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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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Old 11-10-2019, 02:58 PM
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Sweet! Will this be at MCACN?
1969 Camaro RS/SS396 (427) 4 speed
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Old 11-10-2019, 03:02 PM
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Yes it will!
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Old 11-10-2019, 03:16 PM
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----Love the car and love, love the pinner white walls!!!! Can't wait to see this monster at MCACN along with my other favorite a certain Dusk Blue COPO…….Bill S
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Old 11-10-2019, 03:52 PM
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Killer car!!!

Canít wait to see it at MCACN!!!

White Walls make the whole car, no question!!!

Ryan W31

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Old 11-10-2019, 06:15 PM
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Rick Nelson
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specialized in (only real) LS6 Chevelle restorations
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Old 11-10-2019, 08:52 PM
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Originally Posted by SS427 View Post

Well....we certainly had a good roll model as we followed along with your Red Yenko Chevelle. Your thread, along with Chevelle guidance from Grady and Phil They kept reminding me it was not a Camaro, but it is just another Chevy, right.... With no paint on the rear suspension. As you know Rick we were close behind you during your build, but we were in secret squirrel mode as Grady wanted the big finish to be at MCACN. AND the cool artical and cover in this issue of MCR, thanks MCR and Drew Hardin .... Plus posting pictures every day messes with nap time. It was fun talking with you along the way, and thanks for all your help.
Both The Grady 69 COPO Chevelles will be side by side at MCACN , so make a point of seeing both cars. If you have never seen the Blue car, it is the world standard for a un restored original COPO Chevelle.
Pictures of our build to follow, and MORE shots of the "Ribbon COPO" for sure, it was a cool period paint job.

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Old 11-10-2019, 07:19 PM
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1996 Carrera & 1993 Fat Boy
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Old 11-10-2019, 08:37 PM
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great job! Love it!!
Frank Szymkowski

1971 Torino 351c 4v GT convertible. White/white with black,4 speed, shaker, am/fm, ps/pdb, buckets/console, ac, flip headlights

1969 GTO Judge Warwick blue/blue, RAIII, 4 speed, tach/gauges, safe t track, flip headlights, 3.55's, ps and radio.
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Old 11-10-2019, 10:05 PM
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I saw this car in person the other night. Pictures do it no justice!!

Mike "out did" himself on this car!!

It is absolutely stunning!!

Awesome work Mike!!

"This is Sheriff Buford T. Justice, I'm in pursuit of a black Trans Am, he is all mine so stay out of the way"
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