The Pristine 1969 Chevrolet COPO Camaro’s Modest Sale Sends Shockwaves Through the Auction Scene
The classic car market has gone pretty wild in recent years. Rigs that were available for less than $100,000 are now six-figure vehicles, while many golden-era muscle cars are now fetching about 25% more than they did just a few years ago. Oh, and both the 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona and 1970 Plymouth Superbird have recently joined the million-dollar club.
But while most desirable US classics tend to become more expensive, some cross the auction block for less than expected. The 1969 Chevrolet COPO Camaro you see here is one of those cars.
Auctioned off at Mecum’s Indy 2023 event, it found a new owner for $178,750, including the buyer’s premium and fees. Yes, that’s a lot of dough for a first-generation Camaro, but this Daytona Yellow unit is no regular pony car.
If you’re reading this, you’re probably already familiar with the COPO-badged one-year wonder. But I must point out that this specific example is a COPO 427, not a ZL-1. Both were offered with 427-cubic-inch (7.0-liter) V8 engines, but the mills were notably different.
While the COPO 427 came with the big-block L72, the ZL-1 was equipped with an all-aluminum powerplant designed specifically for racing.
The ZL-1, also known as COPO 9560, is the rarest of the two, with only 69 units produced. The yellow car you see here is a COPO 9561. Initially ordered by Yenko Chevrolet, the optional package was eventually fitted on about 1,000 vehicles. Yes, it’s not as rare as the ZL-1, but this example is one of only a few COPOs sold in Canada.
It has all the papers to prove it, it comes with a COPO Connection certificate, and was restored to its original specifications.
And not only does it have a numbers-matching L72 V8 (rated 425 horsepower) under the hood, but it also boasts a four-speed manual transmission and power front disc brakes. Featured in multiple magazines, it can also brag about winning a Gold Award at the 1998 Camaro Nationals.
All told it has everything it needs to be one of the priciest first-generation Camaros out there. But contrary to recent auction trends, the pony car went under the hammer for less than $200,000. The latter is an essential benchmark because quite a few COPOs reached it in recent years, including examples finished in the same Daytona Yellow color.
A low-mileage example that crossed the auction block for $200,750 in 2021 was sold again for $220,000 in 2023. That’s a 10% increase in just a couple of years. This example, on the other hand, attracted a high bid of $180,000 in 2022 and sold for a bit less than that about ten months later.
It’s not necessarily unusual for the market to fluctuate, but seeing a finely restored and well-documented COPO Camaro drop so much below the $200K mark is surprising.
But even so, it was the highest-selling vehicle during the first day of Mecum Indy 2023, surpassing a 1955 Chevy Nomad restomod that fetched $145,000. The second day saw a 1956 Corvette find a new home for $207,500 while a hot-rodded 1953 3100 pickup truck sold for $220,000.
The sale will also include gems like the 1970 Dodge Challenger “Black Ghost” and the 1970 Plymouth ‘Cuda RTS show car, so stick around for updates on their potentially huge stickers.