• ’19 COPO CAMARO: SPECIAL EDITION GOLD!

    ’19 COPO CAMARO: SPECIAL EDITION GOLD!

    Chevrolet celebrates the golden anniversary – 50 years strong – of the legendary COPO Camaro at the SEMA Show.

    ’19 COPO CAMARO: SPECIAL EDITION GOLD!’19 COPO CAMARO: SPECIAL EDITION GOLD!An anniversary-themed ‘19 COPO Camaro racecar introduced today at the SEMA Show celebrates the 50-year milestone of the special order, ultimate performance models and launches the 2019 COPO Camaro program.

    “Chevrolet is proud to celebrate 50 years of the COPO Camaro legacy,” said Jim Campbell, GM U.S. vice president of Performance Vehicles and Motorsports. “It’s one of the most enduring legacies in drag racing, with a powerful past and fast future.”

    Featuring a special Anniversary Blue Metallic exterior color that pays homage to the original Laguna Blue offered in 1969, the SEMA show car previews the special color and graphics of the COPO Camaro 50th Anniversary Special Edition package offered for 2019. A 50th Anniversary Engine Appearance Package that emulates the look of vintage Chevy performance engines, with an orange engine block, chrome valve covers and a black high-rise intake manifold, is also available for the naturally aspirated LSX-based 427 racing engine.

    ’19 COPO CAMARO: SPECIAL EDITION GOLD!The ‘19 COPO Camaro’s available engine lineup includes a revised version of the supercharged, LSX-based 350 engine, now featuring a 2.65L Magnuson supercharger as well as a 302-cubic-inch engine. The COPO Camaro also features a distinctive and exclusive front-end design not shared with other production Camaro models. Only 69 ‘19 COPO Camaro racecars will be built — the same number of ‘69 COPO Camaro models that were built with the all-aluminum 427 ZL1 engine.

     COPO CAMARO HISTORY

    The COPO Camaro program got its start in 1969 and was inspired by Illinois-based Chevrolet dealer Fred Gibb, who used the company’s special order system to build what wasn’t already offered in the Camaro. The goal was to make the car more competitive in Stock Eliminator drag racing, which was rooted in production-based vehicles.

    Racers scraped for every extra horsepower the factory could give them, and it occurred to Gibb that Chevrolet’s in-house special order system, known as Central Office Production Order (COPO), could provide an advantage. Typically, the COPO system was used for fleet vehicle services such as special paint or truck equipment, but Gibb used it to equip the Camaro with the all-aluminum ZL1 427 racing engine, below. With its lightweight block and heads, the ZL1 427 engine weighed about 100 pounds less than the iron-based 396 big- block engine offered in the Camaro and produced more power. It was the perfect solution for the drag strip.

    ’19 COPO CAMARO: SPECIAL EDITION GOLD!Chevrolet didn’t simply rubber-stamp Gibb’s request. It took plenty of convincing and some cajoling from Vince Piggins, who was responsible for the Camaro Z28 at the time, to get the project approved. There was also another catch: To make the engine eligible for NHRA competition, at least 50 examples of the car had to be offered for sale to the public.

    ’19 COPO CAMARO: SPECIAL EDITION GOLD!Gibb ordered them, but knew he’d have a hard time selling the pricey muscle cars, which were essentially twice the cost of a standard Camaro. He sold 13 and the remaining 37 were redistributed to other dealers. In the meantime, more dealers found out about the ultimate performance COPO Camaro models and ordered their own. A total of 69 COPO Camaro models with the ZL1 engine were built.

    The 1969 COPO Camaro program included a number of models equipped with an iron-block version of the 427 engine. In the years after, drag strip success evolved into collector car distinction, with the comparative handful of ZL1-engined models among the most coveted muscle cars with collectors today.

    ’19 COPO CAMARO: SPECIAL EDITION GOLD!Chevrolet opened the next chapter in the COPO Camaro anthology in 2011 with the introduction of a COPO Camaro racecar concept at the SEMA Show. The overwhelming response helped Chevrolet make the decision to build the new COPO Camaro racecars in 2012. The contemporary COPO cars quickly picked up what their predecessors laid down on the drag strip half a century earlier, setting national records with eight-second ets.

    ’19 COPO CAMARO: SPECIAL EDITION GOLD!The ‘19 COPO Camaro joins the eCOPO Camaro Concept — an electrified racecar based on the ‘19 COPO Camaro — and approximately two dozen additional Chevrolet concepts and show vehicles at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas through November 2nd.

    Customers can register for a chance to purchase a ‘19 COPO Camaro at https://www.chevrolet.com/performance/copo-camaro

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  • SHORT TRACK RACING: HOMAGE TO A FORGOTTEN SERIES!

    SHORT TRACK RACING: HOMAGE TO A FORGOTTEN SERIES!

    Hard to believe it’s been nearly 20 years since the Championship Auto Racing Series (CARS) ran exciting, wheel to wheel stock car races on short tracks around Indiana. This series was distinct from and should not be confused with today’s southeastern CARS series that descended from the old Hooters ProCup series, blogs Stephen Cox.

