1968 Chevrolet Camaro SS 396 Certified to be built by Bill Thomas of BTRC in CA
1968 Chevrolet Camaro
Stylistically speaking, the Camaro of the 1968 model year was very similar to the original ‘67. One change was that this year saw the introduction of a fresh-air-inlet system called Astro Ventilation, which replaced the side vent windows. Lights were added to the front and rear fenders as side markers, a new government requirement for all vehicles in 1968. The front grille was more pointed and the tail lights were divided. On non-RS models, the front running lights were changed to an oval shape rather than the former circular appearance. Big block SS models had chrome hood inserts to imitate velocity stacks.
The shock absorber mounting was revisited and made staggered, which resolved previous wheel hop issues. Higher performance models received multi-leaf rear springs instead of single leaf units. A 396 cu in (6.5 L) 350 hp (261 kW) big block engine was added as an option for the SS. The Z/28 option appeared in Camaro brochures and sales literature for the first time in ‘68. Although it was not a regular production option, there were several dealers who offered the 427 cu in (7.0 l) as a dealer-installed alternative to the 396 cid engine that came from the factory.
Before this year, the Z/28 had appeared as a track-only car - but for the 1968 model year, Chevrolet’s Special Production Division came up with a plan that would make the Z/28 available to the general public, for use on public roads. Chevrolet General Manager at the time, Pete Estes, would have to drive a road-ready Z/28 in order to be convinced to make them available to the public. Estes, however, only drove convertibles, so one was made. The only convertible Z/28 1968 Camaro ever created was made specifically for GM Pete Estes, and as soon as he drove it, the special production team had his approval. Despite the enthusiasm Estes had for his, there was never any plan to mass produce the convertible Camaro Z/28 for sale.
By this time, the Camaro was making a real name for itself on race tracks. In 1971, a ‘68 Z/28 competed in the British Saloon Car Championship at Crystal Palace - the race later reached fame thanks to a feature in the BBC’s “100 Greatest Sporting Moments”.