This purpose-built drag racer from Chevy is packing a - wait for it - 9.4-liter engine!by Khris Bharath, on LISTEN 04:26
The Chevrolet COPO Camaro returns to the track in 2022 with a new 572-cubic-inch, 9.4-liter engine. The Big Block V-8 is inspired by the original 1969 COPO Camaro, a drag racer designed exclusively for dealers who used the Central Office Production Order or COPO, to outfit cars with the most attainable power from the engine.
History of the COPO
Back in the late 60s, a few Chevy dealers were able to manipulate the automaker’s vehicle ordering process to manufacture cars that would not have existed otherwise. The tool they used was Chevrolet’s Central Office Production Order (COPO) system, which was put in place so that dealers could request higher volumes of cars or trucks with special features or colors to satisfy the customer’s demands.
Over time, the system transformed into a sort of official tuner of Chevy for extreme power. Restarted in 2012 after years of obscurity, the cars denoted by the abbreviation are intended for track use only.
The COPO drag racing cars that leave the factory are extremely rare. The production run was limited to 69 units each year, and the ability to purchase a COPO was determined by lottery because there were more applicants. Less than 700 COPO Camaro models have ever been made since Chevy reintroduced the COPO program in 2012. In a way, the owners are members of a privileged club.
What’s Under the Hood
Under the hood of the 2022 Chevrolet COPO Camaro is a magnificent Big Block.
It features a 9.4 liter V-8 that consists of a cast-iron block with aluminum cylinder heads, forged steel crankshaft and connecting rods, and forged aluminum pistons.
Surprisingly, it isn’t as powerful as it appears on paper. The National Hot Rod Association, or NHRA, homologated it with just 436 horsepower. It is also the COPO Camaro’s weakest engine option. However, torque will be the most crucial factor in the outcome with such a large working volume.
There are also two less powerful engines available for the Chevrolet COPO Camaro. The first is a supercharged 350 cubic inch 5.7 liter V-8 that produces 580 horsepower, rated by the NHRA. The second is a 427 6.8 liter naturally aspirated V-8 470 horsepower engine also rated by the NHRA. The ATI Racing Products TH400 three-speed automatic transmission is standard across all 2022 Camaro COPOs.
On top of the engine upgrades, the COPO Camaro’s list of standard equipment includes a carbon-fiber hood, tilt-inhibiting rear brackets, and a parachute. Apart from these, custom paint and graphics, black logos, and Bogart competition wheels with Hoosier drag tires can be had for an additional $26,000.
Purpose-built for Drag Racing
If you’re thinking about acquiring one of these COPO Camaro’s for the road, think again, because this ultra-special version isn’t street legal and cannot be registered. It is strictly for use on a drag strip.
The COPO Camaro with the 572 engine starts at $105,500. This price excludes tax, title, license fees. Unlike before, Chevy won’t cap the production of this COPO Camaro. Buyers will be able to reserve it on a first-come, first-served basis.
Meanwhile, unconfirmed rumors suggest that the current sixth-gen Camaro will be the de facto final coupe in this family. We already know that the next Camaro won’t be available until 2025, and we assume it would be an electric vehicle. Here’s your chance then to get your hands on this very special variant of the Camaro.