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Old 10-31-2001, 02:26 PM
Norm reynolds Norm reynolds is offline
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Default what does copo mean

Hi I am new to your forum. I am a 30 ASE master tec . I am now on disability and spend my time reading up on old cars ,and find the that history of musclecars fancying
I have leaned a lot on your fourm but I keep reading about copo cars. What is a copo, I know that it stands for central office production order.I dont what to sound stupit but I still do not unerstand what it means and if these are rare cars
Norm
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Old 10-31-2001, 02:39 PM
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Default Re: what does copo mean

Norm;
The COPO ordering system was the method used by various customers to order 'fleet' vehicles. The customers were usually municipalities (police cars, township vehicles), taxi companies, ect... These companies simply wanted some special equipment, options combination, or even a color change for a bunch of vehicles. Fred Gibb in Laharpe, IL figured why not use this method to order special equipment that makes the cars go faster! (sort of like a fleet order of factory built/warrantied race cars). The only stipulation was that the COPO request needed to use existing GM parts, and had to be approved by the engineering dept. Fred Gibb used this method to order 50 L78 Novas with the TH400 trans, which was a special trans in '68. Obviously, dropping a Corvette L72 427 engine into a '69 Camaro or '69 Chevelle was fairly easy, as was an LT1 350 into a '70 Nova, so they were approved but not advertised by GM. Many of the COPO cars went to Yenko Chev. who then added his finishing touches and sold them through his dealer network.

I believe the COPO secret got out in '69 via Jim Mattison who was dating Berger's daughter?? Any truth to that??
M
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70 Yenko Nova-350/360, 4speed M21, 4.10 Posi (Daddy's Ride)
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Old 10-31-2001, 05:05 PM
Chevy454 Chevy454 is offline
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Default Re: what does copo mean

Norm:

First off, "welcome" to the site! I think you came to the right place to get your question answered (correctly!), and feel free to ask any questions you might have.
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Old 10-31-2001, 09:16 PM
Norm reynolds Norm reynolds is offline
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Default Re: what does copo mean

Thanks for the info Now I understand.I love the cars of the 60,s and the story behind them. its a lot of FUN. I will be here form time to time reading learning, and some time to put my two cents in. Thank you for the infor about the copo cars
Norm
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Old 10-31-2001, 10:07 PM
Arctic Z Dan Arctic Z Dan is offline
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Default Re: what does copo mean

COPO = Central Office Production Order. (I believe) It's something like that anyhow. Later, Dan
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Old 11-01-2001, 01:41 PM
JoeC JoeC is offline
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Default Re: what does copo mean

The term "COPO Car" or "Coh Poe Car" has developed into a muscle car buzz word normally used to describe a specially ordered limited edition high performance Chevrolet product such as the 1968 Nova SS 396/375 TH400, the 1969 ZL1 Camaro, the 1969 427/425 Camaro and Chevelle, or the 1970 LT1 Nova. The history is not exactly all clear but from what I can tell the origin of the term is from the Chevrolet Central Office which was a Division of GM. A department in the Central Office was the Chevrolet Fleet & Special Order Department that processed the paper work for the sales and marketing of Chevy Special Vehicles. These special vehicles may have been telephone trucks, taxi cabs, police cars, etc. Among these normally utilitarian vehicles were some hi po cars built to race. As far back as 1957, Chevy Central Office printed a book called "1957 Chevrolet Stock Car Competition Guide." This book told you how to order a 57 Chevy 150 Sedan with hi po cam, pistons, and even Corvette FI. All parts were RPO so the term COPO was not used but the book was published by Chevrolet Central Office. I have a copy of this book and it actually shows how to prepare a race car. I have read that Smokey Yunick had helped Chevy with this book. The next year I have in my notes was 1962 when Chevy wanted to run a competitive drag car. The hot ticket back then was to use aluminum parts to build light weight cars. Chevy built some "parts counter" aluminum front ends for the Impala/Belair and some people say that some 1962 Impalas were built at the factory with alu nose and a special 409 with a 1963 Z11 type intake manifold. This may have been some type of COPO car (not sure). In 1963 the 427 Z11 was built using RPOs not COPO and 50 or more were made to qualify it for NHRA competition. The next car I have notes on is the special order COPO Corvairs that Don Yenko ordered to build his Yenko Stingers to race in SCCA where a minimum of 100 were required. In 1968 Yenko special ordered some COPO Camaros with 140 speedometers and other options but the facts on this car are not all clear. Then came the 1968 COPO Nova 396/375 TH400 cars ordered by Fred Gibb and Dick Harrell. Then the 1969 ZL1 and L72 cars. In 1970 was a COPO LT1 Nova and a number for a special big Camaro rear spoiler that became standard in 1971. There is some evidence that Yenko ordered a COPO Vega in 1971 but not many facts on this car. I am sure there were other COPO cars. The COPO cars as they are known today were ordered to "beat the system." Using the COPO process you were able to get a non SS big block 427 car or special paint, or trans and rear end or an alu motor or other parts not available on regular order sheets. here is a link on the 1957 Black Window race car which appears to be the first factory race car from Chevy not counting the prototype cars and racing Corvettes they were building.

