Engine blocks are stamped with a decent amount of data about the car or truck it was born with from the factory. Pertaining to the first-gen Camaro VIN stamped on the block, you get a “1” followed by the last eight digits of the VIN (as shown - 18N412520).
The engine data stamp (T0223MV in our example) can be broken down as follows: The first letter is the engine assembly plant (T = Tonawanda, New York), the next four digits are the month and day of manufacture (02 = February, 23 = 23rd day of month), and finally the application suffix code (MV = 396 cid/375 hp/manual transmission).
Historically, for the 1968 model year, the MV suffix has been assumed to have been strictly reserved for “dealer converted” 427 engines, but was inconclusive. Recent data supplied by Brian Henderson of Super Car Workshop has shed some new light on the MV engine suffix code.
Brian was researching a ’68 Yenko COPO Camaro and ran across a factory data sheet sent from Yenko to Vince Piggins back on June 5th, 1968. It shows the VINs of the first ’68 COPO Camaros sold to different dealers. One of those VINs is stamped in the four-bolt 396ci block belonging to Yenko Supercar YS-8006 COPO Camaro, which is also stamped with the MV suffix code. Since the ’68 big-block MV code is specific only to the ’68 Yenko COPO Camaros and the block is a standard-bore 396, it is believed that this engine was installed at the factory by GM in the handful of rare COPOs. Non COPOs would have received the MQ suffix code engine.
Since most MV blocks were removed by Yenko and listed for sale in the Pittsburgh Press, very few exist today. Rumor has it that many were installed in work trucks. The MV short-block would have been exchanged for a 427ci/425hp short-block at Yenko using the top end of the MV engine for the conversion. Very few ’68 COPO Yenkos were sold without the conversion to a 427. No ’68 Camaros were produced from the factory equipped with an automatic transmission and solid lifters. That distinction is reserved for the very rare ’68 Gibb 396ci/375hp Novas, of which only 50 where produced. The ’68 COPO program paved the way for the factory-installed MN and MO 427 ’69 Camaros. Additional information on these cars can be found at Charley Lillard’s Super Car Registry at www.yenko.net. You can follow along with several ’68 Yenko Camaro and Fred Gibb Nova restorations, along with many other rare Chevrolets, at the Super Car Workshop Facebook page.
Special thanks to Brian Henderson for his help with information and images. If your ’68 Camaro block has an MV engine suffix code, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Putting a Stop to Leaky Lines
Stop disconnected fluid lines from leaking all over you and your shop’s floor with Eastwood’s Fluid Line Stopper Set plugs. These spring-loaded line stoppers retail for $29.99 and are great for keeping fluid in the lines as you work on your Camaro. For more information or to order up a set of stoppers go to eastwood.com/CP714 or call them at 800.343.9353.