Chevrolet COPO Chevelle Yenko S/C
By 1969, the Chevelle Super Sport no longer stood alone as a separate model, but rather was a 396 engine and trim package added to a Malibu, 300 Deluxe Malibu or El Camino. Furthermore, 1969 is the only year an SS package could be ordered on the base-model 300 Deluxe.
Chevrolet also offered some incredibly strong engine packages by 1969, including the largest displacement engine available since the Chevelle's introduction: the L72 427-cu.in., 425hp engine. However, few knew about this rare option.
In 1969, others, particularly Chrysler, were offering large-displacement engines with multiple carburetors and, for a variety of reasons, GM had to keep up. While Chevrolet offered tri-power options on the Corvette, the Chevelle SS was relegated to a single four-barrel carburetor. While Chrysler offered the 440 Six Pack and 440 Six Barrel, the cars with these engines usually wore badging and hoods with mailbox-like scoops-hardly what you'd describe as stealthy.
In stark contrast to the extroverted approach at Chrysler, Chevrolet inserted tire-melting big-block power in stripped Chevelles that savvy buyers knew were available only as Central Office Production Orders.
It is believed that Don Yenko was behind the inception of this COPO option, allowing his SYC promotion of the hot S/C Chevelles without the need for the time-consuming and expensive engine swaps. Yenko took a COPO car and added distinctive custom side and hood striping, along with 427 and crest emblems.
Chevrolet built 86,307 SS Chevelles in 1969, and of that number, 323 were COPO cars. Of those elite 323, 99 were sent to Yenko to be transformed into a Yenko S/C Chevelle at his Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, dealership.
Yenko had hopes of keeping this now-infamous loophole a secret that only he could take advantage of. But that secret didn't last long. Berger Chevrolet began ordering Camaros and Chevelles for their own purposes, and so did several other dealerships-some of which just sold off the cars unmolested to their customers. Chevrolet's ordering guidelines specified that any and all COPO cars built had to be available to any Chevrolet dealer, and it is known that 17 COPO cars were sent to Canada.
So powerful were these Chevelles, they could, in stock trim, cover the quarter mile in 13.3 seconds at 108 mph. The COPO Chevelle could be ordered in a number of different COPO combinations, depending on several factors.
Basically, ordering COPO 9562 or 9566 deleted the L78, a 396-cu.in. 375hp engine and added the L72 427. The Harrison three-core radiator and dual exhaust also were part of the COPO option. RPO NC8 chambered exhaust was an available option and equipped on a limited number of Chevelles.
According to Ed Cunneen of COPO Connection, the recognized authority on these special cars, there is no obvious identification of COPO cars on the VIN or the trim tag. The only concrete identifier of a COPO car is one of the six-digit option codes listed below, which appears only on the car's build sheet and the original window sticker. Luckily, most GM cars have build sheets hidden in the cars, but of course, it's easier to fake one than it is to fake a VIN plate or a trim tag, so buyer beware.