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Xplantdad 11-10-2019 02:45 PM

Grady Burch's 1969 COPO Chevelle!
28 Attachment(s)
Thank you to Grady Burch, Mike Angelo, MuscleCar Review,Drew Hardin and Richard Prince for allowing me to repost this wonderful article of the amazing restoration of Grady's COPO by Mike Angelo.

Mike will be adding additional photos as time permits of the restoration-showing the detail that was put into this Chevelle!


Rare Garnet Red 1969 Chevrolet COPO Chevelle Gets a Whole New Life

Written by Drew Hardin on September 18, 2019
Photography provided by Richard Prince

It’s believed that about 300 Chevelles went through Chevrolet’s COPO program in 1969, receiving 427ci engines and other high performance gear. Of those, an estimated 66 remain. So having one of these rarities in a collection is a landmark achievement. Collector Grady Burch has two: this recently restored Garnet Red example and an unrestored original Dusk Blue COPO he’s owned since 1987. Both Chevelles will be displayed together at the 2019 Muscle Car and Corvette Nationals in Illinois November 23-24 (

For years this COPO Chevelle was known in the supercar community as the Ribbon COPO for the multicolored ribbons of paint on the hood and trunklid. Little is known about the car’s history, but Grady is sure that back in the day no one had any idea it was rare. As the hobby matured, though, and knowledge grew about the COPO program, its provenance was eventually uncovered.

In 2014, Grady’s pal Phil Wojnarowski was offered a chance to buy the car. At the time Phil had just purchased an orange COPO Chevelle and so wasn’t in the market for another. Grady wasn’t sure he wanted it either. “It needed paint, and the original drivetrain was gone except for the rearend.” Ultimately, the owner made Grady an offer he just couldn’t pass up.

Grady and his frequent car co-conspirator Mike Angelo were working on Grady’s brown COPO Camaro at the time, but once the Camaro was finished, they started in on the Chevelle. “There aren’t that many Garnet Red COPO Chevelles,” Grady says. “Even including Yenkos. We counted between seven and 10 cars at the most.”

When Grady and Phil first inspected the car, “it didn’t look too bad,” Mike said. But once he got into it, he realized the Chevelle was going to need “a lot of bodywork. There must have been a gallon of Bondo on the back end of this car.” In the end, the Chevelle “got a full trunk pan, repairs to the inner and outer wheel tubs, the lower valance behind the rear window, and we replaced the taillight panel,” Mike says. The front half of the car needed some patches on the floorboards, Mike says, and a new hood.

Meanwhile, Grady worked on the car’s driveline. To the Chevelle’s original COPO-specific KQ-code rearend he added a date-code-correct, CE-code replacement engine that was rebuilt by Joe Zeoli. The M22 four-speed behind the motor is also a date-code-correct, CT-code replacement transmission. “I bought what would have been bought by Chevrolet as a service replacement,” says Grady.

“I tried to use as many original parts as I could, and N.O.S. parts that I’ve collected,” he explains. “There are some repro parts here and there, but by and large they’re either original or N.O.S. I’ve been collecting parts, not just for this car, but just collecting, for years.” Even so, Grady wants to acknowledge the help he got from other friends in his search for hard-to-find parts, with a special shout-out to Phil Wojnarowski.

At a Glance

1969 COPO Chevelle
Owned by: Grady Burch, Hinckley, OH
Restored by: Mike Angelo, Green, OH; Joe Zeoli, A-1 Automotive Machine Shop, Greensburg, PA
Engine: 427ci/500 (est.) hp L72 V8
Transmission: Muncie M22 Rock Crusher 4-speed manual
Rearend: KQ-code 12-bolt with 4.10 gears and Positraction
Exterior Color: Garnet Red
Interior: Black vinyl bench seat
Wheels: 14◊7 SS
Tires: F70-14 Goodyear Wide Tread GT
Special parts: 41,261 original miles

big gear head 11-10-2019 02:58 PM

Sweet! Will this be at MCACN?

Xplantdad 11-10-2019 03:02 PM

Yes it will! :headbang:

olredalert 11-10-2019 03:16 PM

----Love the car and love, love the pinner white walls!!!! Can't wait to see this monster at MCACN along with my other favorite a certain Dusk Blue COPO…….Bill S

Ryan1969Chevelle 11-10-2019 03:52 PM

Killer car!!!

