1968 396 Engine By Body Style

To date there are no charts or sales figures by GM on which 396 engines went into each available body style. While it is known how many of each SS396 body style was sold and it is known how many of each 396 engine were sold, there are no real figures showing what engine, or optional transmission type, or radio, or color, or how many SS396 sport coupes or El Caminos came with vinyl tops, etc.

So what the matrix below represents are the total number of each body style, what percentage each body style is of all three SS396 series along with each engine available and the body style percentages applied to the specific engine. The results are NOT to be taken as fact but simply for what they are, a calculated distribution by percentage.

Series Quantity Percentage Engine Quantity Percentage
13837 55,309 88.029 L35* 45,553 77.554
13867 2,286 3.641 L34 12,481 19.879
16880 5,190 8.266 L78 4,751 7.567
  13837 13867 13880    
L35 40,129 1,659 3,766    
L34 10,995 455 1,032    
L78 4,186 173 393    

* Since the L35 (396/325hp) engine was the base engine and not an option, its quantity number is calculated based on the total number of SS396 sport coupes, convertibles, and El Caminos sold (62,785) less the total quantity of the two optional L34 and L78 engines at 12,481 and 4,751 respectively.

- 4,751

How the numbers are calculated using the 13837 sport  coupe as an example:
The 13837 SS396 sport coupe makes up 88.029% of the 3 total SS396 series.  So a percentage distribution of the total 45,553 L35 engines will calculate to 40,129 13837 SS396 sport coupes with the L35 engine. The same 88.029% of 13867 SS396 convertibles calculates to 1,659 and 3,766 SS396 El Caminos.

Do these numbers represent actual production figures of each engine in each body style? No. The true number of L35, L34, or L78 engines in any one body style will probably never be known.

The same "No" reply can be made for any body style/engine/transmission combination as it gets even worse. While the number of TH400 automatics is known (and could only be ordered behind a 396 engine, hence an SS396), the Powerglide 2-speed automatic was still available in the SS396 as well as behind any engine in the Chevelle lineup. Same with manual transmissions; a manual 3-speed was the standard transmission while the M20, M21, and M22 were optional. Another issue with the M20 is the RPO code of M20 included both the Saginaw and Muncie versions and there are no figures for each version.

So, the next time you hear someone say they have an L78 4-speed SS396 El Camino that's 1-of-10 (or some other such claim), shake your head and walk away. It's a discussion you'll never win.

Calculated figures are rounded up; GM couldn't built something like 40,128.87 SS396 sport coupes.