round headlight Studebaker Avanti, and XK120 SE roadster Any condition, anywhere, instant top cash, finders fee happily paid- thanks! Contact

WANTED 1960-1962 Plymouth Valiant Looking for a running project. 60-61 Valiant. In Ohio, willing to travel out of state. Contact

Submit Your Want Ad

Comments

  1. A.J.

    Could be a very cool car but the photos or lack of make me wonder.

  2. Andrew Franks Member

    I have never been a fan of this body style nor its atrocious ergonomics. The previous iteration was a much more intelligent design. And now, you may all laugh: At one point I had a 1978 Camaro with a 6 Cylinder engine in it, as part payment for a loan in default, and it was one of the best balanced cars I ever drove. If could find another one (I am on the Left Coast where all Camaros have ridiculous huge v8s in them) I’d probably buy it. And I am a Porsche owner as well.

    • Paul

      I don’t think I understand. The 1968 IS a first generation Camaro. The second generation started in 1970, with the split front bumper (one year only).

      • Smackypete

        The split bumper has nothing to do with 1970. It was an option from 70-73.

  3. John Newell

    I wouldn’t touch that car with a barge pole based on only three non-representative photos. Something is wrong with the car and the seller in my view. It’s a low dollar parts car until proven otherwise.

  4. G Stegall

    Perhaps mistakenly, I was under the M20 stood for the Muncie 4 speed.

  5. JW454

    I believe the M20 option designates a Muncie 4 speed not the Saginaw as seen here.

    http://www.348-409.com/rpo1.html

    I think M11 would have been used if it were the Saginaw. As the fresh supply of unmolested iron is running out, I think some Camaro fan will find plenty of justification for spending their hard earned cash on this example.

    • Rocco Member

      No offence, but could the M11 option that states floor shift trans., mean 3-speed Saginaw? Wasn’t the basic stick shift tranny for 6cyl. as well as V8’s a 3-speed Saginaw? I did see a 6cyl. 67-8 Camaro one time that had a 3 on the tree.

      Just $.02 for thought.

    • JW454

      Rocco,

      Your comment got me to thinking and I find you are correct. I pulled out the books and it appears L30 would have had the Saginaw in 1968. That’s what I get for trying to go from memory. Good catch.

      • Rocco Member

        @JW454
        Do you happen to know the answer to my question 4 comments below?

        The Chevy small block 302/327/350 engines went from small journal cranks in ’67, to large journal cranks in ’68. My question is: does the ’67 SS350 Camaro have a small journal crank for 1 year only, since the 350 started life in ’67, or did GM actually start the large journal cranks in ’67 for the SS350 only(maybe the 302 also), with the 327 remaining small journal in ’67? I know it’s confusing, the way I stated it, I just hope you understand my question.

        On another note:
        Am I correct in assuming a factory spin on oil filter denotes a large journal crank, and a canister style oil filter denoting a small journal crank?

        Thanks in advance for any enlightening info on these subjects.

        Read more at http://barnfinds.com/l30-and-m20-1968-camaro-327/#iOEwu3UOUGzokMGK.99

  6. John Newell

    I would too if I could be sure that it wasn’t t boned on the passenger’s side or other serious and expensive problems like holes in the frame from an exploding clutch. Most likely neither of those things happened but you know what I mean. There just isn’t enough of the car that is visible. It’s Charlie Brown and the football thing.

    • Oscarphone

      I’m always very suspicious of an ad that doesn’t have very many pictures. Or pictures that are out of focus or any number of problems that way. Pictures are easy to do with your phone, you can take a billion of them that doesn’t cost you anything except a few extra clicks to put them up in the ad. To put in two or three or four is pretty suspicious. Or extremely lazy which isn’t any good either.

  7. Vince Habel

    Pictures aren’t that good but this one looks like a good one to build on.

  8. Heath

    As the owner of a numbers matching 67 SS350 car, I personally would spend the money on a rough SS or RS car before a clean plain jane. The extra money spent on a desirable car will almost always be returned at sale time. The clones bring decent money, but the real ones can be double or triple that of a non SS.

    Here is more info on the l30/m20 Camaro: http://www.camaros.org/l30m20.shtml#L30

    • Rocco Member

      @ Heath,
      I have a question I’ve always wondered about. You sound like the guy that can answer it.
      The Chevy small block 327/350 engines went from small journal cranks in ’67, to large journal cranks in ’68. My question is: does the ’67 SS350 Camaro have a small journal crank for 1 year only, or did GM actually start the large journal cranks in ’67 for the SS350 only, with the 327 remaining small journal?

      On another note:
      Am I correct in assuming a factory spin on oil filter denotes a large journal crank, and a canister style oil filter denoting a small journal crank?

      Thanks in advance for any enlightening info on these subjects.

    • Tom S.

      Interesting link.

  9. pontiactivist

    M20 is a muncie transmision. Way better that the saginaw. As for the m30 327, great little high winding small block. I stripped out a really rusty rs version of this car years ago. Took the motor and tranny and rear end and transplanted them into an. s-10 short bed. Scary lil pick up after that.

    Like 1
  10. jim s

    it is at $12100 with more then 5 days to go and reserve not met. this is going to be interesting to watch. nice find

  11. Alan (Michigan)

    Certainly, some “Whole car”, or at least full sides and ends photos would be very desirable for anyone with more than a passing interest.
    A couple of things I don’t get:
    Why anyone selling on eBay would insist on using all caps.
    Why anyone selling on eBay would not formulate the ad copy in another program, limiting the number of characters per line, so that it can actually be read with scrolling back and forth.
    Why anyone selling on eBay would not divide the information into paragraph form so that highlights could be pointed out, instead of hidden in with all the jumble of barely readable text.

