Larry Edsall / Special to The Detroit News
In the late 1960s, Chevrolet dealers and product promoters discovered they could use General Motors' Central Office Production Order system to do more than equip police and other special fleet vehicles.
By checking the right boxes on the right form, and then by doing some tweaking once those vehicles arrived at the dealerships, they could produce ultra high-performance versions of the new Camaro model.
Dealerships such as Yenko, Nickey, Berger and others produced COPO Camaros that were fast then and are much sought today by car collectors.
Today, at least two dealerships — DeNooyer Chevrolet in Albany, N.Y., and NeSmith Chevrolet, with locations in Claxton and Jesup, Ga. — are building what the manager of GM Performance Parts, Dr. Jamie Meyer, calls "the COPO Camaros of the 21st Century."
"700-Horsepower Camaro At Your Dealer Now!" proclaims the cover of the 2011 GM Performance Parts catalog that features images of NeSmith's "Storm" Camaro and the DeNooyer 454 Camaro.
NeSmith, which has become the largest GM Performance Parts dealership in the country, had its in-house NeSmith Customs shop work with Jen Jac's Restorations of nearby Savannah, Ga., to create the "Storm," which started with a transplant that put the supercharged LS9 V-8 from the Corvette ZR1 under a Camaro's hood.
After some tweaking, the engine pumps out around 700 horsepower. Add a special ground-effects aerodynamic body kit, Baer brakes, American Racing Headers exhaust system, Hurst short-throw shifter, Pfadt Racing suspension components, Drive Shaft Shop axles and tuning on the chassis dyno at Hypertech and you have a $125,000 road rocket.
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Photo Credit: The Detroit News