2023 Chevrolet COPO Camaro V-8 Now Packs 1,000 HP

Chevrolet’s factory-built drag car, the COPO Camaro, returns for 2023 but it’s bringing along a new engine to the quarter-mile fight. How does it compare to the outgoing 572 V-8 from the 2022 model? We take a look at the specs for both to see how these big block Camaros line up, but suffice it to say, the new COPO 632 is going to be a much more powerful engine thanks to more displacement.

Quick History of The COPO Camaro

Introduced in 1968, the Central Office Production Order (COPO) Camaro quickly created a legend thanks to Fred Gibb—a die-hard GM drag racer, dealer, and a man who had the ears of GM’s upper management with his creation, COPO 9560. Fast forward to 2023 and the new COPO “20229562,” a play on the COPO lineage since it was reintroduced in 2012 as “20129562,” is just as much a factory drag car as Gibb’s creation.

However, these modern COPOs are built with much more stringent safety equipment than was used in 1968, along with much more powerful engines than those dealers ever dreamed of. The other big change is that, since 2022, the COPO Camaro is no longer limited to just 69 models (another original COPO callback) with a lottery system to just put in a deposit for one. Now, you get it just like you would any other car at the dealership: placing an order and deposit, and anyone can do it.

The exterior of the COPO is nearly identical to the current street version of the 2023 Chevrolet Camaro (save for the hood) while the running gear also remains mostly the same from the 2022 COPO. An ATI Racing Products TH400 with an SFI-approved “Super Case” connected to a Strange Engineering nine-inch rear with an aluminum center section by way of an aluminum driveshaft.

Inside that rear end is a lightweight steel spool that drives both Strange 9310 alloy, 40 spline and gun-drilled axles. Also attached to that rear end is a wheelie bar setup to keep the rear bumper from slapping the ground while also helping the car launch straight while the front wheels are up in the air. All cars also come with a carbon fiber hood, but only the supercharged version gets a parachute as standard equipment.

The other options, besides the engine, are a trunk-mounted weight box and dual batteries—an option that’s partially for weight distribution, but mostly so that you’re not stuck on the starting line because the single battery didn’t have enough power to crank your engine of choice.

Chevy’s Biggest Factory Big Block

Since it was introduced in 2021, it was only a matter of time before the competition version of the ZZ632 was dropped into the COPO. We finally get that for the 2023 COPO as GM’s Big Chungus of an engine replaces the COPO 572. With 60 more cubes on tap, the ZZ632 is capable of 1,004 hp and 872 lb-ft of torque on street-grade 93 octane pump gas. You can read up more on the design of the ZZ632 in our linked coverage of its debut, but using this engine with this much power does require some additional changes from the 572 cu. in. V-8 COPO.

The first is that the 632 is capable of spinning 50 more RPM for a redline of 7,000. It also gets a new first gear ratio of 2.10:1 and second gear to 1.40 in its TH400 versus the 2.48 first and 1.48 second of the 2022 572 and the 2023 427 cu. in. and supercharged 350 cu. in. V-8s. This also changes the ring gear ratio from 4.11 in the 2022 572 to 3.60 in the 632. (As a note, the 427 and supercharged 350 COPOs ring gear ratios remain the same at 4.57 for the 427 and 4.10 in the supercharged car.) All cars still use the ATI Racing Products Treemaster MRT eight-inch torque converter attached to an ATI SFI-approved steel flex plate while a Hurst Quarter Stick in reverse pattern allows the driver to do the shifting duties.

That additional 60 cu. in. also means the 632 takes one more quart of oil as its Champ deep sump steel pan has an 8-quart capacity. While it’s fuel injected, the 632 uses a four-barrel style throttle body with each bore measuring out to 2.55 inch over the single 90 mm throttle body of the 572 and 427. It’s also a thirstier engine, where both the 2022 572 and 427 were fed by eight 58 lb/hr EV6 injectors at 58 psi, the 632 is using a set of eight 85 lb/hr EV6 injectors at 58 psi.

This also required a change from the “Hi Ram” Holley intake manifold to a more traditional high rise single-plane manifold that you find in carbureted engines—but again, the 632 is fuel injected. Exhausting those spent gasses are a set of American Racing headers that feature a 2-inch diameter, 30-inch long primaries, and a matching merge collector. This is the same across all three 2023 engines and unchanged from the 2022 572. Keeping the engine rotational vibrations in check is an ATI SFI-approved Super Damper, with the only notable change being the 10 rib shell on the supercharged version, which is unchanged from the 2022 models and the 572 COPO.

ZZ632 vs COPO 632

For the most part, the ZZ632 and the COPO 632 are identical in displacement and minor details, but there are some differences between the GM crate and the COPO engines. The biggest difference seems to come down to the camshaft and it’s not really that big of a change. The ZZ632 uses a 270-degree intake and 287-degree duration to 0.050-inch lift while the COPO 0.050-inch duration is 285-degrees, but both camshafts have a 0.780-inch intake and 0.782-inch exhaust lift. After that, the water pumps are different with the ZZ632 using an aluminum mechanical pump while the COPO uses a Meziere Billet electric pump. Outside of those somewhat minor differences, both versions of the 632 appear to be identical.

With that in mind, this appears to be the most powerful Camaro, COPO or otherwise, that Chevrolet will have ever offered from the factory. With the ZZ632 capable of delivering over 1,000 hp on 93 octane fuel, some extra detonation protection could bump that up ever so slightly. Regardless, with that much power on tap, the COPO Camaro is going to put Ford Mustang Cobra Jet and Dodge Challenger Mopar Drag Pak owners on notice that there’s a new horsepower king in town—and it doesn’t need the performance enhancement of a supercharger to do it.

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