2019 COPO Camaro Brings Back the Drag Racing Feel of Half a Century Ago

Back in 1969, Chevrolet dealer Fred Gibb found a loophole in Chevrolet’s special order system, known as the Central Office Production Order (COPO), and managed to fit that year’s Camaro with the all-aluminum ZL1 427 racing engine.
2019 COPO Camaro 5 photos
Photo: Chevrolet
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He did it so he can drag race the thing on Stock Eliminator drag strips. To be eligible for the NHRA competition though, he also had to convince Chevy’s top execs to produce at least 50 units of this modified Camaro.

Somehow, he did it, and the COPO Camaro was born in 1969. Since, especially from 2012 onwards, COPO Camaros have begun regulars of the drag racing world.

To honor the original COPO nearly half a century away, Chevrolet is showing at SEMA 2018 in Las Vegas the 2019 COPO Camaro, an anniversary-themed model that opens up next year’s drag racing customization program.

The car uses a revised variant of the supercharged LSX-based 350 unit, which comes as a 302-cubic-inch engine equipped with a 2.65L Magnuson supercharger. The carmaker says the conversion to COPO Camaro will also be available for the naturally aspirated LSX-based 427 racing engine.

To be sure it is interpreted as a tribute to the original, the monster hidden under the hood has been made to look like a vintage Chevy performance unit, with an orange engine block, chrome valve covers and a black high-rise intake manifold.

Visually, the car comes in Blue Metallic exterior color created as a nod to the original Laguna Blue offered in 1969. An exclusive front-end design makes the car stand apart from regular production Camaro.

As said, Fred Gibb had to convince Chevy to build at least 50 examples of his car. The company manufactured 69 in the end, and this is how many 2019 COPO Camaro units will also be built.

As a side note, the show in Vegas features another version of the COPO Camaro, an electric drag racer that uses GM’s first 800-volt battery pack.
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About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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