    As for the car, what is the top value for one of these, in immaculate running condition? Seems to me that it is already half way there, without spending the big bucks on the restoration. I like the car, and appreciate the small block/4 speed/12 bolt combination. And I’ve always liked the more vocal colors, as in this one’s “Look at Me” green.

    Petoskey is too far for me to just go and have a look for any of the really interested BF faithful, or I’d offer a PI.

    • Rancho Bella

      There is a 1967 Camaro on Ebay in San Diego (SS/RS) for just a drop under 30K………….anyone would be better off buying it.
      Thinking of it………..that 1967 is twenty miles from me and it is driving mad as I resist going to look at it. It is Butternut yellow with Butternut yellow interior, four speed, 350
      And bone dry. Sorry, didn’t mean to hijack the topic.

      • Rancho Bella

        Geez………I posted this and I look this morning on Ebay…………the Butternut car was sold.

  12. GreaserMatt

    I love it; love the color too…

    • GreaserMatt

      Oops; meant to put that next to my name, LOL… never post on a board when your drunk, LOL..

  13. Don Barzini

    To answer your question, I’d be fine with the understated sleeper but agree with the posters that the ad’s omissions are puzzling and troubling. I am drawn more towards the ads that provide full disclosure and reveal the car’s shortcomings.

  14. Jeff Myers

    Agree…potential for hidden issues is there.
    But assuming it’s as nice as it appears,
    I’d say it’s a pretty good deal at $13K.
    Having owned a 1st gen since new,
    I’ve watched values for long time.

  15. TimS

    i owned a 68 Camaro many yeas ago and always look for another one. This one gets a big bonus just having the correct motor and 4 speed. I’ve seen many Camaros either converted from 6cyl to V8 and all kind of column to floor shift saws-all hacks. Nothing I hate more than a BandM shifter. I really like this car with higher HP 327 and factory 4 speed. I’l bet is sells over $20k.

  16. Chris

    The “M20” code isn’t just Nth American GM, we got it here in Aus for the wide ratio.
    Aussie 4 speed that Holden used for many years.
    M21 was the close ratio ‘box, and M22 was the w-i-d-e ratio with a low first gear.

    End of boring trivia from down under.

  17. Cameron Bater UK

    Someone once said to me I have High octane fuel in my veins and N2o isntead of testostrone, I have mellowed since but I still love good US Muscle names like Els Camino, SS and Z28 all scream to me but are also very expensive.
    I’d buy one of these and I think keep it as a sleeper.
    I’d also imagine if you put some british fuel in this thing you could get it up to 300, maybe even 325 hp output.

  18. fred

    The ss 350 ‘s ALL including the 67s were 2.45 journals (considered large at the time).
    I own one now and two in the past ; 1966 build dates .All three motors were professionally rebuilt using the original large journal forged cranks.
    The 3892657 casting (blocks) used for 302 , 327 and 350 in 67 were machined for large journals in the 350 motors.

  19. fred

    In addition to my previous comment regarding journal size in the ’67 ss 350 motors, they all came with the “canister style” oil filter. ’67 was the last year for this style filter although there is a retrofit adapter available for those who wish to convetrt to a ” spin on “.

  20. Rocco Member

    @Fred
    Thanks for the info on the small journal vs. large journal questions.
    Sorry for the late response, but I just saw it via a comment from the BF e-mail updates.

  21. Rick Frederick

    I have an original L30M20 RS Convertible Camaro. Bought it in Jan of 1969. 11k mi. It is a numbers matching car.
    the Option was unique and included the 327cid 275HP 4bbl Rochester Carb., multileaf rear leaf springs, 4sp HD Saginaw trans., ventilated drum brakes, front/rear brake valve and posi rear. The motor trans combination was said to have been waht was intended to be the 67SS but when Ford came out witht he 351 cid in the Mustang GM stroked the 327 to 350 and tweaked it. Both motors have neary identical HP and Torque curves but he 327 rev’s higher in reality. Yes the M20 in this car was a HD Saginaw and I can tell you from experience Not strong enough to handle the torque. i pulled mine in 74 for a Borg Warner Super T10.
    It has really taken off in collecting as everyone has an SS or SS clone.
    in its stock condition it screams.. with a little tweaking…headers, exhaust, intake and better Holly Carb., really can take much “bigger-Hiher HP” muscle cars of the era. I know I did. Still have the car and will hand it dowm to my daughter when I kick. 10.0:1 pistons 2 bolt main by the way. Never dyno’d it though.
    if you could still get it…buy it.

    • Rocco Member

      The 350ci chebby was introduced in ’67(’67 SS350 camaro). Ford’s 351ci in ’69.
      In this case, chebby was first, by 2 years.

  22. Maestro1

    Oscarphone, I agree with you. I am also not a Camaro fan which is not important.
    I think sellers really need some help from people in the Hobby to explain to them how important it is to put as many pictures as possible including the car’s bones (underneath) so potential buyers can have a good grasp of the proposition.
    And for God’s Sake be honest. Tell the truth about the car. Because it will be discovered anyway during the purchase period. I am not in the Hobby for the money but if you are, attach a price that’s realistic and leave the greed at home.
    Sellers, be patient. Don’t pay for an ad once and expect results. Let it run for awhile and see what the reactions are like. And clean the car up and make it nice. Nothing sells like shine.

Leave A Comment

RULES: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks.

Become a member to add images to your comments.

*

Keep me in the conversation via email. Or subscribe without commenting.