The Inside Story of Chevy’s COPO Program
Greg Zyla posted a follow up column in the Canton Daily Ledger to his original piece on Gary Keye’s fantastic ’68 Dana Camaro clone (which we featured here), and it’s something any Chevy historian would love.
He specifically dove into a massive amount of inside information on Chevy’s 1969 COPO program and how that dovetailed with the Chevy dealers who were already doing 427 conversions during the mid to late 1960’s. Up until 1969, GM had a policy in place that forbid non-Corvette or non-full-size cars to be sold with engines larger than 400 cubic inches.
However, since dealers were already converting cars prior to ’69 the path was paved to begin a program inside General Motors to streamline the process a bit. The program was called COPO, short for Central Office Production Order.
According to Zyla’s article, just over 1,000 COPO 427 Camaros are said to have been sold in 1969. While most of us are aware of big name dealerships like Baldwin, Nickey, and Yenko, it turns out that at least 19 different dealers throughout North American placed orders for 247 equipped Camaros through the COPO program.
Two different engines were available through the COPO program in the L72, a 427-425 horse big block, and the ZL-1, the all aluminum 427 capable of at least 500 horsepower. Only 69 1969 Camaros were ordered with the ultra rare ZL-1.