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Camaro COPO hits 432kW

Drag-spec Camaro COPO back in production at Chevrolet – but not for the street

9 Aug 2021

CHEVROLET has confirmed its drag-racing special, the COPO Camaro, will be back in 2022 with the choice of three V8 engines including its 580hp (432kW) small block and a thumping 430hp (320kW) 9.4-litre.


Australia is probably advised to restrain from holding its breath, mainly because the model is not street registerable. But the drag-strip COPO Camaro remains an alluring prospect, especially with its $US105,500 ($A142,700) opening price for the big block.


The sixth-gen Camaro is rumoured to be the last before Chevy ditches fossil fuels and moves to an all-electric performance car. 


So what better way to see out petrol than with a bang – a big bang! 


The 572 (cubic inch or 9.4-litre) is the biggest of the range but also the least powerful, pumping (or thumping) out 580hp (320kW) which Chevrolet said “channels the spirit of the original 1969 COPO Camaro”.


It has a cast-iron block with aluminium heads, a forged steel crankshaft and connecting rods, and forged aluminium pistons.


The Camaro will also be available with two LS-based small block V8s – a supercharged 350ci (5.7L) mill rated by the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) at 580hp (432kW) and a naturally-aspirated 427ci (7.0L) engine with 470hp (350kW). The engines are mated to an ATI Racing Products TH400 three-speed automatic transmission.


Chevrolet reckons the COPO is a Camaro in its most extreme state.


Though not allowed near the street, it qualifies to race in NHRA Stock and Super Stock eliminators.


Features of the model are carbon-fibre bonnet and wheelie bars. It gets a boot-mounted weight box and parachute as options.


The US magazine Car&Driversaid Chevrolet previously limited production of COPO Camaros to 69 units a year to follow the production run of the original 1969 car.


Car&Driverreports that customers then had to enter a lottery. Now, there is no lottery and Chevrolet won’t restrict production, with sales on a first-come, first-serve basis. 


COPO stands for Chevrolet’s Central Office Production Order (COPO), which allows dealers to order cars and trucks with non-standard colours or features. 


The purpose of COPO was for specialty vehicles for fleet customers, like trucking companies or police departments, but some dealers with a desire to go drag racing used COPO to create purpose-built dragsters. 


Chevrolet revived the COPO name in 2012 and has built specialty drag-racing Camaros every year since, Car&Driversaid.

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