Race Car Build Series – Building a COPO Camaro Clone – Part 2

This is a progress report on the COPO Camaro Clone being built by Jesse Pierce Wilson. In case you missed it, here is the intro to the build: http://fuelab.com/building-a-copo-camaro-clone/ . The vehicle started as a white 2014 Camaro V6. It’s a theft recovery, parts were missing, but the needed basics were still there. After the humiliation of being stolen and violated this Phoenix will rise from the ashes as a drag strip hero. Kudos to you Camaro!

Below are progress shots of the car stripped down and being repainted to red. The reason for the color change? Jesse says it’s just because he has a thing for red Camaros. We aren’t going to cover this part of the build in detail, however, in upcoming posts we will be covering three project segments in depth. The first project will include:

  • Roll cage install
  • Removal of the factory IRS differential and factory rear cradle/ from the car
  • Weld in control arm mounts and install new solid axle assembly
  • Fill in rear deck with sheet metal (or aluminum) to seal off the trunk area (required by NHRA when a fuel cell is being used)

So stay tuned for future segments of the COPO Camaro Clone Build!  


Stripped down and almost ready for paint


Some un-needed components removed. Less weight = faster!


Doesn’t get much lighter than this…


Red paint makes the car go faster


Starting to look like a COPO Camaro!


Race Car Build Series – Building a COPO Camaro Clone

Jenna Pierce Wilson

Last week we introduced our Race Car Build Series, as well as introduced the first race vehicle that will featured; Rob Farley’s NMCA Mustang. This week we are introducing the second car that will be covered, and that is the COPO Camaro clone being built by the Pierce-Wilson family of Muncie, Indiana.

The Wilson’s are no strangers to COPO Camaro clones. Last year Jenna Pierce-Wilson raced a Fuelab sponsored 2010 replica COPO Camaro built by her husband Jesse Pierce-Wilson. She was quite successful we might add. Competing in the NMCA Chevrolet Performance LSX Challenge Series, Jenna ended up ranking 3rd in the 5th Generation Camaro Class for the 2014 season. Shameless Fuelab plug: The Camaro’s fuel delivery system featured Fuelab’s Prodigy High Pressure EFI In-Line fuel pump, a 515 series fuel pressure regulator, and a pair of 282 Series In-Line filters.

“Building a 5th Gen COPO clone isn’t a common thing, and only a handful of race teams are doing it” Jesse told us. “We wanted to show that it was possible for a small time race team with a limited budget to build a car that would be competitive in the 5th Generation Camaro class. We started with a 2010 base V6 Camaro and built a tribute COPO using notes from a GM COPO build book. The car turned out so well built that GM took notice. A high level manager from Chevrolet Performance saw it at race and thought it was the real thing. He had to check the VIN to be sure it wasn’t! Even a competing COPO owner couldn’t tell the difference. Then we saw our car posted on GM’s Instagram and Facebook pages. That was a big compliment. After a couple of races we were invited to the COPO build center in Michigan by Kurt Collins and Dr. Jamie Meyer – the Performance Marketing Manager at GM. They gave us a tour and discussed the COPO program. We were like kids in a candy store! It was really neat to be there talking to them. We never thought in a million years that something we built ourselves would get so much notice. It’s hard to believe it snowballed into this”.

“We decided to build a second COPO replica so Jenna’s dad can race it in the new NMCA Chevy Performance Stock Class” Jesse continues. “Of course I want to do some racing in it too, but the car is being built primarily with Jenna’s dad in mind. As with our previous build, we are going to rely on our basic tools, craftsmanship and ingenuity to get the job done”.

Fuelab will be covering the build of the Pierce-Wilson’s second COPO Camaro, including the installation of a Fuelab In-Tank Power Module fuel pump. So, stay tuned to the Fuelab Vehicle Builds website page (http://fuelab.com/category/vehicle-builds/) for regular updates.