Stored 26 Years: 1971 Chevrolet Camaro SS 396

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The second-generation Chevy Camaro was delayed by several months in getting to market in 1970. The design was sleeker than before, so you would expect sales to increase, right? But they didn’t. They dropped by 50% from 1969 to 1970 (in part because the ’69 run was for 15 months). And the almost unchanged ’71s fell by another eight percent. That should make a 1971 Camaro SS 396 a harder car to find today as compared to its 1969 counterpart. This example has been in storage since 1997 but made road-worthy once again. Located in Owego, New York, this solid Chevy is available here on eBay where $19,000 is not enough to trigger the seller’s reserve.

Chevrolet delivered about 10,000 fewer Camaros in 1971 compared to 1970. And just 8,400 of the sold cars were the Super Sport (Z27 option package). Within that group, only 1,500 were purchased with the LS3 396 Turbo-Jet V8 that produced 300 hp. But was that engine actually 402 cubic inches which was the case when you ordered the 396 in a Chevelle from the same model year? As the seller says this ‘71 Camaro is numbers matching, we’d have to assume that few of these hot rods have survived in this condition over the last 52 years.

For reasons not mentioned, this Camaro went into hibernation in 1997. Apparently, it weathered its isolation well though some work was needed to get it going again. New parts include completely new brakes, a water pump, a timing chain and gears, and an alternator. While they were at it, a cam kit was added to give the motor a bit of boost. At 46,000 miles, no mention is made as to whether the TH-400 automatic transmission needed any work, although it sports a shiny new chrome pan.

The body and paint seem to have held up and the seller says none of the sheet metal panels have ever been replaced (but what about the hood?). The passenger compartment will need some help in that the seats should be redone, and a new headliner installed. But all that adds up to little outstanding work needed on an auto that was in hiding for decades. The wheels are aftermarket, but the tires have a worn tread pattern that suggests the front end needs an alignment (if not already done).

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  1. Maggy

    This looks like it was somebody’s early 80’s high school sweetheart in the day long before it was parked. Car looks solid.Still has oe brake and fuel lines and under carriage looks nice.I wouldn’t pull a TJ Hooker with those tires though.I like it brings back memories of younger more simpler times.I’m thinkin 25k if all checks out good and what I can see by the pics. Nice car.Now if it was a 4 speed whoah nelly.glwts.

    Like 15
    • PRA4SNW

      Maggy, I was thinking the same thing. Brings me back to my late ’70’s high school parking lot. So many Camaros like this, I always thought they were sharp looking.

      Later, in ’81, I bought a new one – not a speed demon, but I clearly liked the shape.

      Like 3
  2. Bud Lee

    I’d like to see that engine bay in it’s stock form. I’ve never seen one of these with a factory big block. But I do like this car.

    Like 3
  3. Melton Mooney

    Strange no pics of the cowl tag, or the matching #s that would authenticate the car. Second cool camaro today with a grisly paint job. That said, I really want a 70-72 Z27 BB camaro. Might never happen what with the state of things, but hoping.

    Like 4
    • John

      Yeah… Numbers car, SS, BB and under 20k$ ??? Something smells rotten in NY… JMO

      Like 3
  4. Al camino

    I would put the split bumpers on this,the full bumper doesn’t look right after you see the split ones beside that cool ride

    Like 3
    • John

      Well if it’s really a numbers car and you go change anything other than making it showroom…. Wow that’s blasphemy in my book… HhhhaaAa

      Like 2
    • PRA4SNW

      There is an orange split bumper, not sure of the year, sitting in the lot of a repair garage close by. It must be waiting its turn to get ready for spring cruising.

      I can’t help but stare at it every time I drive by.

      Like 0
    • IROC Drew

      I agree a split bumper would look great but only on a true RS car as the rally’s sport also had the round parking lamps along side the head lights which enhances the split bumper look. Nothing I hate more than a non-RS with split bumpers.

      Like 2
  5. KC JohnMember

    What a flashback. Nose up attitude. Giant yellow Accel coil. It’s a throwback and a dang cool one. Love the big block SS Camaro. Glwts

    Like 5
  6. Eric

    love the big bone cragers…had exact ones on a 78 z28 in high school 1989…

    Like 4
  7. Todd

    Needs a Baldwin Motion style side stripe and some side pipes

    Like 5
    • Rw

      It needs a new set of tires check out them vintage BFGs

      Like 1
    • Melton Mooney

      Did you notice the sidepipe bracket still welded to the sill in one of the pics? Kinda makes you wonder…

      Like 2
  8. John M.Stecz

    Pretty rare , if it’s numbers matching. To bad it’s not a 4 speed

    Like 2
  9. Richard McBride

    Very nice

    Like 1
  10. Mitch

    I don’t know a factory 396 with a 10 bolt rear end and the seller has only owned it for a year and he says it’s numbers matching, to me it doesn’t add up, it is a nice driver but I wouldn’t pay much more than where it’s at now!!!!

    Like 3
    • John W Kriegshauser

      The 1970 Camaro SS came with a 12 bolt rear axle regardless if it was a 350 or a 396. In 1971 and following to the end of this generation Camaro in 1981, the 10 bolt rear axle was all you got.

      Like 7
  11. 8banger 8bangerMember

    The vintage EQ does it for me. Nice!

    Like 3
  12. Mark

    These automatic cars came with 10 bolt rear, 4 speed had the 12 bolt. I have a 71 SS Camaro 396/402 bought in 1978, restoring now

    Like 2
  13. Kelly Waldrop

    Like my 72 396/402 4 speed with POP and build sheet. Owned 5 years.Would take a lot to pry it from me.

    Like 1
  14. Patrick

    The popularity of 70.5 is really puzzling to me. My ideal muscle car is a 70.5 Z/28 RS Split bumpers short tail, M22 4spd. 12 bolt.

    The previous Camaro production run basically 1966-69 upto early 70. And the freshness of the second gen cararo is so appealing to me.

    Like 1
  15. C Force

    Looking at the engine photo i’d say theres more than a cam upgrade,the aluminum intake is for the 1500-6500rpm range,aftermarket carb and headers,probably making closer to 400hp,great looking survivor

    Like 0

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