Drag racing is the kind of motorsport that adds fuel to the fire of people’s love for a particular brand or car. Fans and racers love to wear their favorite brand with honor, and have no problem letting someone know how they feel about a rival manufacturer. Texas native Arthur Kohn has a true passion for the General Motors brand along with its performance products — specifically the COPO Camaro. Kohn is the proud owner of several COPO’s, and his 2016 model is a fully optioned beauty that’s looking to make a dent in the NHRA class racing world.
Growing up around anything mechanical can help drive anybody towards a love of cars, and Kohn is no different than the majority of racers at the track. “I’ve always been into cars. Since I was a little boy, I always worked on hot rods and tinkered with engines,” Kohn says.
When he came of driving age in high school, Kohn found himself trying to get as much seat time as possible at his home track Great Lakes Dragway in Union Grove, Wisconsin. After graduating, Kohn would always try to make time to get racing in when he could here or there.
Kohn has always had the desire to race at a higher level, and his collection of COPO Camaros is proof of that. Besides his 2016 car, Kohn owns a 2014 CRC #14 Camaro 427 that’s naturally aspirated, and a 2015 COPO #58 350 that’s supercharged. But the most interesting COPO in Kohn’s collection could be considered the godfather of the entire COPO Program.
“Last January, I purchased and still own the 1969 ZL1 #65 which is a dual COPO car 9560 and 9737. That makes it extremely rare, and one of the most famous of the 1969 ZL1’s produced. That car is the reason I’m racing the COPO Camaros today, and it’s the reason why the COPO program is around today. We also reunited the car with its “born with” engine and made a whole subframe for it to be displayed on,” Kohn explains.
The 2016 COPO was originally going to join the 1969 car in Kohn’s collection, but the inner racer in him wouldn’t let that happen. “At first, I was going to put the car in my collection, so I ordered it with all the options and the collector paint package. After I started racing the other COPO’s I couldn’t just let it just sit there and not be used. So, we took the car straight to the 2016 U.S. Nationals where the car qualified 13th in the Stock eliminator field. That’s not too bad at all for what was at the time a totally stock COPO,” Kohn says.
Getting to this point racing his 2016 COPO hasn’t been easy, but with the help of Brian Massingill and the team at SAM Tech, Kohn is on the right track. At the recent NHRA Fall Nationals, Kohn’s COPO went a stout 8.45 at 159. “If it wasn’t for SAM Tech and the Massingill family I wouldn’t be this far in my NHRA experience,” Kohn explains.
Kohn plans to continue to show off his love of all things COPO with the 2016 model in Stock and Super Stock action on the NHRA tour. “Class racing is a poker game is unlike anything else. There is a real skill in bracket racing at this level.”