1971 Camaro SS Question

Discussion in '1970 - 1973 Specific' started by Sigmon55, Jan 20, 2018.

  1. Sigmon55

    Sigmon55 New Member

    Jan 20, 2018
    I know this topic has been brought up before, but I cant seem to find the correct answer. I just recently purchased a 71 Camaro SS. what im trying to figure out is if this car was a factory big block car. it does have the z27 on the cowl tag, but no rpo number beside it. Although the factory sticker on the radiator support reads 402 ci. there is a big block motor in the car now and the block number is 3955272 ..
    my main question would be how many big block 71 Camaros were made without the ls3 beside the z27 on the cowl tag. this is a norwood production car.. if it didn't have a factory 402 sticker on the radiator support I wouldn't have questioned It being a factory bb car. just has me puzzled.
  2. Gary S

    Gary S Administrator Lifetime Gold Member

    Apr 14, 1999
    Bismarck, North Dakota
    The 3955272 block was used in 1969 for 396 applications. The 1971 SS396 should have the 3969854 block which was actually a 402. A Norwood SS396 would typically have Z27 LS3 on the cowl tag.
    So, you can check the casting dates on the engine, and the VIN stamps. If the car was originally an SS396, this probably the original engine.
  3. shad_van

    shad_van Veteran Member

    Jun 15, 2012
    las vegas, NV
    to be honest, I believe all 71 and 72 cars with Z27 are SS350 cars. the Z27 LS3 or LS3 were used for big block cars. that said, their are a lot of other things you can check. they are not 100%, but having more than one of them would point you at a big block car. the first one being the motor mounts. they are different 71 big block cars. big block cars also got the heavy duty cooling, so it would have the wide opening radiator support. big block cars also got F41 suspension option, so it would have the rear sway bar mount welded to the frame rails. also big block cars have the tail panel paint a semi-gloss black, you can check under the trunk lid at the top of the tail panel. this is not a 100% method, as SS350 cars could be ordered with AC, and F41 suspension, meaning it would have everything except for the motor mounts and black tail panel. they make reproduction motor mounts and a repaint of the tail panel is fairly easy, they also make reproduction radiator stickers, so it is really easy to clone a SS396 car, especially if its a Van Nuys car as they did not have the Z27/LS3 on the cowl tags. in your case, where the engine is not original to the car, I would suspect that it was an ss350, that some where along the line got upgrade to a big block. I also have a 71 SS396 car 4 speed. unfortunately mine is a Van Nuys car, I don't have a build sheet for it, and most of the hard to find items like the air clean were removed. so I have no way of proving its 100% original. there is a guy on here named BikeFixer. he has a registry for 71 and 72 LS3 big block cars. I have spoke to him a few times, he really know his stuff about the big block cars. I would suggest send him a PM.
  4. Dave Nelson

    Dave Nelson Veteran Member

    Dec 19, 2003
    Vineland N.J USA
    The BB cars would have a fan shroud part # 3973920, these shrouds are extremely rare and almost impossible to find a original. The re pops are no where near a copy of originals, ( I believe) small block cars received a different 2 piece shroud.

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