Regardless if you’re into blue chip investments or brutal street machines, the first whisper of “COPO” should get your attention. While, in reality, the Central Office Production Order was more heavily utilized for ordering fleet cars and buses, most of us associate the acronym with a limited number of Camaros that have become the holy grail of muscle car world. The problem with exalted cars like the COPO Camaro is that they tend to end up in private collections where they never see light, let alone a road, for the rest of their days. No one likes to see a good Camaro wasted, so we’re always glad to see well-executed homages like this 1969 Camaro COPO tribute arrive at the showroom. The subject of a frame up restoration, the car not only nails the plain wrapper/huge motor aesthetic - it does so with a barrage of period correct parts that will leave most enthusiasts scratching their heads at whether or not the car is a true COPO.
While GM didn’t offer “High Impact” colors in the Mopar sense, few colors have a higher impact than code 76 Daytona Yellow. According to the trim tag, the car wore this color when it left the Norwood, Ohio assembly line in November of 1968 and continues to display it proudly today. Thanks to a thorough frame off restoration, it’s safe to say the car looks even better now than it did in the showroom. The angular ’69 body lines look crisp, each panel is straight and overall fitment is significantly above average. Pieces like the ZL2-style hood and D80 rear spoiler add both good looks and a healthy dose of aggression. Even someone who doesn’t know muscle cars could easily discern that this Camaro is grade A Detroit weaponry.
By 1969, Chevrolet was mostly over their love affair with chrome but this straightforward F-body is still accented by plenty of notable details. At the front, twin T3 headlights frame a blue bowtie amidst a pristine grey grille. The nose and deck lid both wear crisp new “Camaro by Chevrolet” badges matched by more “Camaro” identification on the fenders. Corner markers stake their claim on each corner, just below the bodyline while clean chrome bumpers cap both ends of the car. From the windshield back, all glass shows well framed by clean stainless trim. At the front left corner of the greenhouse, a single chrome rear view mirror provides a glance rearward. While the back of the car is comprised of standard Camaro pieces, a small Yenko decal on the spoiler hints at what this car is really about.
Lift the hood of this Chevrolet to find a 427ci V8 dressed in full factory décor. The centerpiece is a cast iron GM block which wears a 3963512 casting number on the rear driver side. The block is sprayed in traditional Chevy Orange and topped with a Winters intake, a Holley four-barrel carburetor, and cast iron heads. Below the heads, spent gases exit through cleanly factory manifolds into an OEM-style chambered exhaust system. At the front, little more than a water pump and alternator spin off borrowed engine power while a factory-style radiator and fan keep the big block cool. The bay looks as good as it runs thanks to a chrome air cleaner with 427/450 decals alongside chrome valve covers. Along the firewall, replicated inspection marks, a Stewart Warner tachometer sending unit, and a clean brake booster/master cylinder assembly fill in the space. From the GM hoses to the reproduction R59 battery, every detail combines for a great presentation.
Shine a light underneath this F-body to find an undercarriage that remains restoration fresh. Solid satin black floor pans provide a sleek backdrop for a lengthy list of new or freshened hardware. In the center, a Muncie four-speed is mated to the big block, spinning power back to a GM 12-bolt limited-slip rear end packed with 4.10 gears. The bellhousing wears factory-correct overspray while the differential sports a bright red reminder to “use limited slip diff. lubricant only”. Around the drivetrain, the suspension remains in stock configuration but nearly every piece has been restored or replaced. From the tagged “HW” coil springs up front to the showroom clean leaf springs out back, there certainly won’t be any points deducted from this undercarriage. Even the stainless lines carry their part numbers on green tags which remained intact all around. Steering remains a manual effort but braking is power-assisted with clamping power sent to front discs and rear drums. The pristine chassis meets the road through color-matched steel wheels topped with chrome “dog dish” hubcaps and Goodyear Polyglas tires in size F70-15.
Most COPO buyers weren’t interested in interior gadgetry so nearly all of the original cars left the factory with a standard code 711 black interior. This COPO tribute stays true that idea. Front row seating is provided by a pair of standard bucket seats with a distinct lack of center console between them. New black carpet covers the floors, protected by rubber floor mats. In front of the driver, the squared ’69 Camaro dash offers a correct AC 140 mph speedometer matched by a fuel gauge on the other side of the bezel. That factory instrumentation is supplemented by a Stewart Warner tachometer mounted on the floor, in the shadow of a chrome floor shifter topped by a round black shift knob. A Delco AM radio provides entertainment while a trio of sliders control the Astro Ventilation setup. A new headliner stretches out above the passenger compartment while, behind the rear seat, a nicely finished trunk offers a correct mat, jack, and a fifth yellow steel wheel wrapped in new Goodyear rubber.
With a factory-dressed 427, a Muncie four-speed, and a color that makes no bones about what the car was built for, this Camaro is a great example of COPO tribute. From the paint daubs on the chassis to the Yenko-branded spoiler, no detail was too small to overlook, resulting in a show-ready Camaro ready to inspire grins and knowing nods everywhere it goes. Are you ready to rumble with one of the most brutal factory Camaros ever built? Here’s your chance to do so guilt free!