Chevy Camaro COPO and SS at SEMA only care about quarter mile times

  • Image Credit: Drew Phillips
Once again, Chevrolet has taken to SEMA to show off its newest COPO Camaro, but it's not the only straight-line-special Camaro on the stand this year. Alongside the purpose-built dragster is a Camaro SS Chevy has been using for the company's drag racing development program. While it doesn't carry the name and fame of the COPO, it's existence will likely lead to some mods for current Camaro owners.

The base platform for the show car is a 2017 Camaro SS with an eight-speed automatic, to which the company added a new torque converter with a 4,200 stall and a different transmission calibration. This new converter lets the engine rev higher before taking off so the car gets a better launch, with the goal of replicating the usage and upgrade path of an amateur drag racer. With that in mind, the company added a set of heads, a more aggressive cam, and Chevrolet Performance intake and exhaust kits to bump horsepower up to 535. The company also borrowed bits and pieces from the Camaro parts bin, looking for the strongest components for drag racing. This Camaro mash-up now uses the driveshaft and half-shafts from the sixth-generation ZL1 and the differential from the fifth-generation ZL1 with a 3.73 gear ratio. The car also got a set of 16-inch wheels at the back with drag slicks for optimum traction, as well as a small brake kit to fit in the tiny wheels.

The end results are impressive. Chevrolet reports that this drag-prepped Camaro SS managed a quarter mile time of 10.685 at 125.73 mph. But the most interesting part is that Chevrolet hinted that parts developed from this car could become available down the road as Chevrolet Performance Parts. So you may be able to take your own Camaro and turn it into a dragster.

Chevrolet, of course, also showed this year's COPO Camaro. Like last year, it features a drag-racing specific chassis that ditches the production Camaro's independent rear suspension for a live axle. It also still offers supercharged 350 (5.7-liter) and naturally aspirated 427 (7.0-liter) LS-series V8s and a naturally aspirated 376 (6.2-liter) LT-series V8. All of these engines feature the venerable TH400 three-speed automatic transmission. The first of just 69 to be sold this year will go for auction at the Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale auction in January, and the proceeds will go to the United Way.

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