Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Big D little a-l-l-a-s
375HP is the Highest FACTORY rated 396 available in the Camaro. BUT NHRA did FACTOR the L-78 engine up to the 425HP during the 1968 racing season. In fact, NHRA factored many of the Chevy engines up because it was a well known fact that GM ratings were conservative and everyone else was tired of Chevy winning everything!!
In 1968 these were the factory ratings and the new NHRA ratings for the same engines:
Engine- Factory- NHRA
L-30 327 Hi-Comp 4 BBL 275HP 300HP
Z-28 302 290HP 315HP
L-79 Hi-Perfomance 327 325HP 350HP
L-35 396/325 325HP 360HP
L-34 396/350 350HP 375HP
L-78 396/375 375HP 425HP
L-36 427 385HP 390HP
L-71 427 Corvette 435HP 480HP
The new NHRA rules did have their effect in that there were alot fewer Chevy powered stock class winners in 68. The Z-28 however still fared well however as it's real HP was in the area of 385-390HP. The 396 that was put in the Camaro was EXACTLY the same engine as the factory rated 425HP that was put in the 1965 Corvette. When Chevy released the SAME engine for the Camaros and Chevelles they rated it downward to 375HP. GM after all POLITICALLY couldn't have a less expensive Camaro or Chevelle with the same HP. It wouldn't look right from a marketing standpoint.
So in reality, your friend is correct he does have a 425HP 396. It just wasn't factory rated that way.
REFERENCE QUOTE from Popular Hot Rodding June 1968 issue:
"and the wild L-78 combination option (with solid cam, big-port heads, four bolt mains. etc.) has been factored from 375 to 425 hp. You can't hardly argue with the last change. When this EXACT SAME ENGINE was introduced in the 1965 Corvette it carried a rating of 425 hp. When Chevy released the option for Chevelles and Camaros in '66 they cut the rating to 375 hp."
[This message has been edited by sr71bb (edited 04-22-2000).]