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Author Topic: 1967 396  (Read 11527 times)
coopeshack
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« on: February 18, 2007, 07:21:01 PM »

After the introduction of the camaro in August of 1966, does anyone know what month the 396 engines became available as an option? I've read in 2 different restoration manuals it was the end of November. One even went as far as saying November 26th. But then I've read on the team camaro site guys swearing up and down not till after the first of 1967. If anyone knows for sure please let me know. thanks
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1968RSZ28
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« Reply #1 on: February 19, 2007, 03:52:25 AM »

Hi and Welcome -

   According to Michael Antonick's "Camaro White Book" the 396 engine was added in November 1966.  Here's the link I found it at:

http://www.holisticpage.com/camaro/story/67facts.htm

I also looked in an original issue 1967 Camaro sales brochure I have and the 396 engine is not listed on the "Power Team Combinations" pages.  Neither is the 302 engine.

However, on a 1967 Camaro power teams chart (engines, transmissions, & axle ratios) I have the 396 engine is listed.  The dating on this chart states "Revised January, 1967."  Still no 302 engine listed.  Hope this helps.

Paul    
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coopeshack
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« Reply #2 on: February 19, 2007, 09:02:25 AM »

Thanks, I guess that confirms what I've been thinking all along. I just wasn't 100% sure.
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Mr12771
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« Reply #3 on: February 19, 2007, 02:35:59 PM »

I asked this question a few years ago. If I remember right CRG has no cars in the database earlier then January.

 The question to ask was, once the cars were available to order how long did it take to fill an order?

Mike
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coopeshack
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« Reply #4 on: February 19, 2007, 04:11:13 PM »

I agree, a person does have to take into account how long from when GM gets an order till when the order is actually built.
I know that today for instance if you ordered a vehicle the average time could be 4 to 6 weeks, sometimes longer. But in actuality, I would think there are circumstances where the dealer could call in to the factory trying to push an order thru faster. So who knows if there could be a few big block camaros out there built before January 1st. But like you said, as of now there aren't any in the data base.
   Thanks for the input guys.
   
   Kerry
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KurtS
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« Reply #5 on: February 20, 2007, 03:04:12 PM »

That is incorrect.
There were no 396 cars built before January 67. None.
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Kurt S
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Ron C.
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« Reply #6 on: February 20, 2007, 03:41:10 PM »

Kurt,I have rememberd someone saying that Bill (grumpy) Jenkins actually got the first L78 396 cars for raceing, I wonder if those were acually the first big block cars even before the L35 option cars were out because the drag raceing season started in december 66 at pamona.Just a thought Huh
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sam
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« Reply #7 on: February 20, 2007, 03:58:03 PM »

The 1967 NHRA Winternationals at Pomona started January 31 to February 2nd.
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Ron C.
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« Reply #8 on: February 20, 2007, 04:00:04 PM »

Ok I thought it was December but maybe thats why January is key to the release of the 396 in the camaro.
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sam
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« Reply #9 on: February 20, 2007, 04:09:47 PM »

Ron I am wrong. Feb.3,4,5. in 1967. I was giving you 1969 dates.  Sorry!  I probably have the results also. I have many National Dragsters from that time period. Grump says the 67 camaro did not run till the Spingnationals of 67. Sam
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KurtS
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« Reply #10 on: February 21, 2007, 03:13:21 AM »

The L35's were available for a few months before the L78's were released.
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Kurt S
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« Reply #11 on: February 21, 2007, 07:59:32 AM »

sometimes you wonder what GM was thinking with the new camaro, haveing to supply racing teams with the Z/28 in december and drag racing teams for the new season and im sure the camaro was picked early enough to be the official pace car,they must of had their hands full from december thru jan and febuary because the L78 was slated for the actual pace car or cars i think there were 2 with the L78, and the drag teams so they must have been planning the intro of the 396 in the camaro late 66? Kurt does anyone know when grumpy got the first L78?
« Last Edit: February 21, 2007, 08:02:42 AM by Ron 69RSZ » Logged

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sam
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« Reply #12 on: February 21, 2007, 08:47:20 AM »

Actually there is a real good DVD out called The Ultimate Bow-Tie Muscle Video. Wayne Totaro is the producer. His company is called First Class Video Productions, Inc. in Baltimore, Maryland. There is a nice interview with Grump answering the questions that are being asked here. Jerry M. has a couple cameo appearances on this DVD as well. Gives you a ride in 2 of his cars. Worth getting!  Sam
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Charley
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« Reply #13 on: February 21, 2007, 09:57:00 AM »

