It’s human nature that when you are told you can’t have something, you want it that much more. As you know, the COPO Camaros Chevy has been producing for racing-only the last few years come with no vehicle identification number (VIN) because they are only for racing purposes. To the best of HOT ROD’s knowledge no one has successfully, legally licensed a COPO Camaro. No one until the 2016 Power Tour. Andre Miller, who hales from Pitreville, Louisiana, wanted something new for HOT ROD’s 2016 Drag Week, to participate in the Street Race class. He’s participated three other times with his pickup, painted this same mid-1960s Chevy metallic. Drag Week means it must be street legal. COPO’s aren’t—but Andre thought it would be amusing and enlightening to see if he could make one legal for the street.
There are two types of COPO Camaros manufactured by Chevy. The standard COPO comes as a complete car with engine, transmission, and all the trimmings. Actually, it’s devoid of lots of trimmings like insulation, convenience groups including audio and air conditioning, and replaces the heavier street suspensions with much simpler, lighter suspension components. The other COPO, known as a CRC for “Certified Race Chassis”, is a complete car in white minus an engine or transmission.
The way the vehicle licensing laws in Louisiana work, cars that are constructed are eligible for licensing as a “homebuilt” car. Andre correctly surmised that a COPO Camaro is far better built than many a kit car, and so he proceeded to get the necessary paperwork and approvals in order.
Things like a horn, turn signals, and other mandatory items were installed, along with Vintage Air air conditioning and door locks. Why door locks? Anyone can poke the “Go” button and drive off with a six-figure COPO since the doors have no locks. Andre wanted some insurance that his Camaro would stay as his Camaro.
He bought an assembled 807 HP supercharged LS7 from Edelbrock, along with an ATI TH400 transmission, which is the same automatic all COPOs come delivered with. Just before the 2016 Power Tour Andre got his official VIN from the state of Louisiana, and headed over to Gonzales, Louisiana, as a Power Tour Long Hauler with 6 miles on the odometer. Though some transmission gremlins have plagued the COPO, as of this writing on Day 5 he’s made it as far as Wichita, Kansas, and has logged over 1000 miles averaging over 20 miles per gallon.
Andre has more reason than just Drag Week to dial in this combo. He has purchased four other 2014 CPC COPOs that he wants to convert as time and cha-cha allow. So there you have it: the first legally licensed COPO Camaro.
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