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Old 11-10-2019, 02:45 PM
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Default Grady Burch's 1969 COPO Chevelle!

Thank you to Grady Burch, Mike Angelo, MuscleCar Review,Drew Hardin and Richard Prince for allowing me to repost this wonderful article of the amazing restoration of Grady's COPO by Mike Angelo.

Mike will be adding additional photos as time permits of the restoration-showing the detail that was put into this Chevelle!


Rare Garnet Red 1969 Chevrolet COPO Chevelle Gets a Whole New Life

Written by Drew Hardin on September 18, 2019
Photography provided by Richard Prince

It’s believed that about 300 Chevelles went through Chevrolet’s COPO program in 1969, receiving 427ci engines and other high performance gear. Of those, an estimated 66 remain. So having one of these rarities in a collection is a landmark achievement. Collector Grady Burch has two: this recently restored Garnet Red example and an unrestored original Dusk Blue COPO he’s owned since 1987. Both Chevelles will be displayed together at the 2019 Muscle Car and Corvette Nationals in Illinois November 23-24 (mcacn.com).

For years this COPO Chevelle was known in the supercar community as the Ribbon COPO for the multicolored ribbons of paint on the hood and trunklid. Little is known about the car’s history, but Grady is sure that back in the day no one had any idea it was rare. As the hobby matured, though, and knowledge grew about the COPO program, its provenance was eventually uncovered.

In 2014, Grady’s pal Phil Wojnarowski was offered a chance to buy the car. At the time Phil had just purchased an orange COPO Chevelle and so wasn’t in the market for another. Grady wasn’t sure he wanted it either. “It needed paint, and the original drivetrain was gone except for the rearend.” Ultimately, the owner made Grady an offer he just couldn’t pass up.

Grady and his frequent car co-conspirator Mike Angelo were working on Grady’s brown COPO Camaro at the time, but once the Camaro was finished, they started in on the Chevelle. “There aren’t that many Garnet Red COPO Chevelles,” Grady says. “Even including Yenkos. We counted between seven and 10 cars at the most.”

When Grady and Phil first inspected the car, “it didn’t look too bad,” Mike said. But once he got into it, he realized the Chevelle was going to need “a lot of bodywork. There must have been a gallon of Bondo on the back end of this car.” In the end, the Chevelle “got a full trunk pan, repairs to the inner and outer wheel tubs, the lower valance behind the rear window, and we replaced the taillight panel,” Mike says. The front half of the car needed some patches on the floorboards, Mike says, and a new hood.

Meanwhile, Grady worked on the car’s driveline. To the Chevelle’s original COPO-specific KQ-code rearend he added a date-code-correct, CE-code replacement engine that was rebuilt by Joe Zeoli. The M22 four-speed behind the motor is also a date-code-correct, CT-code replacement transmission. “I bought what would have been bought by Chevrolet as a service replacement,” says Grady.

“I tried to use as many original parts as I could, and N.O.S. parts that I’ve collected,” he explains. “There are some repro parts here and there, but by and large they’re either original or N.O.S. I’ve been collecting parts, not just for this car, but just collecting, for years.” Even so, Grady wants to acknowledge the help he got from other friends in his search for hard-to-find parts, with a special shout-out to Phil Wojnarowski.

At a Glance

1969 COPO Chevelle
Owned by: Grady Burch, Hinckley, OH
Restored by: Mike Angelo, Green, OH; Joe Zeoli, A-1 Automotive Machine Shop, Greensburg, PA
Engine: 427ci/500 (est.) hp L72 V8
Transmission: Muncie M22 Rock Crusher 4-speed manual
Rearend: KQ-code 12-bolt with 4.10 gears and Positraction
Exterior Color: Garnet Red
Interior: Black vinyl bench seat
Wheels: 14◊7 SS
Tires: F70-14 Goodyear Wide Tread GT
Special parts: 41,261 original miles

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Last edited by Xplantdad; 11-10-2019 at 03:24 PM.
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