Denski’s love affair with the car began when his uncle bought a ’67 SuperSport 350 automatic and brought it to his nephew’s family’s house in Plymouth, Michigan. Today Paul still lives next door and is retired from running a garbage company.
“I’m a fully licensed mechanic, I’ve always been around cars, I’ve always been around Camaros,” he said. “I pride myself on always having one. I work on Camaros for friends and I help people when they go to buy one. They figure I’m kind of an authority on them, so I’m privileged just to go out and spend other people’s money. It’s a lot of fun.”
He had always dreamed of owning a COPO since the first Central Office Production Order cars were produced in 1969 and had added his name to the yearly Chevrolet Performance lottery to buy one of the new versions.
“It was something I thought I’d never, ever be able to have,” Denski said. “There are certain cars that you’re just in awe of … I’ve been to the auctions and I’ve drooled all over actual COPO cars and it’s just something you always want. Getting that letter that morning was something else.”
The letter he speaks of is the one informing him he’d been selected to purchase a COPO, which ultimately turned out to be No. 44 of the 2018 model year. It is one of the Hot Wheels® edition vehicles and features a supercharged 350 c.i. Engine.
“It was something I thought I’d never, ever be able to have,” Denski said.
Through his work with the Camaro club, Denski helps to put on Camaro Superfest in Ypsilanti, Michigan, at the end of each June. The club decided to make the Hot Wheels COPO their theme for the year, and Denski said he just had to have one.
This year on June 29, the Friday before the event, the Eastern Michigan Camaro Club had the opportunity to tour the COPO Build Center in Oxford, Michigan. As the president of the club, Denski was asked to start one of the COPOs before it was announced that he and Kathy were actually the car’s owners. It had been a secret to all the members.
“It’s the experience of a lifetime picking one up, but to have the shop closed and a bunch of friends with you, and a bunch of new friends that you never met there to experience it with you, it was fantastic,” Denski said.
But although Denski is passionate about Camaros and the show, which can draw upwards of 700 cars, he is also passionate about charity.
“I decided that putting the show on is a great thing, it’s a wonderful car and you meet some of the nicest people,” he said. “But I just thought if we had a focus we could raise more money and help charities out. So we raised just over 75,000 dollars in the last six years for six different charities. We pick a new charity every year.”
The Denskis’ COPO made its public debut at the Camaro Superfest show, which celebrated its 27th year in 2018 and has drawn participants from around the United States and Canada.
“We pride ourselves on being the longest-running, most family-friendly Camaro show in the country,” Denski said.
The COPO is making its way through a few other shows to raise additional funds for charity before taking its place of honor among the Denskis’ other Camaros.
“I would’ve never in my lifetime thought for a minute that I’d have one of these cars,” Denski said. “It still hasn’t sunk in, it’s unbelievable.”