Canít wait to see it at MCACN!!!

White Walls make the whole car, no question!!!

Ryan W31

SS427 11-10-2019 06:15 PM


Zedder 11-10-2019 07:19 PM


flyingn 11-10-2019 08:37 PM

great job! Love it!!

m22mike 11-10-2019 08:52 PM


Originally Posted by SS427 (Post 1470694)

Well....we certainly had a good roll model as we followed along with your Red Yenko Chevelle. Your thread, along with Chevelle guidance from Grady and Phil :youguysrock: They kept reminding me it was not a Camaro, but it is just another Chevy, right...:hmmm:. With no paint on the rear suspension. As you know Rick we were close behind you during your build, but we were in secret squirrel mode as Grady wanted the big finish to be at MCACN. AND the cool artical and cover in this issue of MCR, thanks MCR and Drew Hardin :biggthumpup:.... Plus posting pictures every day messes with nap time. It was fun talking with you along the way, and thanks for all your help.
Both The Grady 69 COPO Chevelles will be side by side at MCACN , so make a point of seeing both cars. If you have never seen the Blue car, it is the world standard for a un restored original COPO Chevelle.
Pictures of our build to follow, and MORE shots of the "Ribbon COPO" for sure, it was a cool period paint job.


Mr. Chevy 11-10-2019 10:05 PM

I saw this car in person the other night. Pictures do it no justice!!

Mike "out did" himself on this car!!

It is absolutely stunning!!

Awesome work Mike!!


mockingbird812 11-10-2019 10:13 PM

Congrats to Grady and Mikey. No surprise Mikey hit another one completely out of the parK!!:cool2: Well Done!!:Can-I-Have-It:

MosportGreen66 11-10-2019 10:24 PM

Cannot wait to see this thing and Mike/GB at the show! Congrats... wow!

RPOLS3 11-10-2019 10:24 PM


m22mike 11-11-2019 11:17 AM

6 Attachment(s)
I forgot to thank Bruce for the great Members ride in my first post, but you guys know that :BruceRocks: Thanks much.
Since we did not do a build thread on the Ribbon COPO I will be posting pictures over the next few weeks of the ugly duckling to what it is today.
Here are a few of Grady's favorite pic's of the Ribbon paint.. It was actually done pretty well for that time.
Note the cob webbing on the lower front fender lower silver trim, there was some white cob web on the black upper cowl as well but no picture of that :tongue:
At one point the car was given the black padded top, a PITA to get all the white 1/4" foam off.

Woj 11-11-2019 12:33 PM

This car is spectacular in person. Congrats to Mike who did another outstanding restoration and Cudos to Grady for stepping up with the best parts for the car. It really came out nice.
Great ink as well!

m22mike 11-11-2019 03:18 PM

And some of that good stuff came from Phil...:biggthumpup:

chevyman0429 11-11-2019 04:01 PM

Beautiful job gentlemen! I’m guessing it didn’t originally have a vinyl top ?

m22mike 11-11-2019 04:59 PM

Correct, no top on the TT.


A12pilot 11-12-2019 12:04 AM!!:shocke d::shocked::shocked::worship::worship::worship::wo rship::worship::worship::worship::worship:

Thereís just not enough emojis to fill this thread. Stunning!!! Canít wait to see it!:3gears:

Cheers to you, Mikey!


Billohio 11-12-2019 12:08 AM

Mike does a great job. Beautiful car guys

m22mike 11-14-2019 11:34 AM

2 Attachment(s)
A few more pictures of the discovery phase :eek2:

When Grady and Phil looked at the car they came away thinking the quarters wear not to bad and they might be saved, not the case. The left one had been replaced, and of coarse it was scabbed in at the sale panel. It was early on based on the black and white GM part# sticker I found. The other quarter had a bunch of patches, hammered in and filled with filler. There was so much filler that the rear wheel opening lips had lost the definition, Phil spotted this at my place when I first got the car. You gotta' love 40+ year old body work, very creative :crazy:

Another of the customized tail light panel with the trim removed and cob webbed.

