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Classics1967 Chevrolet Camaro SS396 Spends 43 Years Stuck in a Pole Barn

19:40  18 february  2019
19:40  18 february  2019 Source:   hotrod.com

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When Russ Johnson parked his 1967 SS 396 Camaro in a pole barn he had no idea it would remain parked in this same spot for the next 43 years . He found this 396 Camaro , an SS with a four-speed, for sale at Knitter Chevrolet in Cadott, Wisconsin. The previous owner had spun the main bearings

This is the one you want if you are on the hunt for an early Camaro . It’s a first year car and is equipped with the SS package, L78 396 V8, and 4-speed transmission! The L78 engine was the higher output 396 option. It produced 375 horsepower – about Have something to sell? List it here on Barn Finds!

When Russ Johnson parked his 1967 SS396 Camaro on a dirt floor in a pole barn behind his house in Wisconsin in 1975, he had no idea the Bolero Red coupe would remain parked in this same spot for the next 43 years.

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"I guess with family and kids coming along, it just got put on the back burner," he says.

Russ bought this Camaro used in February 1972, when a 396 under the hood was just what he wanted. He wasn't looking for any special factory formula. Today, collectors look for the highest performance factory 396, the solid-lifter L78 option. When Russ investigated the collector status of the car he had stored in the barn so many decades ago, he was enthused to uncover, using both paperwork and various codes, that the 396 in his Camaro was not your garden-variety big-block. It was special and rare. It was the L78.

"I wanted a big-block. Back in the day, car guys said there was no substitute for cubic inches. Friends said big-block Chevrolets were good on the dragstrip."

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#musclecar #musclecaroftheweek As the Chevrolet Camaro crosses the ½ century mark, we are always happy to This time, we’ve got a stunning Granada Gold convertible 1967 Camaro SS 396 375 HP version that is 1967 SS 396 Camaro Barn Find Parked 43 Years - Продолжительность: 20:12

He found this 396 Camaro, an SS with a four-speed, for sale at Knitter Chevrolet in Cadott, Wisconsin. The previous owner had spun the main bearings and traded the car in. The dealership would sell the Camaro, pristine but not running, for the bargain price of $800. Tax in those days was 4 percent, bringing the total to a modest $832. Russ wanted to go drag racing, so this deal was perfect for him. The money he saved on the purchase price helped him buy another 396 to build for the track.

Having that pole barn, and being the type of person who did not throw things away, especially parts related to cars, Russ kept the original, matching-numbers 396 block, exhaust manifolds, pistons and rods, four-speed transmission and shifter, smog pump and hoses, and literally every little part and piece to make his L78 Camaro whole (although he hasn't located the air cleaner assembly or the carburetor yet). He used the heads and intake on his replacement 396 that he drag raced.

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This 1969 Chevrolet Camaro SS L78 396 with a 4-speed was brought basically straight out of the barn and to the show. The rare combination of options and

1967 Chevrolet Camaro SS 396 Spends 43 Years Stuck in a Pole Barn . When Russ Johnson parked his 1967 SS 396 Camaro in a pole barn he had no idea it would remain parked in this same spot for the next 43 years .

"I wanted to restore it one day," he says. But, just as family had gotten in the way of the Camaro 43 years earlier, retirement intruded into Johnson's restoration plans when the time came in 2018. "The older you get, the more you realize you go other directions."

He and his wife, Jane, took off last winter for a three-month RV vacation in Florida, and expect to do the same this year.

1967 Chevrolet Camaro SS396 Spends 43 Years Stuck in a Pole Barn© Hot Rod Network Staff 006-johnson-1967-chevrolet-camaro-SS396-engine.jpg

In October 2018, Russ decided to sell the Camaro, so he unpacked the car and pulled it out of his pole barn. He was intrigued to learn the production numbers on the L78 were low at 1,138 for the 1967 model year. With so many of these cars hot rodded back in the day, he wondered how many could be left with a matching-numbers engine.

For years, Russ staved off collectors trying to buy his Camaro. He told them he wasn't ready. The sell time had not come. He put his feelers out to the hobby press and let this writer come inside the barn for the car's unpacking.

The Johnsons pulled off a huge blue tarp that covered the car to find layers of stuff (antlers from deer hunts, a box with a cassette tape recorder, a container full of nuts and bolts, drinking mugs in a large box, and much more) piled on large sheets of Styrofoam to protect the hood, roof, and decklid.

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1967 Chevrolet Camaro SS 396 Spends 43 Years Stuck in a Pole Barn . When Russ Johnson parked his 1967 SS 396 Camaro in a pole barn he had no idea it would remain parked in this same spot for the next 43 years .

With the debris off the body, the scene turned surreal as we viewed, looking up from a squatting stance, the profile of that red SS body, dusty as through a lens darkly.

The 1967 SS396 Camaro still wore its original Bolero Red paint and front panel white stripe, interrupted on each front fender by an SS emblem that sparkled and gleamed from light streaming into the dimly lit barn.

1967 Chevrolet Camaro SS396 Spends 43 Years Stuck in a Pole Barn© Hot Rod Network Staff 011-johnson-1967-chevrolet-camaro-SS396-rear.jpg

Each psi of air pressure Russ pumped into the tires seemed like an infusion of life into the Camaro as it literally rose inch by inch out of the sod of the barn floor. Time had dug these holes over 43 years, and now the air pump reversed each one in about a minute. The sight of wheels rising out of depressions in the dirt was magical. A tire mounted on a steel rim for more than 40 years and still holding air was unexpected.

Russ opened the passenger door and began retrieving trophy after trophy, eight or 10 in all. As he read off the date of each drag racing victory, his face beamed with pride.

He hunted for parts on shelves in the barn. Other parts he found in the loft. He wheeled the original block into the center of the barn and with his fingers scraped the dirt off the engine stamping pad to reveal a partial VIN with "163440." This number matched the last six digits of the VIN displayed on the plate riveted to the A-pillar on the inside of the driver's door. The block matched and was original to this car.

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On the same block we read "MR," the engine suffix code for an L78, with "AR," which refers to an air pump for smog, this Camaro being a California-built car. "LOS" was on the cowl's trim tag.

How times change. Russ never imagined he would park this car for 43 years, and now he and his wife were about to sell the old Camaro.

"I thought about fixing it up, but I know what is involved to do it correctly. I just don't have the time."

Most barn finds are sold when we hear about them. Russ Johnson let us inside his barn to record the car's unpacking in a classic barn scene.

Note: If other owners or finders of barn finds are interested, send me an email: jerryheasley@gmail.com.

At a Glance

1967 Camaro SS396

Owned by: Russ and Jane Johnson

Restored by: Unrestored original

Engine: 396ci/375hp L78 V-8

Transmission: M-21 close-ratio 4-speed manual

Rearend: 12-bolt with 3.55 gears and Positraction

Interior: Standard black vinyl bucket seat

Wheels: 14x7 steel with hub caps

Tires: F70-14 (factory)

Special Parts: U17 Special Instrument gauge cluster (fuel pressure, oil pressure, amps, temperature with console); F41 heavy-duty suspension

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