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Which Transmission for my 396 Big Block '68 Camaro for the "Best Investment"?

  • Turbo 400 (Automatic)

    Votes: 14 28.0%
  • Muncie M21 4-speed (Stick-Shift)

    Votes: 36 72.0%
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey Guys!

I Finally Installed the Big 396 BB in my 68 camaro last week!!:D
It looks really sweet in there! I posted some photos so you guys could see.
Basically, It has now really come down to the moment for the final decision for a tranny in this Big Block 68 camaro.










Thanks for your input on the last thread I had for choosing the turbo 400 or muncie M21 Tranny.

I need your guys help to decide if Im going to run the turbo 400 auto trans, or Munice M21 Stick shift trans.
This time I actually am using a poll in this thread so you can vote. So, please vote on your choice for tranny type.

Remember, in this choice Im really looking for long term goal investment. I know 4-speeds are really fun, I have one in my 500 horsepower '71 Chevelle SS.


Im mainly trying to see if by spending the extra $1,000 more which is what the Muncie will cost to convert over, in compariosn to the automatic... Will it pay off in the long run when it comes time to sell?

Basically, Ive doen all the math, added everything up, and in speaking of terms for drive shaft modification, different pedals, clutches, bellhousings, flywheels, or flexplates, plus a few other items, here is where I stand on price choices:

Turbo 400= $1,500 total w/everything mounted in car
Munice M21= $2,500 total w/everything mounted in car

Looking for a good investment view on the topic.

Thanks guys!
 

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TH400 with full manual valve body in my opinion.
Will be faster, more consistant, better traction and handle more hp than a Muncie ever will.

But if you don't have huge hp and just want a fun street car, go the Muncie.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
TH400 with full manual valve body in my opinion.
Will be faster, more consistant, better traction and handle more hp than a Muncie ever will.

But if you don't have huge hp and just want a fun street car, go the Muncie.


This 396 is a mildly built Big Block street motor with only around 425-435 Horsepower.
Not planning on building the camaro as a full race car. More of a street car... nothing too wild.
 

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as you said 4 speeds are fun to drive. that gets my vote. when i was looking to buy a first gen, i wanted a m21 in it and they seemed harder to find. i would imagine that a bbc/m21 would be worth more regaurdless of what the car had originally. just my $.02
 

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I agree with Steve. THM 400 w/ full manual valve bodies rule!! That's what I had behind my old 396 w/ reverse pattern as well.

You may get about $1,500 - $2,000 more for a 4 speed car than a THM 400 equipped vehicle in certain markets. In others it may be $500 more to nothing more and some buyers may shy away from a 4 speed because they don't know how to drive stick. It all depends on the buyer. I'd buy it either way (4 speed or THM 400).

Like you said you are buidling a nice ride. Good Luck!! It will be fine and fun to drive with either trans.
 

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You already have a 4 speed car. Make this one automatic with a forward valve body.

I personally don't care for a reverse valve body as you have to go through 2 & 1 to get to neutral. If you're on the street, 3-2-1-N is a pain.

But then, my opinion. Just build your car and enjoy it the way you want it. Good luck.
 

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If you're mostly drag racing, go with the automatic. Otherwise the 4 speed will be more fun and valuable.

Good Luck!
 

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Yep, I have a 4 speed car and I vote for three pedals. A gas pedal, a brake pedal and a parking brake pedal...Ha Ha Ha!! Just kidding!! I know you meant 4 speed (M21). I still love the THM 400 reverse pattern (shifting away from neutral) and full manual valve body.
 

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I vote for 3 peals too: gas, brake and clutch!

I guess I really ought to hook up my parking brake one of these days...
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Hey everyone thanks for all the input. :)

As I said in another thread, I did some more research on doing the Muncie conversion. The Muncie choice seems to be very popular baesd on the voting thread on this post...
When I spoke to Classic Industires in Huntington Beach, (California) and the guys there make it sound like there is ALOT of work involved in doing an automatic to Muncie conversion a 68 factory auto small block car.

I was also told that the tranny crossmember I have would have to be modified since I have a 396 with their Big block motor mounts...
They said the trans mount would need to be shifted over towards the passenger side or something? The had said that the alignment wouldnt be right if the trans crossmemebr wasnt modified. They also told me that the Driveshaft may also have to be modified as well...

Another thing I've heard is that the Muncies from 1968 and earlier are weaker than a Munice from a 1969 and later car. But then if I run a 1969 and later Muncie, my factory center console wont work with a 69 and later muncie tranny, and neither would the shifter...:confused:

This is the first Camaro Ive worked on, and Im pretty lost at this moment on Muncie transmission choices...

When I did some research on the automatic, Only thing Ive heard about the Turbo 400 conversion is that the driveshaft would need to be cut.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
4-speed ONLY adds $1350 more???

I did some research on value for a 396 Camaro with an Automatic trans, and one with a 4-speed.

Suprsingly, on Nada Guides for Average Retail value for a 1968 Camaro with a 396 BB, the 4-speed only adds about $1350 more in value over the Autommatic Trans...

After adding everything up and doing a ton of research, I would easily spend that much more over doing the 400 Automatic, If not more than $1350 to convert to a 4-speed car with all the 4-speed parts.

Based on values in Autotrader as well as NadaGuides, doing a 4-speed conversion which only adds $1350 to the cars value, doesnt seem to really be that much better over the automatic choice "As far as value goes" (not driving differences)...:confused:

The 1968 Camaro with a 396 and Automatic values at: $23,925

The same 1968 camaro with a 396 and 4-speed values at: $25,275

Both prices are Average Retail values, which is closest Ive seen to what they really sell for when done right in Classifides ads such as AutoTrader.



Heres the link to the NadaGuide Value car site where I got this info...

http://www.nadaguides.com/default.a...&d=39&c=11&o=6986~6978&vi=65986&z=92683&da=-1
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
A mild 396 doesn't need or want an M-21. Either find an M-20 or use a ST-10 with a better gear spread.

Only thing though, if I do decide to go with a 4-speed, Im going to be running a 12 bolt with a 4:11 posi and Ive heard a Munice M20 Wide ratio will not work good with that type of rear gear.

All the guys say if you choose a 4-speed and you running a 3:73 gear or lower (4:11, 4:56, etc) then I would need an M21 close ratio if I went the 4-speed route.
 
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