2016 COPO Camaro Debuts with Solid Rear Axle and Concept 350ci Supercharged V8

The sixth-gen Camaro may have landed about one year later than the 6th generation Mustang, but Chevy didn’t want to let the Blue Oval dominate the drag strips with its Cobra Jet Mustang that has just made its debut at SEMA. As a result, GM has sped up the development process for the COPO 2016 Camaro, so the Las Vegas event also sees Chevy’s out-of-the-box drag racer debuting.
2016 COPO Camaro 3 photos
Photo: GM
2016 COPO Camaro2016 COPO Camaro
Speaking of the development, Chevrolet has joined forces with NHRA Funny Car driver Courtney Force. The drag racer helped designers come up with a one-off example for SEMA, which will go under the hammer at a 2016 Barrett-Jackson auction, with proceeds set to head towards the United Way.

Compared to the Camaro you drive on the street, the biggest change comes in the form of a Solid Rear Axle conversion. As for the comparison involving the 5th-gen COPO Camaro, the new platform benefits mean the 2016 COPO Camaro’s body-in-white is 133 lbs (60.5 kg) lighter, while structural rigidity jumps 28 percent.

That raised carbon fiber hood conceals a concept 350ci racing engine, with the V8 using a Whipple 2.9L supercharger. The carmaker didn’t offer extra details on this engine for now.

However, since the COPO Camaro is destined for NHRA Stock and Super Stock classes, racers can choose from a mix of blown and atmospheric LS and LT units, including a supercharged 350 (5.7L) and a naturally aspirated 427 (7.0L), as well as a fresh LT-based 376 (6.2L) unit. Further down the power line, we find a motorsport-grade Turbo 400 three-speed auto.

Here is the list of other important hardware changes:

ª Lightweight, adjustable strut-type front suspension
ª Four-link rear suspension with adjustable coil-overs, Panhard bar and stabilizer bar
ª Rear axle with an aluminum center section featuring a spool-type differential and 40-spline gun-drilled axle shafts
ª Lightweight, racing-type four-wheel disc brakes (un-assisted)
ª Un-assisted rack-and-pinion steering system
ª Fuel cell with built-in high-pressure fuel pump
ª Unique racing wire harness.

Chevrolet will produce 69 units of the 2016 COPO Camaro. If you’re looking to race one of these, you can register here, which basically means you’ll be playing the lottery, as the carmaker explains that “an independent third-party will randomly select purchasers from the pool of interested customers.”

If you’ve made it up to this point, it means drag racing is in your blood. Thus, we find it relevant to remind you the COPO moniker traces its origins back to the late 60s. This is an acronym for Central Office Production Order, a system dealers relied on when purchasing performance offerings.

Chevy brought back the COPO badge in 2012, releasing a batch of 69 fifth-gen COPO Camaros. After customer demand proved explosive, the story was reiterated in 2013, 2014, as well as this year.

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About the author: Andrei Tutu
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In his quest to bring you the most impressive automotive creations, Andrei relies on learning as a superpower. There's quite a bit of room in the garage that is this aficionado's heart, so factory-condition classics and widebody contraptions with turbos poking through the hood can peacefully coexist.
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