    SHORT TRACK RACING: HOMAGE TO A FORGOTTEN SERIES!The original CARS series was Indiana-based, founded by former ARCA driver Morris Coffman. The concept was built around a spec stock car chassis powered by 305 cubic inch Chevrolet small block engines with two-barrel carburetors that produced about 335 horsepower. The hard compound tires were grooved to limit grip. A completed ready to race car was available for about $20,000, while kits could be purchased for half that price and assembled by the race teams.

    The result was a fun, affordable mid-level touring series that frequented premier Midwestern short tracks including Indianapolis Raceway Park (now Lucas Oil Raceway), Winchester Speedway and Ileana Speedway. The crowds were good. The racecars were fun to drive. They had enough power to slide through the turns but not so much grip that engine prices soared into the stratosphere. For a while – a very short while – CARS provided an excellent platform to learn the craft of stock car racing.

    SHORT TRACK RACING: HOMAGE TO A FORGOTTEN SERIES!I competed in the series from early 1999 until August 2000. My record was marginal, winning two of the series’ smaller events, sitting on the pole at Winchester and finishing sixth in the season points championship. But the competition sharpened my driving skills and introduced me to some great people who remain friends nearly two decades later.

    On September 19, 1999, a bright and cool Sunday afternoon, we put on a pretty good show for Winchester Speedway’s race fans. The top five cars broke away from the field and ran nose-to-tail and sometimes side-by-side on Winchester’s extreme, 32-degree banking for most of the 20-lap feature. My father and spotter, Nelson, coached me up to fourth place late in the event. The whirlwind speeds of Winchester’s high groove took your breath away, especially when running in a two or three-wide pack of five cars, all-vying for a win before a huge crowd at a historic track. I finished fourth in one of the best short track races of the year.

    Series front-runners included many outstanding drivers who had already proven themselves winners at other levels of racing. Mark Fesmire could do no wrong in the 1999 season and left us all in the dust on his way to the first CARS championship title. Indiana short track legend Eddie Van Meter won in front of 25,000 fans at Indianapolis in May 2000. Jeff Cannon was so fast he couldn’t keep tires under his car. Bob Dumke, Tim Green, Wes Bullock, Tim Wallen and other fine drivers competed in my era with many more joining after I departed for the Hooters Pro Cup Series in late 2000.

    SHORT TRACK RACING: HOMAGE TO A FORGOTTEN SERIES!Jerome Branscum, who won the 2003 CARS championship title and later purchased the series, said, “It was a series that we could get into for ten grand and get a nice looking car and we could go racing. I was 44 years old and had never driven a racecar before. It was a real thrill for me. It was the excitement of getting to go racing every week, and on a budget.”

    Going through multiple ownership changes, the series was active as late as 2012 although it struggled to draw entries. It eventually faded away, forgotten by all but a handful of former competitors. The Championship Auto Racing Series existed in the era immediately preceding the Internet, so not a trace of its history can be found online. It existed in the earliest era of digital photography, so traditional 35mm photos are scarce and the few available digital pictures are of poor quality. As far as I can tell all records of its races and indeed, the very existence of the series, have been lost.

    “I would like it to be remembered like it was in the early years,” Branscum recalled, “when you could go racing and it wouldn’t cost you a fortune. You could meet friendly people, race hard and have fun.”

    Stephen Cox: Driver, FIA EGT Championship & Super Cup Stock Car Series, CEO, Sopwith Motorsports Television Productions Co-host, Mecum Auctions on NBCSN.

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  • Going under the hood of UK Drivers

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    For most of us, if not us all, our vehicles are central parts in the motors of our everyday lives. We drive to work and home at night, to get into town or otherwise away from the hectic rhythm of city living.

    Given their significance, it’s striking how little we know in general about fixing, repairing and maintaining our cars, which Halfords has quantified the extent of in a recent series of graphics titled the Car Maintenance Survey.

    There’s a spread of insights here that surprised and concerned us, but we’ve picked out five that we think are the most important and have given a little explanation why underneath!

    This one left us a little taken aback (no doubt as taken aback as the 16% of 25-35 year olds will be when they learn that it’s under the bonnet, like pretty much everything else). However, the knowledge gap we can sympathise with, to a (fairly limited) point; people leave everything for the mechanic to deal with. It’s more disconcerting, though, that this 16% of people are ones we share the road with!

    Driving with a chipped windscreen is not just a motoring offence; it puts everyone in the car at serious risk of harm from objects like stones dashing from the road at high speeds. Moreover, a small chip grows into a fully shattered pane at an incredible pace. In the event of a crash, a windscreen break can have lethal consequences; the airbag, for instance, may expand outwards through the broken screen, rather than forward towards the people inside, providing an absolutely insufficient protection in so doing.

    Again, some of the data that Halfords has gathered is mindboggling. You’re a serious risk on the roads when driving without adequate visibility, more to other people than yourself. It’s a selfish, reckless move and really surprising that it’s something that one in four people would choose to do, particularly, of all places, in London.

    There are pretty standard tests you can use to ensure that your tyres remain in fine, working stead. Halfords have compiled a nifty guide that anyone with any uncertainties should check out!

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