In the eyes of the everyday gearhead, and to many hardcore racers, the most celebrated Camaro is the 1969 COPO 9560 ZL1. A limited run of sixty-nine saw the light of day and were solely built to terrorize the NHRA Stock and Super Stock classes. This potent light-weight masterpiece laid waste to the competition thanks to an all-aluminum 427 under the hood, that continues to strike fear into any Mopar and Ford fanboy.
Fast forward to present day, history has repeated itself in the form of the factory-built race cars that Chevrolet Performance has launched onto the racing scene. A wide range of engine combinations power this excellent factory racer. Stock platform powerplants range from a naturally aspirated 350 to a Whipple supercharged LSX-based version.
Chevrolet Performance allows anyone the opportunity to pluck any one of theses four NHRA-spec crate engines out of its catalog, versus tracking down a new COPO Camaro. Which would be no small feat, considering that every rendition was limited to a run of 69 each calendar year they were produced.
These kinds of engine options really open the door to converting your car to an NHRA legal Stock and Super Stock contender. The base 350 ci LS7-based engine might be the low man on the totem pole with only 350 NHRA rated horsepower, but don’t let this low number lead you astray, this small displacement engine is a powerhouse. This 10.6:1 compression engine has outstanding potential to rev to 8,000 RPM direct from the factory. Achieved thanks to the expertly balanced Callies rotating assembly found in the entire line up of crate engines.
The parade of capable LS engines continues with the COPO 396. The naturally aspirated LS3-based crate engine employs the same 265 cc LS3-based cylinder head and a similar rotating assembly as the 350 ci. They say that there is no replacement for displacement, the added cubic inches bring the NHRA horsepower rating up to 390 hp. A custom designed billet hydraulic roller camshaft handles the valve operation, increasing lift from .525″ IN/ .525″ EX, in the 350 ci engine, to .595″ IN/ .595″ EX.
The 427 ci is the pinnacle of the naturally aspirated performance in the line up. A proven combination that got a 21st-century update to once again bully track goers across the U.S. Rated to 430 hp, the new edge 427 ci is crafted out of an aluminum LS7 block and topped with a set of fully CNC milled LS7 based heads. Outfitted with larger 2.205-inch Del West titanium intake and 1.615-inch lightweight sodium-filled exhaust valves; over the 2.165 intake and 1.590-inch found in the 350 ci and 396 ci crate engines.
At the top of these four COPO crate engines is the mighty Whipple supercharged LSX 350 ci. This heavy hitter in known to crack out more than 1,000 hp, despite its 530 NHRA horsepower rating, with minor tweaks to the engine and tune. Like the rest of the COPO engines, the oiling system is an internal wet sump that is capable of keeping up with the Chevrolet Performance 8,000 rpm rating, placed on all the COPO engines. The identical set of cylinder heads that feed the 427 ci engine allow this engine to inhale all the boost the Whipple supercharger provides.
The wide range of naturally aspirated engines allows you to compete in the ranks of NHRA’s Stock Eliminator in the AA/S to D/S classes. While the supercharged 350 engine makes cars eligible for AAA/S and AA/S classes. Make sure to consult your Chevrolet Performance catalog or website for more info.