With just 69 built each year, the favored odds are that you are never going to see one up close, drive one, own one, or even hear about one of the greatest drag strip race cars ever made: Chevrolet’s COPO Camaro. This VSN 2014COPO-055 COPO Camaro is perfectly illegal for use as a daily driver, or on the street in any capacity, but rather intended to be used only for drag racing. I was one of the lucky ones who got to experience this awe inspiring ride up close in Destin, Florida at the BlackTie Motorsport photography studio. As the production number implies, the new COPO Camaro is an homage to Chevrolet’s 1969 special edition Camaro which featured the Corvette’s big block engine and took the drag racing world by storm.After a four decade absence, the COPO was relaunched in 2012, with the latest version featuring two engine options: a naturally aspirated 427 cubic inch power plant, and a supercharged 327. Both offer a three speed automatic transmission, racing seats, a new wheel design and an eye catching graphics package.Each car comes standard with a full array of National Hot Rod Association approved safety items, including a roll cage. Other strip inspired tweaks include a parachute, carbon-fiber hood, solid rear axle, independent rear suspension, and of course, those massive rear tires. Classified by the NHRA as a Stock Eliminator, the new COPO is born ready for the drag strip. Purchases can be made only through a random selection process, and it will cost you a cool $200,000 to get in on the fun. The original Chevrolet COPO Camaro dragster was the stuff of Chevy hot rodding legend….mostly. It all began when famed driver Don Yenko modified one of the newest Camaros in 1967. At the time, Chevrolet wouldn’t allow the larger, 427 cubic inch Corvette engines to be used in Camaros, which put Chevy’s newest muscle car at a significant disadvantage behind the Ford Mustang and Dodge Dart. Yenko took matters into his own hands however, bolting the larger V8s into his Camaros, adding the “Stinger” hood found on the 1967 Corvettes and generally creating a monster built on Chevy’s new F-body platform. Unfortunately, these modified Camaros were disqualified from racing for Chevrolet due to the inescapable fact they weren’t actually built by Chevrolet. By 1969, Chevrolet took the hint and began limited production of a similar dragster, now dubbed the COPO, which stands for Central Office Production Order. For 2015, the hand built 2014 COPO is considered a top rated drag racing machine, burning up the quarter mile in a quick 8.88 seconds. It’s a shame more people won’t have the opportunity to drive one, and it’s even more of shame I was only able to sit in it without benefit of a test drive. But at least I can say I’ve been behind the wheel of one of the greatest drag strip legends in the automotive world.
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