m22mike 11-14-2019 11:40 AM

3 Attachment(s)
more repairs found

m22mike 11-14-2019 01:01 PM

4 Attachment(s)
The once replaced left quarter panel. Note the older white and black GM part number sticker.

The Gas tank Story.
Grady, Phil and myself, and the previous owner of the car could never exactly figure out what the hump in the trunk was. We all have seen the car from time to time going back 15 or more years.
The hump was made of fiberglass and after I dropped the tank it was now clear why it was there. For reasons unknown a tank from a 73 and later Chevelle was used. After sharing pictures with a friend, he was the one that identified the tank usage. The trunk pad was very hacked up with replacement panels as needed.

napa68 11-14-2019 03:00 PM

Hats off to both of you guys (Grady and Mike)! I wish I could see the car at MCACN. Won't be able to make it this year


m22mike 11-15-2019 03:39 PM

7 Attachment(s)
On to gutting the back of the car. AMD trunk pan, rear tail light panel, package tray, lower back glass panel, and trunk drop off panels. All AMD, nice stuff, full gauge as OEM. Quarters are older GM.

m22mike 11-15-2019 03:48 PM

5 Attachment(s)
The inner wheel house's were not rusted up, however the old school trunk panels were all brazed in, impossible to remove, YUK.

Patches were hand fabbed as needed.

mockingbird812 11-15-2019 05:23 PM

Dat boy's got talent!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Flying Undertaker 11-16-2019 05:38 PM

Mike & Grady: Nice work on that Earl Evans COPO! Looks like surprises lurked around every corner, but your expertise got them all straightened out! See you both at MCACN. Don.

NorCam 11-17-2019 01:26 AM

Amazing work once again Mike. I love the attention to detail throughout the car. It really shows how you guys have dialed it right in. Also love how you guys managed to keep this one so quiet until now.

Hope to meet you guys in Chicago next week. Congrats on the MCR coverage as well.


m22mike 11-17-2019 02:09 AM

Yes, please stop by, would like to see you. I might be taking a nap behind the cars so wake me up...:naughty:


ZLP955 11-17-2019 02:23 AM

Outstanding work Mike. Congrats to you and Grady, the car is stunning.

chevyman0429 11-17-2019 09:58 AM

Not to jump of subject but the muscle car review magazine has a blue 69 chevelle in it with what looks like a set of cragars on it and I believe it said it also belongs to Grady. Anyone have pics of that car it looks to have a killer stance and tire and wheel combination

Postsedan 11-17-2019 12:08 PM

I sent you pictures :)

Check your email.


chevyman0429 11-17-2019 12:59 PM


Originally Posted by Postsedan (Post 1471624)
I sent you pictures :)

Check your email.


Yup thatís it killer stance and wheel combination! Thanks Dan

m22mike 11-17-2019 01:38 PM


Originally Posted by chevyman0429 (Post 1471630)
Yup thatís it killer stance and wheel combination! Thanks Dan

Thanks Dan, I posted a couple more in the Stance thread where Grady had posted a while back.

m22mike 11-20-2019 03:12 PM

1 Attachment(s)

Originally Posted by NorCam (Post 1471597)
Amazing work once again Mike. I love the attention to detail throughout the car. It really shows how you guys have dialed it right in. Also love how you guys managed to keep this one so quiet until now.

Hope to meet you guys in Chicago next week. Congrats on the MCR coverage as well.


Yep, hats off to MCR for a great artical. Talked to Grady and the cars are loaded and headed to Chi-Town.

mockingbird812 11-20-2019 03:23 PM

Beautiful cars!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

BTW Mikey, the suspense is killing me......which is the original and which is restored (I'll take yr response off line) ;>)

m22mike 11-20-2019 03:53 PM

5 Attachment(s)
Quarters cut off and under structure cleaned to bare steel and etched, and epoxy primed.
Outer wheel houses 90% original less the repairs to the outer lips using AMD metal. Quarters temporally mounted in place , tack welded in the lip repairs.
Also trunk drop offs in and primed.

Mr70 11-20-2019 04:13 PM

Congrats to all involved.
Thorough work with breathtaking results.

NorCam 11-25-2019 11:04 PM

Grady & Mike,

Thanks for the introductions and the lengthy conversations while getting a great look at the two Copo's on the weekend. The work on the Red car was amazing and I enjoyed seeing the blue car up close as well. I was very happy to have met both of you at the show and appreciate the time you both spent showing and discussing the details of the cars. Can't wait to see what pictures are added from Bruce and yourselves.

Graeme :biggthumpup:

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