My pace car is a 03C car and I think Grumpys car was about a month later.
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Jerry@CHP
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« Reply #14 on: February 21, 2007, 10:53:45 PM »

The Jenkins car was an 03C or D.  Joe Tryson, Bill's right hand man at the time picked this car up at the GM Tech Center and drove it back to Jenkins' shop in Malvern, PA with factory 4.56 gears and no heater!  When I was at Jenkin's shop in 1993, he showed me paperwork for the 375 HP program, and said that his car was the first L78.  Jenkins worked with Vince Piggins and Paul Prior to get this engine program going for the newly created NHRA Super Stock class.  Without a doubt, if not for Bill Jenkins, there would not be a 396-375hp Camaro.  He is the one who worked with GM and got it built.  And as many of you Camaro enthusiasts should know, Jenkins won the NHRA US Nationals in Sept 1967, Super Stock Class crushing all of the competition.  Ben Wenzel won the NHRA Stock Eliminator class at the same race.

I think this says it all.  The 1967 Camaro was on the map in the world of motorsports when it debuted.

Jerry     
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Ron C.
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« Reply #15 on: February 22, 2007, 07:48:51 AM »

Thanks Jerry,I wasnt sure who told me he got the first one but im sure it was you! See ya at carlisle!! Grin
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« Reply #16 on: February 22, 2007, 09:45:09 AM »

Jerry,
        Was the Jenkins 67 car picked up at the GM Tech Center or the Norwood assembly plant?
I asked Bill J this at Carlise when he was with the car on display and he said he was not sure.

If it was the Tech Center, was it built from a SS350?
 If it was factory assembled L78 it would have come from Norwood I would think but I guess could have been sent to Tech Center for some reason.
 
I know there are well known stories of Corvettes picked up right off the assembly line to get the cars as soon as possible to start the race prep.

That is a great Camaro.
« Last Edit: February 22, 2007, 09:46:47 AM by JoeC » Logged
Jerry@CHP
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« Reply #17 on: February 22, 2007, 10:16:55 PM »

Joe,

The Jenkins 375 horse Camaro was picked up at the GM Tech Center.  Bill was very clear about that in 1993, and he has paperwork from engineering about the car and L78 program.  He also states this in the Ultimate Bow-Tie Muscle video that was released back in the mid 1990's.  Very good video on these Camaros!  The big joke was J. Tryson picked up the car at the tech center in late March and drove it back to PA in the cold without a heater and 4.56s.

This was a factory built L78 and was picked up at the TC because it was the first one.  Engineering spent some extra time with this car and its assembly because of the Jenkin's agenda and what it was going to be used for.  Has a 4P on the tag like the early Z28s.  I have the original title work for the car and it did go through Ammon R. Smith.  Also remember that this dealership got a lot of "first of" cars.............remember the Z11 '63 Chevrolets, A.R. Smith got the first one of these too.

Jerry
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Charley
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« Reply #18 on: February 23, 2007, 12:43:55 AM »

What is the vin on Grumpys car ? I made my statement based on KurtS saying my Pace Car was built before Grumpys car. Until he told me that I had never paid any attention to just how early my car was. If I'm incorrect in my statement I would like to get it cleared up.
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Jerry@CHP
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« Reply #19 on: February 23, 2007, 08:47:16 AM »

Charlie,

I didn't want to post the vin on a public site as this helps counterfieters.  And as we know, the bogus trim tags and cars are out of control.  I know that it's very close to you car and as we know with these special new production vehicles such as yours and the Jenkins piece, both could have been built very close together.  I had also spoke with Paul Prior many times about these issues and Z28s when I was writing my books.  Paul always referred to Jenkins as a "back door employee" at GM.

I do not think the vin tells you if a car is earliers than another if they are very close.  I suspect the body numbers are more telling than vins.  And in the case of your car and the Jenkins car, yours is a convertible and his is a coupe.  John Z can probable shed more light on specialty situations like this and when they were built.  In a situation where you picked up a car at the Tech Center from the engineers at GM, this would lead me to believe that this car was a one of at the time. 

Jerry
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Mr12771
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« Reply #20 on: February 23, 2007, 09:29:56 AM »

So if Jenkins car was the first 375hp car with a date around 03 C or D. What about the 325hp cars is there any earlier than March?

