Camaro 1969 plus SCCA Racing and the COPO Version
For the 1969 model year, any Camaro chosen for the SCCA Trans Am racing series sports four-piston calipers on the front and rear disc brakes as standard equipment. This was the same system used in the Corvette and was necessary for improved stopping ability to help make the car a winner on the demanding circuits.Due to the high cost of vehicles equipped with this $500 RPO JL8 option, there were only 206 of these units produced.
The logo RS striping was used in 1969 only if the option did not contradict a combined option feature. For example, if you purchased the RS/Z28 package, the Z28 special performance features would dominate, and the car would come with decorative rear fender louvers, wheel molding trim strips all around, black step sills, bright accents on the taillights, and if your model was a Sport coupe, this would include trim strips on the roof moldings. The combined packages would sport the RS logo on the grille, rear fenders, and the steering wheel with combinations of the SS, Z28 as possibilities and was designated an RS/SS or as RS/Z28. There were 37,773 Sport coupes made in 1969.
© Dikiiy | Dreamstime.com Chevrolet 1969 Camaro
The basic Z28 option came with the 302-cubic-inch small-block with 11:1 compression, forged pistons, solid lifters, forged steel crankshaft, and forged connecting rods. There would also be a Holley carburetor mounted on the duel plane intake. However, dealers could give the engine a boost with two four-barrel carburetors on the crossram intake manifold if the customer opted for it. This engine bolted to a Muncie four-speed standard transmission and, new for ’69, featured the Hurst shift kit. The rearend was a 12-bolt style and contained 3.73 gearing. There were design problems that delayed the production of the new-generation 1970 models until November ’69, so there were many 1969 models sold as 1970 versions although the VIN is a 1969 number.
© Sigurbjornragnarsson | Dreamstime.com 1969 Chevrolet Camaro
The Central Office Production Order (COPO) Camaro with the numbers 9560 and 9561 were available for the 1969 model year. The edict issued to the Chevy Division was that no engines of greater than 400-cubic-inch displacement would be installed on any Chevy model. Don Yenko, a race driver turned dealer, found a way to avoid this by using the fleet order forms which, in the normal course of events, were meant for taxi cabs, trucks, rental units etc.
© Steirus | Dreamstime.com 1969 Chevrolet Camaro, Official Pace Car
He used this system to order and then install, as a dealer option the 427-cubic-inch power plants. The COPO 9561 used a solid lifter big-block L72 engine with an underrated 425 hp (317 kW). Some other dealers also became wise to this idea; as a result, there were somewhere between 900 and 1,000 of the L72 engine sold retail in the 1969 model year.
Some of the COPOs were the “9560” engine too, and this was the all-aluminum block ZL-1, which was specifically designed for drag racing, and we can thank Dick Harnell, a drag driver, for formulating the idea. He ordered his ZL-1 in Illinois at the Fred Gibb dealership in La Harpe for use in the NHRA Super Stock series. Building just one ZL-1 engine involved some 16 man hours of labor, which they did under almost surgically clean conditions at the Chevrolet plant in Tonawanda, New York. There were only 69 of this engine ordered in the 1969 model year with a hefty price tag of $4,000 for the engine alone, almost double the price of the base coupe 302 engine, but it did develop a rated horsepower of 433 although when in the basic installed condition the ZL-1 delivered an actual 376 net hp and then, if it received some tuning modifications and a low back pressure exhaust system installed, the engine could produce more than 500 actual horsepower.
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