How to Tell a True 1971 Camaro SS

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Often, a car owner will attempt to convert a 1971 Camaro into a 1971 Camaro SS. The SS model has additional options, including SS emblems located in certain places on the vehicle. If you see an SS, the only way to know for certain if it is an original, rather than a converted model, is to investigate the VIN or the body tag code.

  • Write down the first three digits of the VIN. The first digit must be a 1 to denote Chevrolet. The second digit must be a 2 to denote Camaro. If the third digit is a 3, your Camaro was originally a V6 Standard, and is not an SS. If the third digit is a 4, the original engine was a V8, which means that the car might be an SS, but not necessarily.

  • Write down the fourth through seventh digits. Look at the fourth and fifth digits as one number: if you have a 37 or an 87, the Camaro is a sports coupe; if you have a 67, the Camaro is a convertible. The sixth digit is the year identifier: if you have a 0, the Camaro is a 1970; if you have a 1, the Camaro is a 1971. The seventh character is a letter and denotes production plant: "N" for Norwood, Ohio and "L" for Van Nuys, California. The last digits of the VIN are the serial number of the vehicle.

  • Check the body tag codes. If the Camaro is a Z28 or an SS, the body tag will be stamped with "Z27." Next to this code, you will find the engine code. If your car had a big block -- and was thus originally an SS -- the body tag will have the codes LS3 or L78. The SS did not come with a small block V8 engine.

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