Supercharging and turbocharging means that nowadays there probably is a replacement for displacement. But if you don’t agree and want the biggest engine possible, then the 2022 Chevrolet COPO Camaro will be right up your street (or drag strip, more accurately).
The latest model-year COPO Camaro comes with three engines, including a 572 cubic inch big-block V8. In other words, 9.4 litres of naturally aspirated V8. Is there anything more American than that?
But like the strangled muscle cars of the 1970s, a huge displacement doesn’t mean a huge power figure. The NHRA has revealed it puts out a relatively meagre 424bhp, which is the lowest power output of the three engines available. Is this Chevrolet overcompensating?
The 9.4-litre mega engine is available alongside a 7.0-litre (427ci) nat-asp small-block V8, and even that is bigger than pretty much any car engine you’d find in Europe. That one produces 464bhp despite the smaller displacement, while there’s also a relatively tiny 5.7-litre (350ci) small-block V8.
That 5.7-litre engine doesn’t sound like it’ll be big enough to power a pencil sharpener, right? But thanks to a supercharger it’s easily the most powerful, at 572bhp.
Still, the 9.4-litre whopper is the cheapest way to drive Chevrolet’s latest COPO Camaro. It starts at $105,500 (roughly £76,000), $12,000 less than the 7.0-litre. The supercharged engine costs $130,000 (£94,000).
Every COPO version features a carbon-fibre bonnet, wheelie bars and lots of branding. Bogart racing wheels wrapped in Hoosier drag tyres are also standard, while the supercharged version also features a parachute (it’s optional for the nat-asp V8s).
You guessed it… the COPO Camaro isn’t street legal, but it’s eligible for the NHRA’s Stock and Super Stock drag events.
The COPO programme is a throwback to the 1969 Camaro, when it was shorthand for a method used by Chevy dealers to order non-standard cars for racing. ‘Central Office Purchase Orders’ were meant to be used for ordering municipal fleet hacks, but dealers realised they could use the programme to order high-performance models. 69 were built in 1969, all with a 419bhp V8 and ZL-1 badges - and back then the COPO cars were road legal. Naturally the survivors are uniquely collectible.
What do you think of the COPO Camaro’s new engine option?