Chevrolet COPO Camaro Concept goes into production

Article by Christian Andrei, on March 9, 2012

For 2012, Chevrolet will roll out 69 COPO Camaros – the first purpose-built Camaro drag-racing specialty car intended to compete with the quickest in NHRA’s Stock Eliminator and Super Stock classes. These are the quickest Camaros that have ever been offered by Chevrolet. The national records for quarter-mile times in these contests are in the nine-second range.

Only 69 units will be built of the 2012 COPO Camaro to match the number of “ZL-1” COPO Camaros produced in 1969. COPO means Central Office Production Order, which was the special-order system used by Chevrolet dealers to make high-performance models in the 1960s.

These new COPO Camaros will be made using factory “body-in-white” body structures made at the Oshawa, Ontario plant that rolls out regular-production Camaros. These are the same body-in-white body shells offered to all racers under Chevrolet Performance part number 19243374.

To get one, customers will have to order and accomplish the transaction for their COPO Camaro at their preferred Chevrolet dealer with delivery at the General Motors Performance Build Center located in Wixom, Mich. The design of the COPO Camaro meets NHRA racing specifications such as a solid axle and a full chrome moly roll cage.

Its interior doesn’t have the standard sound deadening and power accessories so that its weight will be optimized for NHRA racing. It also comes with two racing bucket seats (but no rear seat), a safety harness for the driver, and a competition floor shifter and Chevrolet Performance gauges.

The COPO Camaro program offers three engines that align with the top classes in NHRA’s various Stock Eliminator and Super Stock ranks. These include: an LS7-based naturally aspirated 427 (7.0L) V-8; a supercharged, LSX-based 327 (5.3L) V-8 featuring a 2.9L supercharger; a supercharged, LSX-based 327 (5.3L) V-8 featuring a 4.0L supercharger.

A closer look at the new 2010 Chevrolet Camaro reveals that it sports a design similar to the one seen on the original concept. The implication is that it honors the tradition started by the Camaro’s first generation, the same one manufactured from 1967 to 1969. Despite being a new version, it continues to have the proportions of the classic model.

Overall length for example is at 4,836 mm (190.4 in.) with a width of 1,918 mm (75.7 in.). Height meanwhile measures 1,376 mm (54.2 in.). The wheelbase of this two-door sports coupe is measured at 2,852 mm (112.3 in.). Visually, it is easy to see that the short deck and its long hood have been positioned on the far corners of the model’s muscular fender. The windshield on the other hand forms a 67-degree rake. With these two features, it results in the V6 version having a coefficient of drag (Cd) at 0.37.

Meanwhile the SS model, with its V8 engine, is sleeker with Cd of 0.35. In designing the exterior, the team used the Corvette as an inspiration. Thus, on the roof, it is likely to see the sculpted twin cockpits. This gives the model that rather unique Chevrolet personality. Its B-pillar has been designed to ensure that the vehicle has the needed structural rigidity.

However, when viewed on the outside, the B-pillar is imperceptible to the naked eye. As such, the new Camaro gets the look one expects from a hardtop coupe. The design team also made sure to put extra focus on the openings of the wheel arch.

Thus. no matter what size the wheel is, whether the standard 18-inch version or the optional 19-inch unit or 20-inch ones, the relationship between the bottom part of the fender and the top portion of the tires continues to be constant. Another constant in all of the models is that they all have the classic “V” design placed on the nose. There is also the aluminum hood with the 63.5 mm (2.5 in.) power dome, bringing to mind the Camaro models.

For the SS version in particular, a faux air intake has been placed on the front fascia’s upper portion. In addition, the brand made sure to make the lower air intake that much larger. Now in manufacturing cars, automakers always want to make sure that quality is topnotch. In the case of the 2010 Camaro, Chevrolet utilized a one-piece body stamping process.

These allowed the side to have a cleaner look having no plastic appliques, gaps, or even seams. In the rear, there is a quarter panel whose front portion has “gills” which is a well-known style used by the Camaro.

On the exterior, Chevrolet will be offering customers the choice of ten colors. Five of these are Black, Rally Yellow, Silver Ice Metallic, Victory Red, and White. The other four are Aqua Blue Metallic, Cyber Gray Metallic, Imperial Blue Metallic, and Inferno Orange Metallic. Finally, there is the Red Jewel Tintcoat.

