Bagshaw Hot Rod Fab­ri­ca­tion up­dates the fa­mous The Fridge Ca­maro with a COPO rear sus­pen­sion and a few other im­prove­ments

Chevy High Performance - - Contents - TEXT & PHO­TOS: Jeff Hun­ey­cutt

If you are a fan of great Ca­maros, or just drag rac­ing in gen­eral, then you are prob­a­bly al­ready aware of the white ’10 Ca­maro af­fec­tion­ately known as The Fridge. Orig­i­nally owned by RPM Trans­mis­sions out of Anderson, In­di­ana, and built as a house car to race uti­liz­ing the com­pany’s prod­ucts, the white Ca­maro was at one point the fastest full-bod­ied ’10 Ca­maro with an 8.943-sec­ond blast at 158 mph. And on an in­de­pen­dent rear setup, no less.

But time marches on and things change. Even­tu­ally, the crew at RPM Trans­mis­sions felt the time was right for The Fridge to move to a new home and sold it. That’s why we were sur­prised when we stopped by the Bagshaw Hot Rod Fab­ri­ca­tion shops in Mooresville, North Carolina, and saw The Fridge be­ing prepped for some se­ri­ous up­dates. Shop owner Scott Bagshaw says that the car ar­rived at his fa­cil­ity stripped of the en­tire driv­e­train as well as the rear sus­pen­sion. He’s been tasked with con­vert­ing the car to a solid rearend setup more like a mod­ern COPO Ca­maro.

It turns out that you can ac­tu­ally or­der the same com­po­nents that come on Chevro­let’s im­pres­sive COPO Ca­maros. Bagshaw says the owner wanted the COPO’s rear sus­pen­sion and rearend, but he still wanted to keep the Ca­maro streetable. The COPO, straight from Chevro­let Per­for­mance, is a full-blown race car that’s been stripped to the bone. The Fridge, on the other hand, has al­ways kept the street car aes­thetic, com­plete with a full in­te­rior, in­clud­ing the back seat.

Keep­ing the back seat was an is­sue be­cause the orig­i­nal COPO Ca­maro de­sign uses braces from the up­per bar mounts that ex­tend through the rear seat floor­pan and con­nect to the rollcage. Ob­vi­ously, these braces are right where the rear seat would nor­mally go. To get around this, Bagshaw made a few modifications to the COPO de­sign, and we think the re­sults are pretty trick.

When Chevro­let Per­for­mance first took on the task of fig­ur­ing out

ex­actly how they wanted to build and sell COPO Ca­maros for Stock Elim­i­na­tor com­pe­ti­tion, they turned to race car builder Mike Pustelny to come up with a rear sus­pen­sion de­sign that would be com­pet­i­tive but also ac­cept­able by the NHRA. Pustelny ob­vi­ously did a great job, given the COPO’s suc­cess on the track, and he still plays a role with these cars. All the com­po­nents for this con­ver­sion were pur­chased from his MPR Race Cars out­fit in Al­mont, Michi­gan.

By the way, if you would like to turn your own fifth-gen Ca­maro into a COPO race car, Chevro­let Per­for­mance has pub­lished a book out­lin­ing the steps re­quired to build a COPO clone. The build book is ap­pro­pri­ately ti­tled COPO Build Book, and it’s avail­able from any Chevro­let Per­for­mance re­tailer as well as Ama­zon.com. It’s packed with tons of in­ter­est­ing in­for­ma­tion and a pretty neat read even if you have no plans to build a COPO your­self. CHP

01 | Years ago, The Fridge was one of the fastest stock-bod­ied fifth-gen Ca­maros—even with its in­de­pen­dent rear sus­pen­sion. But now it has a new owner who wants a COPO-style solid axle rear sus­pen­sion along with other changes. Fab­ri­ca­tor Scott Bagshaw...

03 | By the time we ar­rived at Bagshaw’s shop, he had al­ready be­gun pre­lim­i­nary work on the COPO sus­pen­sion in­stal­la­tion. Here, you can see the up­per bar mounts have been mocked in, but oth­er­wise every­thing else on the un­der­side of the car is un­touched...

04 | There’s no way we have the space to show you ev­ery step to build your own COPO Stock Elim­i­na­tor, but there is a great re­source out there that can. In fact, Bagshaw even ref­er­enced it for this build. This full-color book, ap­pro­pri­ately ti­tled COPO...

02 | The Ca­maro ar­rived at the shops of Bagshaw Hot Rod Fab­ri­ca­tion in Mooresville, North Carolina, on dol­lies be­cause the ex­ist­ing rearend had al­ready been stripped. Of course, re­ceiv­ing an al­ready-stripped car means mas­ter fab­ri­ca­tor Scott Bagshaw...

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