When it comes to famous option packages on classic Chevrolet cars, we all know about the Z28, Super Sport, Rally Sport, and even the ZL1 and COPO. But, how many of you know about a little-known RPO that was an option for only the first few months of the 1969 model year? The LM1 RPO engine option code was a little-known way for a Camaro buyer to get a four-barrel equipped 350 cubic-inch small-block engine delivering 255 horsepower. This option allowed the Camaro buyer to get the 350 cubic-inch engine in a non-Super Sport Camaro. The LM1 was available with a manual-shift and automatic transmission options.
LM1-equipped cars also received other high performance options like a 12-bolt rearend, multi-leaf rear springs, dual exhaust, a console, and a tachometer. Because of available options like these, many LM1-optioned cars are often confused with Super Sport cars (RPO Z27). The LM1 option did not automatically give the car front disc brakes like a Super Sport would carry, but if that box was checked (RPO J52), it could add to the confusion.
While the engine only delivered 255 horsepower, this option did trigger the availability of other high-performance features inclusion of the lighter drum brakes, and the aluminum-case Muncie transmission as opposed to the heavier cast-iron case Saginaw. These options made this car ready for any street racer. Many of the LM1 cars were also shipped with dual exhaust (RPO N10), and the console gauge package (RPO U17).
Most LM1 cars look like regular base-model Camaro’s on the outside, with dog dish “poverty” hub caps, no special badging, and a flat hood.
Sometime in early January of 1969, RPO LM1 was replaced with RPO L65, which gave the buyer a 250 horsepower 350 cubic-inch engine with a two-barrel carburetor. It is reported that many LM1 cars were later badged as Super Sport cars, and since they were “Pre X Code” cars, it was hard to tell. The X Code was introduced to signify that a particular Camaro was something special when it was ordered. For example, if the code said X66, it came with a big-block, if it had an X11, it came with the style trim-group.
There were 10,406 Camaros built with the LM1 option, which equals slightly more than 12 percent of the production for the first four months of the model year, but only 4.2 percent of overall 1969 production.
The LM1-optioned ’69 Camaro can be difficult to verify at a glance, since this model shared many of the performance features as the Super Sport. If the car does have the 12-bolt rearend and multileaf springs, but no disc brakes or dual exhaust, it’s probably an LM1-equipped car. But, if you add dual exhaust and disc brakes to the car, differentiating between the LM1 and Super Sport can be a difficult task in this day and age.