It happens every time: a manufacturer decides to build a car to go
racing but most of them end up in the hands of collectors. Chevy
joined the party with the COPO Camaro, a purpose-built car for NHRA
Stock Eliminator for Super Stock classes. Stripped down and built
for combat, they didn't even receive VINs and are not street-legal.
Oh, and they only built 69 of the COPO's of which only 20 were
CRC's (Certified Race Chassis) BODY-IN-WHITE, all sold through
Richard Rawlings of Gas Monkey Garage. Yeah, that sounds like a
recipe for a must-have instant collectable to me.
This is COPO number CRC08, and it's still brand new, in the wrapper
and has never been on the track. These cars only came in white,
offering easy-to-spot upgrades like the towering cowl induction
hood, custom COPO graphics, and a unique grille that looks almost
stock but not quite. Technically, it looks like a production car,
but it's lighter, faster, and purpose-built, so you won't find any
extras, just the bare essentials to make a seriously fast car.
Build quality is quite good, as much of the fabrication was done by
a race shop instead of an assembly line, and even the paint quality
is excellent, which is expected from late-model Camaros. Obviously,
this one still looks new and hasn't turned a wheel in anger, so the
paint is showroom fresh and the car remains pretty much suspended
in time back in 2013. We don't know how many of these have come to
the secondary market, but the figure is probably small and finding
another one will not be easy.
Inside, some pretty remarkable changes took place. One, there's a
full NHRA-legal cage surrounding the driver and passenger, who sit
in lightweight sport buckets from Procar. The back seat is gone,
there's minimal sound-deadening inside, and if you want things like
A/C or even a radio, well, you'll have to buy a different Camaro.
It does have power windows and locks, mostly because manual crank
windows are not available on any Camaro at any price, but it does
include a window net for the driver; talk about hardcore! Factory
gauges are joined by a monster tach from Auto Meter, as well as a
full set of auxiliary gauges in the center of the dash. The factory
steering wheel is still there and it has an airbag, again because
that's the only way they build 'em, but if you're racing, that
probably goes in the dumpster pretty fast. And you will note that
it's all still brand new, including the plastic over the emblem in
the center of the airbag.
There were three engines available in the COPO, with this one
carrying the top-of-the-line 427 cubic inch powerplant. Custom
built just for this application, it offers a Holley intake
manifold, custom calibrations, and a long list of upgrades designed
to make it competitive on the track. Fuel economy? Who cares?
Smooth idle? Forget it! Even the harmonic balancer is a race piece
with degree markings for dialing it in perfectly. The standard
transmission was a built PowerGlide 2-speed automatic, which seems
like a throwback, but if you're racing it's the right choice. It's
tied to a giant driveshaft and a solid rear axle that looks
suspiciously like a Currie 9-inch. There's a disc brake at each
corner and if you look around, you'll see race-grade hardware
throughout plus a whole bunch of reinforcements to the tub so it'll
withstand the rigors of the track. Oh, and those long-tube headers
dump into... nothing. So get ready for the full aural experience.
The final ingredient is race tires, with custom alloys wearing
skinnies up front and giant Hoosier slicks out back. Take it off
the trailer and go racing!
These sold out before the first one was even built. You will likely
never find another one, so this is your one and only chance to grab
one. Go racing or put it in your permanent collection, but either
way, this COPO is a remarkable machine. Call today!