http://www.randomunity.com/superrod/...lackwidow.html


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Old 11-01-2001, 03:47 PM
68TopStock 68TopStock is offline
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Default Re: what does copo mean

Yenko Deuce Registry and JoeC,

Those are great posts, and Norm, welcome to the site.

My memory has been jogged now, and I thought I would add to your remark of special vehicles such as police COPO cars.

When I was a paperboy in downtown St. Paul in 1969, I distinctly remember checking out a 1969 or 1970 "unmarked" Nova 2dr squad car, parked by the city jail/court house. It was silver with a black interior. Had the dash mounted redlights and radios. The fender marking said "427", in a rectangular housing, with a red background, with the side marker light. The 427 markers is what drew me to look at it. I was only 15 at the time, but had a budding interest in cars, as the talk at high school at times revolved around what the "pigs" were driving, so we could keep an eye out, when cruising, and street racing. I hung out with older guys with cars before I could drive myself.

Maybe some "boys in blue" remember some of these cars, if indeed they existed. I'm sure some other municipalities around the nation could have ordered similar cars.







[Edited by 68TopStock (11-01-2001 at 09:47 AM).]
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Old 11-01-2001, 04:22 PM
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Default Re: what does copo mean

Top;
Did you ever get to ride in the back seat of said car????
M
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70 Yenko Nova-350/360, 4speed M21, 4.10 Posi (Daddy's Ride)
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67 RS Camaro-327/250hp, 2speed Glide, & 3.08 Open (Danny's Ride)
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Old 11-01-2001, 04:41 PM
Kurt S Kurt S is offline
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Default Re: what does copo mean

Most COPO's were unspectacular. Lots of taxis and other fleet vehicles, incl trucks. There were some special police vehicles. I've heard of a Chevelle with the only option being a police COPO BB.

It's only the late 60's did they exploit the COPO process for the hi-po BB's. Then the upper management realized what was going on (it violated the greater than 400 ci in a midsize rule) and solidly shut that down in 1970!

The special paint hi-po cars were not COPO's. They required zone and plant authorization (if I recall correctly), but did not involve the central office.
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Old 11-01-2001, 05:42 PM
JoeC JoeC is offline
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Default Re: what does copo mean

thanks Ken.
Jim Mattison stated in the MCR interview that he remembers writing COPO paperwork on special paint cars when he worked at GM. There may have been different levels of special paint orders. For example if you wanted a 67 SS Camaro without nose stripe it may not need to go through the COPO process. If you wanted a complete color change, like the Carolina Blue cars sold in NC where the color was off the charts, you may have had to go through the COPO process. Jim M did state that he remembered processing COPO paperwork for Chevrolets in a normally Pontiac only Green.
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