Press Release

Chevrolet Introduces New ‘COPO’ Camaro

Chevrolet will build 69 COPO Camaros for 2012, the brand's first purpose-built Camaro drag-racing specialty car designed to compete with the quickest in NHRA's Stock Eliminator and Super Stock classes. National records for quarter-mile times in these contests are in the nine-second range.

As such, the COPO Camaros are expected to be the quickest Camaro ever offered by Chevrolet.

"The COPO Camaro is going to shake up the sportsman drag racing ranks this summer and give Chevy fans a great new reason to cheer on the Bowtie," said Jim Campbell, GM U.S. vice president of Performance Vehicles & Motorsports. "COPO builds off the strengths that have made the Camaro the best-selling sports car in America. And while it was developed strictly for the drag strip, the COPO Camaro is infused with the same performance pedigree that every Camaro shares."

The 69-car production for the 2012 COPO Camaro matches the number of "ZL-1" COPO Camaros made in 1969. COPO stands for Central Office Production Order and was Chevrolet's special-order system in used by dealers to build high-performance models in the 1960s.

The new COPO Camaros will be built using factory "body-in-white" body structures produced at the Oshawa, Ontario plant that manufactures regular-production Camaros. They are the same body-in-white body shells available to all racers under Chevrolet Performance part number 19243374.

Customers will order and complete the transaction for their COPO Camaro at their preferred Chevrolet dealer with delivery at the General Motors Performance Build Center in Wixom, Mich. Deliveries will begin early summer 2012.

Highlights of the new COPO Camaro program include:

  • A sequenced build number matched to the engine but sold without a Vehicle Identification Number and cannot be registered for highway use
  • Three racing-class engine are available, including a naturally aspirated 427 (7.0L) and two supercharged 327 (5.3L) V-8 engines
  • Engine assembly at GM's Performance Build Center, where the buyer can opt to participate in the engine assembly similar to Chevrolet's Corvette Engine Build Experience and the Chevrolet Performance Build Your Own Crate Engine programs
  • Engines pairing with a Powerglide automatic transmission designed for drag racing
  • Five colors: Flat Black, Summit White, Victory Red, Silver Ice Metallic and Ashen Gray Metallic
  • A COPO graphics package similar to the one introduced on the concept vehicle available in Metallic White, Semi-Gloss Black, Inferno Orange Metallic and Chevy Racing Blue
  • Pricing starting at $89,000
  • A special collector's package offering the purchase of all three engines with the COPO Camaro - including one installed in the car at delivery - with each engine serial number matched to the car
  • Selection process

The COPO Camaro concept was first shown at the 2011 Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) show in Las Vegas, where the overwhelming response by more than 2,000 racing enthusiasts shaped the decision to produce a limited number of COPO Camaros.

To ensure fair access to the limited number of COPO Camaros, an independent third party was used to identify the first individuals who would be offered the opportunity to buy one of the new COPO Camaros. Those selected will receive a confirmation letter with instructions on how to fulfill the purchase contract, choose the engine option for their intended racing class, and take delivery.

Designed to win

The COPO Camaro is designed to NHRA racing specifications including a solid axle and a full chrome moly roll cage. Inside, most of the standard sound deadening and power accessories have been deleted in order to optimize weight for NHRA racing. Also included is a pair of racing bucket seats (no rear seat), a safety harness for the driver, a competition floor shifter and Chevrolet Performance gauges.

The three engines offered in the COPO Camaro program were developed to align with the top classes in NHRA's various Stock Eliminator and Super Stock ranks. They are:

  • An LS7-based naturally aspirated 427 (7.0L) V-8
  • A supercharged, LSX-based 327 (5.3L) V-8 featuring a 2.9L supercharger
  • A supercharged, LSX-based 327 (5.3L) V-8 featuring a 4.0L supercharger

The 2012 COPO Camaro is being offered as a performance part, with a specific part number (P/N 20129562). It cannot be registered, titled, licensed, or driven on public roads or highways. COPO is specifically offered for off-highway, competitive NHRA use only.

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