Not that long ago we started hearing of COPOs with international drivers. That really peaked our interest. Thanks to Curt Collins, Associate Manager Chevrolet Performance, COPO, and Performance Parts Licensing, we’ve had the chance to meet a few of those international individuals who have purchased COPOs here in the states. Drag racing is huge here in America, which is why it kind of surprised us when international folks were trying to get their hands on a COPO Camaro. It may come as no surprise, but drag racing has international appeal. Here’s the first installment of “International COPO” - a burgeoning series where we’ll check in with those international drivers behind the wheel of a COPO Camaro and talk with them about racing, and of course, COPO.
At the recent NHRA Four-Wide Nationals we met Waldemar (Walo) Rodriguez and his interpreter, Oscar Colon. Walo is the owner of a 2015 (#067) COPO Camaro. Walo has been into drag racing for many years now, and made it through Chevrolet’s purchase process last year to pick up his COPO. Since then, he’s been racing on the national scene here in the states. Since Walo doesn’t speak fluid English, we spoke with his interpreter and right-hand-man, Oscar, to answer the questions below.
The BLOCK: When did you purchase your COPO Camaro and why did you want one?
Walo: I bought the car last year after seeing one at the Gatornationals. We had been hearing about these COPO Camaros, and how they’re a race car built by a manufacturer. We love Chevy so we thought it would be a great opportunity, an easy one, to get into racing.
The BLOCK: Have you raced the car? How did it go?
Walo: We’ve attended the Gatornationals in Gainesville, Florida prior as the Four-Wide Nationals. It’s going really well. We enjoy anytime we can get out to a race and behind the wheel.
The BLOCK: How was the Four-Wide Nationals? Not often you get to see dragsters run four-wide!
Walo: It was a lot of fun. You’re right, it was a pretty unique experience. For us, we’re still dialing the car in and enjoying the ride!
The BLOCK: Do you plan on attending anymore races this year?
Walo: Well, we’ve already made it out to The Gatornationals and the Four-Wide Nationals this year, but yea, we hope to make it out to at least two more this year - the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals (see all the latest news from this event right here on The BLOCK) and a regional race in Gainesville.
The BLOCK: Did you grow up racing?
Walo: Yes, I started racing back in the early ‘70s with a Chevy Nova. My brother Tomas is a racer also but my parents are not racers.
The BLOCK: How’s the 2017 season going?
Walo: It is going well, we are learning a lot from the car as well as how best to drive it.
Far left, Walo. Far right, Oscar, Walo’s right hand man and interpreter.
The BLOCK: What’s it like to drive a COPO?
Walo: It is a great feeling! There’s so much power in the supercharged 350 engine.
The BLOCK: What do you do with the car when you’re back home in Puerto Rico?
Walo: When we travel back and forth between Puerto Rico and the states, we have a storage facility in Tampa where we keep the car safe.
The BLOCK: Would you recommend for others to purchase a COPO to get into competitive drag racing?
Walo: Yes, but don't try to outrun me, I’m coming strong! (laughs)
The BLOCK: Anything else you’d like to add for Chevrolet Performance fans to read?
Walo: It’s simple, buy a COPO! It is a fun and fast car to drive!
All 2017 model year COPOs have already been spoken for, but stick close to The BLOCK to be the first to know if a 2018 model will be a possibility, and if so, how you can potentially get your hands on one. For the past several years, thousands of folks have entered in for their chance to purchase one of only sixty-nine COPO Camaros. Chevrolet Performance uses a third-party service that picks at random who will continue through the purchase process. Read more about COPO, like its history and available drivetrain options, on Chevrolet’s site here. Check out Chevrolet Performance's Event calendar complete with upcoming races and car shows here.