Because it is a highly popular breed, the Chevrolet Camaro is known to move mountains of money no matter its condition, age, or history. Yet there are some things that make certain Camaros more valuable than others, and on that list are these two words: Berger and COPO.
Those people were indirectly involved with Chevy, as their businesses were centered around selling bowtie-branded cars. And they were quite unhappy with the carmaker’s decision not to offer engines larger than 400ci for the Camaro, despite what the competition was doing.
Ever since back then Chevy had something it calls the Central Office Production Order (COPO). It was a system of sorts that allowed dealers who had fleet customers to spec their cars in unique ways, using hardware that was not otherwise available for the general public.
But a number of dealers managed to find ways around those rules and started fitting high-performance equipment they got through COPO into the cars they got from GM and sold to individuals. In the process, they also added their own branding, trims, graphics, and so on, effectively giving birth to entire breeds of extremely rare performance cars.
Perhaps the most famous names to deal in COPO Camaros are Don Yenko or Fred Gibb, but W. H. Berger should in some respects be right up there with them. The Berger Chevrolet dealership is located in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and it is there where it too joined the modified COPO train.
And it’s exactly this kind of rare COPO Camaro handled by Berger that we’re here to drool over now. The car was originally made by Chevy in 1969, making it part of the last year of the model’s first generation, meaning an appreciated model even in stock form.
As it is today though the muscle car is a very rare example of a family that supposedly counts only 57 other members. Already fitted with the RS package, the Camaro was subsequently subjected to the Berger diet, making it even more valuable and appealing.
What the Berger diet means, in this case, is that the Camaro now rocks under the ZL2 cowl induction hood a COPO-sourced, Holley-carbureted 427ci engine that’s known to crank out a total of 425 horsepower.
The unit is tied to a Turbo 400 automatic transmission, it sends its power to the road through a Positraction rear end with 4.10 gears, and breathes out through a chambered exhaust system.
Aside from the COPO-sourced engine, the Camaro also offers another special order goodie, the 9737 Sports Car Conversion Package. This includes several high-profile pieces of hardware, of both the visible and hidden varieties.
On the visible front the package means 15-inch wheels shod in Goodyear Polyglas tires, while the hidden from sight bits translate into stuff like heavy-duty springs, power front disc brakes, and an anti-roll bar. Inside, the car got a 140 mph (225 kph) speedometer.
The example we’re discussing now comes in Fathom Green over and the interior also in green. Up top there’s a green vinyl top with halo trim. And the body these hues are pulled over may be over half a century old, but everything on this car looks positively brand new.
That’s because the Berger Camaro was subject to a recent rotisserie restoration that brought everything to tip-top shape. As usual, the need for that was not dictated by the desire to revive the car for personal enjoyment, but because it’s about to sell, and looking good always helps drive the price up.
The 1969 Chevrolet Berger COPO Camaro is presently listed by auction house Mecum as one of the main attractions of its upcoming sale in Dallas, Texas.
The car is scheduled to go under the hammer at the end of September, but sadly we have no estimate as to how much it is expected to fetch. Judging by the listing there seems to be a reserve on it, but it’s unclear what that is.
Just to give you a starting point though we’ll tell you that a COPO Camaro not tied to any specific dealer should go, in Concours condition, for at least $300,000, according to valuation specialist Hagerty.
In fact, these things are so valuable that even in fair condition (meaning with visible cosmetic flaws, some mechanical problems, but overall still in running order) should not get anywhere below $130,000 as per the same source.
We’ll keep an eye out on this Camaro and come back with an update once we learn how much it eventually sold for.