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2018 Chevy COPO Camaro is an 8-second factory drag beast

Now available with one of three different engines, the COPO Camaro can party like very few factory-built cars can.

If you want to buy a purpose-built drag racer from an automaker, your options are limited to Chevrolet and Dodge, but Chevrolet's got some tricks up its NHRA-approved sleeve for 2018.

Chevrolet on Wednesday revealed the 2018 COPO Camaro. Designed to race in the National Hot Rod Association's Stock Eliminator class. While they might look like beefier versions of the standard Camaro, the COPO Camaro has been thoroughly reworked to handle the rigors of repeated runs down the drag strip.

Now that is one hell of an engine.


This year, buyers will get a choice of three engines. The naturally-aspirated 7.0-liter V8 and supercharged 5.7-liter V8 from last year return, alongside an all new entry -- a 5.0-liter V8 built for high revs. The latter is based off the LT1 V8 in the 2018 Camaro SS, but it features a shorter-stroke crankshaft among other mods. No matter the engine, power is sent through a three-speed automatic transmission before reaching the rear wheels.

Opt for the supercharged 5.7-liter engine, and the COPO Camaro will be capable of quarter-mile runs in the mid-8-second range with trap speeds nearing 160 mph. There's a very good reason these cars aren't street legal.

Other changes to the COPO Camaro include a solid rear axle in place of the standard Camaro's independent rear suspension, as well as racing suspension components and chassis modifications. At these speeds, you'll need the whole complement of safety equipment, including a roll cage.

Only 69 examples of the 2018 COPO Camaro will be built, just as Chevrolet's done every year since restarting the COPO Camaro program in 2012. Interested owners will be picked to purchase the car via a lottery system. The program started back in 1969, when an Illinois dealer special-ordered Camaros with the ZL-1 engine.

Chevrolet's main drag-strip special competitor is the Dodge Challenger Drag Pak. Unlike the street-legal Demon, the Drag Pak is a hardcore strip machine meant exclusively for quarter-mile runs. With up to 1,000 horsepower on tap, I wouldn't want to put that thing anywhere near a road anyhow.