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Author Topic: TRIALS AND TRIBULATION OF FINDING ORIGINAL DRIVE TRAIN OF 69 CAMARO L 78  (Read 1544 times)
VINCE Z28
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« on: April 13, 2014, 09:49:15 PM »

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.
« Last Edit: April 13, 2014, 10:51:21 PM by VINCE Z28 » Logged

" He who knows naught, knows not that he knows naught"  It's not you...  It's just the way my brain is wired.
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« Reply #1 on: April 13, 2014, 09:56:39 PM »

a VERY neat story, Vince..  with an even happier ending. Smiley   I TRUST you still have the car and the parts are all married back together?  Smiley
NOW.  we need the REST of the story.. Smiley

PS.  Back in the day, after driving an L78 4sp in a chevelle with headers, I thought there couldn't possibly be any need for more power than that... Those things are stump pullers with HORSEpower to burn. Smiley
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Gary W.  /  69Z28-RS, 72 B 720 cowl console rosewood all tint
69 Corvette convertible, silver/black 350 hp,
60 Corvette white/red, 72 Corvette coupe (2), 
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« Reply #2 on: April 13, 2014, 09:59:38 PM »

Vince, That is awesome, to say the least. I really dig these tales and what tenacity it took, but success in the end. Just love it. Make sure and post us some pics when you have time. I am especially interested in 69 BB Camaros...High horse even better! Wink
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Putting you First...Keeps me First. Talent on loan from God. Helping the hobbyist and exposing the fraud
1969 SS/RS 396 coupe Hugger Orange X22 712 bought in 79
1969 SS 350 coupe LeMans Blue 713 bought in 79
1969 307 4spd. coupe Daytona Yellow 711 bought in 85
VINCE Z28
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« Reply #3 on: April 13, 2014, 10:43:43 PM »

Hi Gary the good news was I had the motor and trans rebuilt, and years before striped the paint and had it in primer. The not so good news for me was I lost my job of 25 years and went to college for 2 years in 2009 the L78 had to go. Sold it to a guy in west Virginia. He had Jerry M. come out and checked the car out before he bought it. So I hope he got it all together. I have original pictures of it back in the day from original owner, plus lots of pictures when it sold it in 2009.
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BULLITT65
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« Reply #4 on: April 13, 2014, 11:04:00 PM »

man, all that work.... You should have just re-stamped everything to match the car.....Just kidding Vince. What a story, kind of a sad story seeing how you had to part with the car in the end. Do you keep in touch with the guy you sold the car to?
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1969 garnet red Z/28 46k mile unrestored X77
Looking for 3192477 (front) spiral shocks 3192851 (rear) please
Looking for an original LOF soft ray windshield
Looking for original Delco side post negative battery cable part # 6297651AV
VINCE Z28
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« Reply #5 on: April 14, 2014, 12:37:15 AM »

I have not talk to him since I sold it. He said he was going to get a starter from Jerry M. But Jerry said he hadn't heard from him. I was going through some paper work and found Mike's phone number I'll give him a call, and see what's happen with the car.   
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« Reply #6 on: April 14, 2014, 06:38:16 AM »

A couple of comments: Sad ending, Vince. I lost my job of 15 years at 40 years old went back and got a Bachelors degree. That and $1 will buy me a cup of coffee. When you lost your job, it sounds like you could/should have started a detective agency with your prowess for tracking down information. You said you recently came upon the phone number of the buyer of your car from 2009, how do you keep track of that stuff?? I can't find a phone number after, say, a day!!?lol
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Putting you First...Keeps me First. Talent on loan from God. Helping the hobbyist and exposing the fraud
1969 SS/RS 396 coupe Hugger Orange X22 712 bought in 79
1969 SS 350 coupe LeMans Blue 713 bought in 79
1969 307 4spd. coupe Daytona Yellow 711 bought in 85
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« Reply #7 on: April 14, 2014, 10:58:05 AM »

Love the story Vince.  Too bad in the end it had to be sold.
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VINCE Z28
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« Reply #8 on: April 14, 2014, 12:08:00 PM »

I still have my black 69 I've owned since 1977. Non matching numbers it's my club events, small car shows driver car. I can't say I miss the L 78 that much, at the time I sold it I was restoring a 69 chevelle SS. The bright spot in selling the L 78 the buyer paid a high price for it.
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« Reply #9 on: April 14, 2014, 12:57:04 PM »

Thats a nice one to have fun with. Any pics of the L78 you sold?
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1969 garnet red Z/28 46k mile unrestored X77
Looking for 3192477 (front) spiral shocks 3192851 (rear) please
Looking for an original LOF soft ray windshield
Looking for original Delco side post negative battery cable part # 6297651AV
VINCE Z28
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« Reply #10 on: April 14, 2014, 01:52:02 PM »

Yes here are some pic in 69 when Bill still owned it.
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VINCE Z28
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« Reply #11 on: April 14, 2014, 01:54:55 PM »

One more.
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« Reply #12 on: April 14, 2014, 02:54:07 PM »

Sweeet!! (both cars) I love Big Blocks though.
Vince, you really started something. I have to tell you, but I do not want to Hi-Jack your thread. After reading about your chasing down of your components, It planted a "seed". I posted a pic on Craigslist last night of my flamed car asking if anyone knew any information about the car? Already, today, just minutes ago, a guy called and told me he owned the car around 1977-78. He traded it to a High School buddy for a Nova. He gave me that guys name as well. I am thinking that the guy (Nova owner) sold it to the guy I got the car from. I spoke with that owner back in the fall after an old friend gave me his name and the lead. This guy (one who had car when I found it)told me he traded a motorcycle for the Camaro. You see, when I found the car, I already had the Blue one and spent everything I hadon that car buying parts each week. So, when the flamed car came along, I did not have the money. My best friend, at the time, bought it and I paid him back. He had the car put in his name, so that is where the trail ended for so many years. Now, I have contacted the guy who had car when I found it and the owner 2 before, I believe? and have a name of the guy in between. This is getting interesting. this guy I talked to today said the guy he bought it from may have been the original owner, but he could not remember his name. He also has only one picture of the car from when he owned it.
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Putting you First...Keeps me First. Talent on loan from God. Helping the hobbyist and exposing the fraud
1969 SS/RS 396 coupe Hugger Orange X22 712 bought in 79
1969 SS 350 coupe LeMans Blue 713 bought in 79
1969 307 4spd. coupe Daytona Yellow 711 bought in 85
BULLITT65
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« Reply #13 on: April 14, 2014, 03:35:32 PM »

Very good James, now you have something to do while your car is at the shop!
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1969 garnet red Z/28 46k mile unrestored X77
Looking for 3192477 (front) spiral shocks 3192851 (rear) please
Looking for an original LOF soft ray windshield
Looking for original Delco side post negative battery cable part # 6297651AV
VINCE Z28
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« Reply #14 on: April 14, 2014, 03:36:39 PM »

Hey James, I started the thread to inspire you guys to post and share your stories as well. Mine is just one of many out there and I'm glad you got some news on your car. I  was lucky to get people to work with me finding the L 78 motor and trans and now days without the States DMV giving up the information on our cars it's even harder. James keep pushing those guys on your cars information don't give up. Here are some pic when I sold it.
« Last Edit: April 14, 2014, 04:46:25 PM by VINCE Z28 » Logged

" He who knows naught, knows not that he knows naught"  It's not you...  It's just the way my brain is wired.
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