We've been over this many times. The 70 Z COPO is a "Performance" COPO in every definition of the word COPO and accepted as such. The main difference between the 9796 (70 Z COPO) and what most normally think of as a COPO is the reason for its inception. Both COPO's were created for a specific racing reason, it's just that the 9561 (69 COPO) was designed for the drag racing crowd, mostly driven (as in created) by third party dealers who were very focused on the 1/4 mile. The 9796 in contrast, was driven (as in created) by GM for the Trans Am racing circuit. It was specifically designed to salvage the racing reputation of the 1970 Z28! It was a proven performance enhancement, and made for a great success story. That "Spoiler" affected Camaro production for the next 11 years!
However, if you are only a die hard drag racing fan, then yes, it's just a piece of fiberglass. Who cares?
Think of it like this, what is the difference between a Yenko 9561 and a "standard" 9561? Some stickers. That's it. Now, let's talk value. Why is a "standard" 9561 COPO (1969 427 Camaro) worth approximately $100,000.00 less than a "Yenko" 9561 COPO Camaro? Do the stickers make it any faster? No. It's history, reputation and marketing. Some guys like the “Standard” COPO’s more than the Yenko’s, some (most) like the Yenkos and the stripes. Then there are the other dealers, Berger, etc. Money wise the one 70 Z COPO (un restored, driver but # match)) that went up for sale only generated offers of $45,000.00. As far as I know, no other real proven 70 Z COPO’s have been on the market, and only a handful are accepted as real at this point (Phil’s 70 Z COPO being one).
In the end, if you talk to a Berger owner, he will most likely love the Bergers, and have the reasons why, looks like a sleeper etc. Talk to a Yenko owner, and he will also likely have the reasons why Yenko’s are “better”. Talk to a 70 Z COPO owner, and of course, he will have all of the reasons why the 70 is better. It’s all a matter of perspective once certain criteria are met (my own opinion below, other may add or have input):
1. Was it a Central Office Production Order car? Yes, go on. No, Stop.
2. Was it Performance related? Yes, go on. No, Stop.
3. Were there more than X made (1,2,5 ?), but limited? Yes, go on. No, Stop.
Finally, as far as performance goes, (Here we go Marlin) the 70 Yenko Deuce was the exact same engine as the 70 Z COPO (and the 70 Z for that matter). What makes the 70 Deuce a “Supercar”? The COPO for the LT1, limited production, and some stickers.
Same reasons why the 70 Z is a “Performance” COPO, performance, limited production and Racing History……………….. It really is a great read, and if you have not looked up the story behind it, it really is a success story and a good research topic. Of course, that’s just my opinion, for what that’s worth as I own one……