Chevrolet launched its track-only COPO Camaro in 2012, but this year stands above the rest for two reasons. First off, there's a massive big-block engine option offered for the very first time. And second, there are no limits on production, so if you want a COPO, you should be able to get one. There could be more to all of this than meets the eye, which we'll talk about in a bit.
Drag racers know all about the COPO, but for the rest, here's a summary. In 1969, a few Chevy dealerships used the automaker's Central Office Production Order (COPO) system to special-order Camaros with options and engines you normally couldn't get. 69 cars were built in that one (and only) year, but Chevy revived the COPO Camaro for 2012 as a dedicated turn-key drag racer that's decidedly not street legal.
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For 2022, engine options now include Chevy's massive 572 cubic-inch (9.4-liter) V8. It's the first time this big block has graced the modern COPO Camaro, and while we'd love to tell you how much power it creates, Chevy tells us an exact figure hasn't been certified with the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) just yet. However, perusing the crate engines available from General Motors, the 572 is offered in different variations ranging from 621 to nearly 700 horsepower (463 - 522 kilowatts) so it will likely fall somewhere in that range.
Gallery: 2022 Chevrolet COPO Camaro Big Block
If these stats carry over to the COPO, the big block Camaro would slot above the 580-hp (433-kW) supercharged 5.7-liter V8 engine also offered. A naturally aspirated 7.0-liter V8 with 470 hp (350 kW) is available as well.
Honoring the original 1969 COPO Camaro's run, Chevy builds just 69 examples each year but not for 2022. Now, the automaker will build as many COPOs as there are orders, with no limits. Fewer than 700 have been made since the modern program launched in 2012, but with production now wide open, cars will be assembled on a first-come-first-serve basis until buyers stop coming. Pricing for the 2022 COPO Camaro with the big-block engine starts at $105,000.
Here's where we can't help looking a bit deeper at all of this. It's no secret that sales of the production-model Camaro are dismal and have been for some time. It's also no secret that Camaro's existence almost certainly ends with this current generation, but the last model year is still up in the air. We've heard 2024 and 2026 tossed out quite often, but with Chevrolet basically pulling out all the stops for the 2022 COPO in terms of power and production, it sure feels like a last gasp before the end. Could 2022 be the end of the COPO Camaro, or the end of all Camaros?
It's just speculation on our part, but if we wanted to send the Camaro out with a bang, this isn't a bad way to go. Back it up with a final edition model in the spring of 2022, and prepare the masses for a possible Camaro EV sedan before the end of the decade.