Earlier in the week we reported on a new race car being built by Victoria’s Darren Parker which aims to be the Australian version of Chevy’s COPO Camaro, a drag-only version of their famous coupe. We decided to do some Photoshopping and see what might have been if Holden and Ford Australia had followed the footsteps of their American counterparts.
The Chevy COPO Camaro and Ford Mustang Cobra Jet both have long histories. As rivalries between the factories heated up in the sixties, Ford found its 390ci Mustangs lagging behind the competition from the Camaro and Dodge’s range of muscle cars. Ford dealer Bob Tasca Sr (whose grandson Bob Tasca III competes in the Mello Yello NHRA Funny Car Series) wanted a better option, and so used a range of Ford 427ci parts and some bespoke engineering to create a concept that he took to Ford. The Ford Mustang Cobra Jet was born, capable of 11.5 second ETs at 120mph straight from the factory, incredible for the time.
Chevy followed Ford’s idea with their COPO, which stands for Central Office Production Order. The unusual acronym refers to the workaround Chevy dealers needed to combat GM’s head office, who refused to put engines bigger than 400ci in any passenger car not deemed ‘full size’. Fred Gibb, a Chevy dealer and drag racer, found a loophole where he could use a special kind of order form more typically used for police departments or trucking companies to up-spec their vehicles. Now he had a way to get Chevy’s 427ci engine installed into the Camaro and the chase after Ford began.
Fast forward to 2008 and Ford revived the Cobra Jet concept, creating a drag-only version of their new Mustang. Four years later Chevy followed with their new COPO Camaro, while Dodge also joined the party with their Drag Pak Challengers.
Holden and Ford Australia never really showed much interest in drag racing down under, instead focusing on circuit racing. But I’d like to image what might have been.
Here is the Holden SSV Redline Commodore mixed up with the 2015 COPO Camaro. This looks plain mean! A four door Factory Showdown car is definitely something that would have rocked the high performance modifiers world.
Just envision this thing lifting the front end thre or four feet high (thankfully it would come from the factory equipped with wheelie bars), and knocking out easy eight second runs!
But of course, Ford wouldn’t let Holden get too ahead so…
Check out the Ford Falcon Cobra Jet! Complete with bronze graphics, perhaps the Ford Falcon Cobra Jet would have come with a twin turbo straight six option as well as a supercharged V8? You’d need that factory option parachute for sure.
Imagine this going head to head with the COPO Commodore, heads up on drag strips all around Australia – what could have been!