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!
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The story below was submitted as part of the Collecting Cars, Collecting Memories contest
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