When GM first planned to produce a pony car, initially code-named Panther, the corporate brass never imagined how popular the car would become. The public got its first glimpse of the re-named Panther (now called Camaro) on September 26th, 1966. Since then, the Camaro has undergone many changes.
Of all the versions produced, it’s hard to argue the supremacy of the COPO. Chevrolet’s COPO (Central Office Production Order) system was not developed for the purpose of creating high-powered cars. Rather, the COPO facility was intended for specifying custom vehicle orders based on regular production vehicles (think taxis and cop cars). However, in 1969, a few enterprising dealers used the program as a loophole to create some of the most famous cars in existence, the COPO Camaro.
Fast forward to 2011, and Chevrolet Performance unveiled its then re-introduced COPO concept car at the 2011 Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) show. The overwhelmingly positive response from racing enthusiasts led to the decision to produce a limited production run.
The latest generations are different from the original in some respects. For starters, the 1969 versions were streetable cars. The current iterations are designed solely for competition. The car was created to compete directly with the fastest racing automobiles in NHRA’s Stock Eliminator and Super Stock classes. Fast forward to 2022, and a new monster has been released.
For 2022, the COPO Camaro is once again available with a big-block. Many said it would never happen, but here it is. According to a Chevrolet press release, “The gigantic 572-cubic-inch (9.4-liter) big-block V8 channels the spirit of the original 1969 COPO Camaro.”
The sixth-generation COPO Camaro is also available with two LS engines: a supercharged 350-cubic-inch (5.7-liter) unit rated by the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) at 580 horsepower and a naturally aspirated 427-cubic-inch (7.0-liter) engine with 470 horsepower. All three engines are mated to an ATI Racing Products Turbo 400 transmission.
In the past, COPO Camaros were limited to 69 units per year, and those wanting to purchase one had to enter a lottery. For 2022 things were different. Chevrolet did not limit production for 2022, and orders were to be filled on a first-come, first-served basis. The order form for the 2022 Chevrolet COPO Camaro can be found by clicking here.
As they say, all good things must end. We just received notice from Chevrolet that June 30, 2022, is the final day you can order one of these monsters.
According to the announcement, “choosing to become one of the select few who owns a COPO Camaro comes with an added perk for 2022: You could be one of the first to own the all-new fuel-injected Big-Block 572 powertrain option. But your choices only start there. You can also get the naturally aspirated COPO 427 or the LSX-based 350 supercharged powertrain option.”
So what are you waiting for? Time is running out to own a Chevrolet legend.