Mike
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Jerry@CHP
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« Reply #21 on: February 23, 2007, 09:31:27 AM »

Yes, Kurt stated January is the earliest that we have in the DB.

Jerry
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Charley
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« Reply #22 on: February 23, 2007, 02:21:42 PM »

   So far I have my car as a 03C car and Grumpys car as a 03D car. I also have my vin being about 2400 cars earlier. I don't have Grumpys body # to compare but I would assume that a 2400 car spread in the vin and 03C versus 03D would put my car earlier. I also would assume that GM doing their Pace car program would have more importance to them than getting a car to a outside drag racer.  It might be that my Pace car and the backup Pace car were the first built L78's  but the Grumpy car was the first built to be sold to the public.
   I also have a very hard time believing that Vince Piggins and Chevrolet couldn't come up with a 375 hp Camaro if ut were not for Grumpy. I don't want to discount any of Grumpys accomplishments but the statement that Chevrolet would never have done a 375 hp Camaro if not for Grumpy is very hard to swallow.
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ccargo
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« Reply #23 on: February 24, 2007, 07:45:46 PM »

A couple questions here:

Where was the engineering/tech center located and what was its official department name?

Since the L78 RPO in the two factory built 1967 Pace Cars have been common public knowledge for a couple decades including the Fisher build date body number and GM assigned VIN, do any 67 L78 RPO authenticated camaros pre-date these two examples by either Fisher or GM standards?

____Yes     ____No
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paceme
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« Reply #24 on: February 24, 2007, 08:21:48 PM »

Pat to my knowledge the L78 pace cars were the first, as Charley pointed out.
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JohnZ
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« Reply #25 on: February 25, 2007, 10:45:15 AM »

A couple questions here:

Where was the engineering/tech center located and what was its official department name?

The Chevrolet Engineering Center was located on the east side of the General Motors Technical Center, on Van Dyke Road in Warren, Michigan; I worked there for many years.
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« Reply #26 on: February 25, 2007, 04:21:52 PM »


Charlie,

While I do understand what you are saying in regards about a week's difference in the B/D's, there were special circumstances which led me to believe that there is more to it than a build date and vin #.  When I was at Jenkin's shop back in 1993, he showed me a confidential file on the L78 program.  I was allowed to copy some of the dealer invoices from his personal cars but he was reluctant to let me have copies of this file.  Maybe because they were confidential GM files?  I don't know.  I was there and I know what I saw, and I have no reason to make this up.  Also factor in that I logged a lot of phone time with Paul Prior back in those days and much of what Paul told me was echoed with Jenkin's comments.  For those who don't know, Paul Prior was an engineer who worked with Vince Piggins during the 1950s and 60s and was very involved with high performance cars built during the 1960s. 

It is a well known fact that most factory high performance cars were built just for certain types of motorsports.  Z28s were built for trans am racing, Super Birds were built for NASCAR, and so on.  If you look at the history books, many factory hot rods were built for just drag racing..........and the 375 horse Camaro was no exception.  Couple that with the ZL1, Chrysler Hemi cars, Ford Thunder bolts, Z11 Chevrolets and so on.  The main agenda with the L78 was for NHRA.  I'm sure that working in concert with the Pace Car program was also a factor at that time.  But remember this, GM was not going to sell a lot of 375 horse Camaros by having two pace cars go around the track before the 1967 Indy-500. 

What GM and car enthusiasts wanted during the late 1960s was to see these cars perform at the race track, and win.  And winning at big NHRA events was what it was all about back then too.  Do you not remember the slogan "race on Sunday, sell on Monday"?  Many dealerships used this to sell HP cars.  There were about 55,000 people who attended the 1967 NHRA US Nationals, so even if you're not a big fan or historian of drag racing, it was a big deal to win this race, just as it was with any of the other types of motorsports back then.  Look through many of the old hot rod magazines from the 1960s.  That "drag car" of Bill Jenkins was in just about every magazine back then!  Were there many articles or ink on the 1967 Indy Pace cars?     

I am surprised at your comments about Bill Jenkins.  He was much more than a drag racer.  He is a living legend in motorsports.  Jenkins was a racer, an engineer, an engine builder and he worked with GM for many years in R&D.  I think many on this forum will agree that there is probably no one who did more for the small block Chevrolet than Bill Jenkins.  Couple this with all of the FACTORY sponsored high performance clinics that racers such as Bill Jenkins, Dave Strickler, Ronnie Sox, and Buddy Martin put on during the late 1960s.  I was there!  It was people like this, along with factory backing that helped sell these cars to the younger generation!  So, if you think that building a car for NHRA with the help of Bill Jenkins is a little hard to swallow, then it's my opinion that you are extremely misguided, and lived in a shell during the late 1960s. 

