GMPP Catalog Cover Camaros Revive the COPO Spirit of Dealer-Built Supercars

By Auto News Log • December 9th, 2010

GRAND BLANC, Mich. – Dealership-created performance packages were an important part of Chevrolet’s muscle car heritage. Names like Yenko, Nickey, Berger and others helped drive high-performance options, while enhancing the mystique of one-off collectables decades later. In fact, it was creative ordering on the part of dealers that created the legendary COPO Camaros of the late 1960s – cars available from those enterprising dealers, but not offered in any official catalog or order guide.

More than 40 years later, a couple of dealers – DeNooyer Chevrolet in New York and Georgia’s NeSmith Chevrolet – have rekindled the concept of using Chevrolet’s own parts to create specialty Camaros that simply aren’t offered in regular production. DeNooyer used GM Performance Parts’ (GMPP) LSX454 crate engine (part number 19244611) to build a modern 454 engine for the Camaro SS, while NeSmith transplanted the supercharged LS9 engine from the Corvette ZR1 into their Camaro.

“These great Camaros exemplify the spirit of dealer-built super cars that grew out of the muscle car era,” says Dr. Jamie Meyer, product integration manager for GM Performance Parts. “They are the COPO Camaros of the 21st century.”

Both cars are featured on the cover the 2011 GM Performance Parts catalog.

The DeNooyer 454 Camaro, dubbed the HTR-SS454 (named for partner Redline Motorsports’ owner Howard Tanner), takes the GMPP LSX454 crate engine and adds a port fuel injection system to its LS7-style LSX six-bolt cylinder heads. The engine has an all-forged rotating assembly and an 11.0:1 compression ratio. A front end accessory drive system was added, too, along with a custom flywheel and ZR1 clutch matched to the six-speed manual transmission.

With the custom engine installed and properly tuned, chassis-dyno testing of the Camaro delivered a strong 520 horsepower and 530 lb.-ft. of torque at the rear wheels – or right about the 620-hp/590-lb.-ft. estimates from GMPP for the basic crate engine. The car’s driveline was beefed up to handle the 200-horsepower increase over stock, too, with stronger axles and stiffer bushings throughout.

Much like what was done with the legendary Baldwin-Motion cars, of the Sixties, DeNooyer joined forces with an expert performance shop, Redline Motorsports, to help engineer and build the HTR-SS454. Redline a leader in LS-based high-performance engines and vehicles and it also collaborates with DeNooyer Chevrolet on the HTR-600 Camaro, which uses the 505-hp LS7 engine from the Corvette Z06 – also available as a crate engine from GMPP (part number 19211710). More information is available from Dan Carlton, general manager of the DeNooyer Performance Division: 518-526-0412 or dan@denooyerperformancedivision.com

While the DeNooyer 454-powered Camaro evokes memories of yesteryear, NeSmith’s LS9-powered “Storm” Camaro is pure modern performance, with the world-beating power of the Corvette ZR1 under the hood. It was created within the dealership’s in-house customization facility, NeSmith Customs, with assistance from nearby Jen Jac’s Restorations. NeSmith also happens to be the largest GMPP dealer in the country.

The LS9 is offered as a crate engine from GM Performance Parts (part number 19201990) and, because of its similar LS-family architecture to the Camaro’s original LS3 engine, easily slipped into the engine compartment – although some fabrication was necessary to accommodate the unique placement of some accessories, as well as the LS9’s dry sump-style oiling system. But when the installation was completed, the engine looked factory-installed. And with a few minor upgrades, the engine is producing about 700 horsepower.

Like the DeNooyer HTR-SS454, the NeSmith Storm Camaro matches its greater performance capability with complementing drivetrain parts, including stronger axles and a Baer brake system featuring six-piston calipers, front and rear.

NeSmith is offering the LS9-powered Storm Camaro as a special model through its dealership. More information is available from Steve Gordon: sgordon@nesmithnow.com or 912-739-5305.

About GM Performance Parts

GM Performance Parts (GMPP) fuels the passions of automotive enthusiasts with factory-engineered and fully assembled crate engines, engine parts and vehicle accessories, including specialized licensed parts and accessories. GM Performance Parts is the only source for brand-new classic small-block and big-block crate engines, which use all-new parts, including the cylinder block, rotating assembly and cylinder heads. GMPP is also the leader in “LS” performance, with a full range of production-based crate engines and the growing family of LSX maximum performance engines and parts. GMPP’s LS-based E-ROD engine systems include emissions equipment that meets California requirements for pre-OBD-II vehicles (E-ROD LS3 systems carry CARB EO D-126-30), delivering high performance with low emissions. No other manufacturer offers a comparable system. Customers can view information and purchase engines and parts at gmperformanceparts.com.

Source: Chevrolet

 

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