Before I tell you about how I found the camaro's original drive train, I want to tell you story of how the original owner and a 69 RS/SS L 78 camaro came together. It was Dec. of 1968 and Bill Floyd was living on the central Oregon coast and looking to buy new tri power Corvette. His dealer was Southwestern motors and they told Bill they couldn't get
him one. After hearing this Bill ask them to get him the "biggest motor he could get in a Camaro". 360 miles away in Burns, Oregon sat a new rallye green 69 Camaro RS/SS 396/375 HP in Ganger & Grover Motors. Southwestern pulled the car for Bill. Years later in 1991 I asked Bill if he knew about the 427's the factory was putting in the camaro's back then, he said if he had known he would have ordered one. Bill named the Camaro " thunder" because of the L 78 running through those chambered exhast. He said he could take out anyone on a rolling start, you see the car only had a non posi BN rear with 3:55.
My involvement with the L 78 camaro started in July of 1990, a co worker owned the camaro and this time the motor and trans had been pulled and sitting on the floor of the garage. I bought the car for $3500. in July 1990. By now the motor and trans were replaced. The camaro had a L78 from a 68 chevelle "EG" the 4 speed replaced with a TH 400. Now began the hunt for original motor and 4 speed. At this point I knew noting about the owners or history of this Camaro.So where to start,I knew the co worker bought it in Beaverton, Oregon. I called the Oregon DMV ( Department of Motor Vehicles) paid them $24 and the cars VIN numbers a week later received all the owners information ie. regstration paper, the dealers transferring the car for Bill and the like. A gold mind of information. This was my starting point for finding the original motor an 4 speed. I wanted to try for the motor first, so I called the owners starting with the last owner and working forward. About the 4th or 5th owner spun the crank shaft on the L 78 and the motor ended up in Roseburg, Oregon in a 69 chevelle. I talked to the guy that fixed the engine and put it in the chevelle. He stated he sold the chevelle to his paper boy some years ago. I asked for the vin or plate number, and proceeded to DMV the chevelle. After receiving the paper work, I contacted the last owner first. He still had the car, and the engine was sitting in his barn out of the car.We agreed on a price an away I went. This odyssey, time wise was about 4 or 5 months of work with lots of time on the phone. Now for the 4 speed, since I made lots of connections looking for the motor I used some of the same people on this hunt. Now mind you this was 15 years after the drive train left the camaro, but I was full of confidence after finding the original engine.The previous owners all lived in small towns and for the most part knew each other so that help a lot. After a few months one of the owners directed me to two brothers that were into off road 4 wheel drive racing or some thing like that. Years ago they ended up with the camaro's 4 speed. I talked to one of the brothers several times over a period of 4 months. At times he he gave me some good information and other times he was to busy to talk and could care less. Think I wore him out and he finally said, if I find out were the trans went what are you going to do for me.... I'll give you $100.00 for information on who has it I said. He said to give him 2 weeks then call him back. I called 2 weeks later and he had all the information I needed.... phone numbers, address, and names. I asked him where to send the money, he said don't worry about it just keep it. Wow, I caught him on a good day you just never know about some people, but that's how it works. I then called my best new buddy, the owner of the 68 camaro that I think my trans is in. Brenda was the owner name, and she owned a 68 camaro RS/SS 396 car, that may have my 4 speed.I contacted Brenda about the trans in her camaro after a few months of talking I went down there to look at her 68's 4 speed.I ran it up on my ramps to check the numbers out, what I saw was P9M19 plus the cast numbers, 3925660,3857584,3950306, but no vin stamp. I went home unsure if it was my 4 speed. After 5 months Brenda agreed to having me pay for a replacement 4 speed for her 68 camaro. I would come down (4 hour drive one way ) swap out the 4 speeds and give her $100.00 for the her time. My brother and I went down to Coquille, Oregon pulled the trans out and cleaned off the top and there was my camaros vin stamp on top. After all the trials and tribulations it was all worth it in the end.