John Z, can you add anything here to what I've written?  You were there and can maybe add more to what I am trying to say here.   

Jerry


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Charley
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« Reply #27 on: February 25, 2007, 05:38:25 PM »

 You are stating the obvious. I have no idea why Chevrolet built 375 hp Pace cars but I know they did.  All data I have so far indicates the Pace cars were built before Grumpys car. I'm just trying to figure this out but you seem to want to keep your info secret. We all know Grumpy was a important guy but we also know that Chevrolet was already building and using high hp big blocks in other models. I also have no doubt that Grumpy was working with Chevrolet on stuff but your statement that there would be no 375HP Camaro without Grumpy is just plain stupid. Do you think really think that even though Chevrolet had a low hp 396 in a Camaro they would never put a high hp 396 in it without Grumpy ? Amazing.
  I won't mind if it is proven that Grumpys car was a earlier built L78 but it would be nice to have facts and not just drag racing history.
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« Reply #28 on: February 25, 2007, 08:00:18 PM »

I am not trying to keep anything secret.  If I knew all the answers that surround the rare factory built cars I would share that with everyone.  What I am saying is there is more to the story because of paperwork that exists.  What we know for sure is all three cars were shipped to the Tech Center after they were built.  Do the pace cars have an earlier vin, yes they do but there is more to learn. 

We all know that 375 horse engines were already around but there were guidelines that were followed by GM that related horsepower to weight ratios.  Professional racers did influence the big three.  Did B. Jenkins have anything to do with the L78 program, yes he did.  In some cases, racers like Bill Jenkins and dealerships like Yenko Chevrolet, and Fred Gibb Chevrolet did influence GM on what they built during the late 1960s.

As a rule, I always try to deal in the facts, that is why I took the time to write the books that I've published.  They are now going into a new revised 4th edition this spring.  I have always tried to help the Camaro community and will continue to do so in years to come.     

Jerry 
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sam
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« Reply #29 on: February 25, 2007, 08:38:51 PM »

In my opinion, Jenkins was to GM as Mickey Mantle was to Baseball. I would also be hard pressed not to believe if Grump really stuck with the Hemi program that Sox and Martin would have been chasing him. Jenkins just knows how things are suppose to work. All I can tell ya. Smiley
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« Reply #30 on: February 26, 2007, 09:59:43 AM »

Charley and Jeff:
Simply put, posts like the ones I just deleted are not appropriate and will not be allowed on this site.
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« Reply #31 on: February 26, 2007, 10:27:51 AM »

Thanks Kurt. 
I really just thought that because those 2 67 track cars did not leave the factory
with the L78 engines. Technically they were not.
Really the first L78 might actually be the #3 car owned by PR down here in Florida.
Athough those 2 pace cars have HUGE historical significance - really they are not L78"s.

GM can plan to do somthing, but if they never left production that way - they are not.

When I last saw the track car - it had a cast iron intake and soft lifters. the way it originally was.
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paceme
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« Reply #32 on: February 26, 2007, 10:55:43 AM »

I too want to make sure that the facts regarding pace car#1 are presented accurately.

*Fact the car would have been coded 4N if the original intention was for it to be an L35. 

*The original documentation backs the fact that it was built an L78.

*Fact the car has the original  protecto plate which I dentifies that this car was built as an L78 , 4spd car.

*Engineering subsequently decided to convert the car to a L35/L34 engine and automatic. Possibly for reliability/ ease of driving issues.

So in summary the car was built as an L78 and converted. All of this is documented with engineering work orders.

If anyone has information that is contrary please share it. The histories of these cars are important and our goal should be to present is as accurately as possible. Isn't this what this forum is about...

« Last Edit: February 26, 2007, 11:02:28 AM by paceme » Logged

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« Reply #33 on: February 26, 2007, 11:34:11 AM »

That is the way to present an argument.
Full of rational facts. Wink

So what engine is supposed to be in the car?
I know that no one is going change it, and put a L78 back in?
Doesn't matter what was intended - matters how it was delivered. 

When I look in my assembely manual - L78 is a engine option.
No L78 engine was delivered in that particular car.

If we are talking intent. Do you really think that Grumpy had never installed a L78 in a Camaro?
Don't you think they tested these designs before they made them available to the public?

I am sure there were a WHOLE BUNCH of L78 Camaros made before these 3 track cars.
So where REALLY are the first 20 L78 Camaros - likley destroyed IMO.

So keeping that in mind - we are talking original delivery configuration not intent.
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paceme
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« Reply #34 on: February 26, 2007, 11:47:35 AM »

The car left the assembly line as an L78 4spd and delivered to the tech center as such, with the protecto plate in the glove box documenting the orig installed drivetrain info.  Subsequent changes were made at the tech center.

I would like to thank Charley for sharing his car, by showing it at his expense for all to see at several show a year. Two of which were the GM Nationals. This allowed the researchers/ historians the ability to connect the dots and identify the cars historical past in full verifiable detail.

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« Reply #35 on: February 26, 2007, 12:06:05 PM »

When I get a break in the action, I will contact B. Jenkins again to see if he will allow me to get copies of the paperwork that he has on file.  I suspect that this paperwork will aid all of us who continue to do the research on these cars.

Jerry
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« Reply #36 on: February 26, 2007, 12:10:19 PM »

Oh,

Of special mention, the Jenkins car was on the cover of Super Stock magazine in late 67 or Jan 1968.  Can't remember for sure, but I have the magazine.  Nice article on the car and there are some shots of the original fuel line on the car.  Up until these photos were discovered, all vendors were making an incorrect fuel line for 1967 L78s.  Now they are made correctly thanks to this article.

This car was also a factory built heater delete 375. 

Jerry
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JoeC
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« Reply #37 on: February 26, 2007, 12:22:49 PM »

What was the first race for the Jenkins 67 Camaro?
The Winternationals are normally in Feb but his car is 03D ?
The car was the 1967 Super Stock national champ so he could not have missed many races .
It would be interesting to find the first race date for this car.

I know the Grump would go to GM Tech center for meetings and get parts. I bought the 1970 Camaro prototype cowl hood from him which he said he got from Chevy engineering. (It was going to be scrapped) I picked it up at Jenkins Comp. shop and he showed me a prototype tall deck block so who knows what else Chevy gave him.
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sam
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« Reply #38 on: February 26, 2007, 02:52:47 PM »

January 1968 Super Stock and Drag Illustrated. Grump on the cover changing the motor. Grin Also a good article on the Musser Bros. 1967 Z/28 running SS/E.
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« Reply #39 on: February 26, 2007, 04:04:25 PM »

Joe,

Jenkins did not make the Winternationals race with his L78.  Didn't take delivery until the end of March '67.  I will have to look up the history on this car.  I do know that he did set the NHRA national record with the car at one of the first outings.  Ran Super Stock "C" at that time.  He did win the NHRA US Nationals and got to the semi finals at the NHRA World Finals with this car.  Jenkins would have won the World Championship but he red lighted against Ed Miller in the semi final round. 

I know that Jenkins won other NHRA events during the 1967 season, I just don't know which ones.  I also know quite a few people who ordered 375 horse Camaros after watching Jenkins have such a stellar season.  By the time most hot rod enthusiasts knew about the 375 horse Camaro, the 67 model year was over.  Only people who were in tune during the spring and summer of 67 were high performance dealerships and hot rodders at the drag strip.

Jerry 

Jerry
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« Reply #40 on: February 26, 2007, 05:35:45 PM »

I'm on travel this week, so my thanks to Kurt for providing some high-level guidance to this thread to keep this topic from going high order.  I appreciate that emotions can run high when a favorite subject is discussed, but we need to 1) focus on facts, 2) avoid personal attacks, and 3) if attacked - take the high road in your reply (or don't reply at all) - believe me, those that do this are noticed and respected.

CRG has no wish to have to tightly moderate these various boards, but we also will not tolerate uncivil on-forum behavior.  When needed we will censure posts, and we have in extreme cases revoked forum rights (only once in our history).

As to the technical content that was - in part - being discussed, I have a few opinions, but I also believe there is a shortage of facts, and while several pronouncements and assessments could be made, I think the primary question asked does not yet have a clean answer, requires more research, and - may not ever have a clean answer.

All three of these cars have a unique and respected history, and should be enjoyed for what they each bring to the hobby.

Rich
« Last Edit: March 01, 2007, 05:42:25 PM by Rich » Logged

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