The Yenko S/C. Don Yenko creates a 1/4 Mile Beast
Donald Yenko (May 27, 1927 – March 5, 1987), also known as Don Yenko, was a race car driver who was best known for creating a high performance
version of the Chevrolet Camaro known as the Yenko Camaro.
In 1957, Yenko set up a performance shop for Chevrolet vehicles.
The customers can
either order high performance parts or they can have their car modified by Yenko's mechanics. In 1967, when Chevrolet
began selling the Camaro, Yenko began to modify SS Camaros by replacing the original L-78 396 in³
(6.4 L) engine with a Chevrolet Corvette's L-72 427 in³ (7.0 L) and upgrade the
rear axle and suspensions. He also modified other Chevrolet vehicles like Chevelle and Nova by fitting them with L-72 engines.
In 1970s saw the decline in muscle cars due to higher insurance premium and tighter emission rules, Yenko began to
modify Chevrolet Vega with spoiler, turbo charger and design graphics.
Due to difficulties with EPA certification, he only sold the modified Vega without a turbocharger. Instead,
the turbocharger sold separately at Yenko dealership.
In 1972 Yenko stopped selling modified cars and began publishing a
performance parts catalog from cosmetic modification to engine modification. One of his notable product was the ZL-1
engine and he produced them under permission from Chevrolet. In 1981, Yenko made his last modification, the Turbo Z Camaro.
He added a turbocharger to 350 in³ (5.7 L) engine. In 1982 He sold Yenko Chevrolet
dealership which had been family owned since 1934. In 1987, he died in a plane crash, along with 3 of his passengers, while on
final approach to an airport near Charleston, West Virginia. Yenko landed hard with his Cessna 210M causing him to lose
control and dove into a ravine and crashed.
The Yenko Super Camaro was a modified Chevrolet Camaro prepared by Yenko Chevrolet, under the command of Don Yenko. The originals were all
first-generation Camaros. When the Camaro debuted, a General Motors corporate edict prevented it from carrying an engine
larger than 400 in³ (6.6 L); this put the Camaro at a serious disadvantage to the Ford Mustang and Plymouth
Barracuda, since neither Ford nor Plymouth had a such a limit. Don Yenko, however, knew there was a market for an ultra
powerful Camaro and found ways around the GM limit.
1967 YENKO CAMARO
Yenko ordered L-78 equipped SS Camaros and swapped in the Chevrolet Corvette's
L-72 427 in³ (7.0 L) engine.
The cars came with a 4.10 rear end and
The exact number of cars produced is not known; most estimates are around 50. Yenko
also installed a fiberglass replacement hood similar to the "Stinger" hood featured on 1967 big-block Corvettes.
1968 YENKO CAMARO
Encouraged by the success of the 1967 model, Yenko continued production. All cars came equipped with the
M-21 close-ratio four speed manual transmission.
A large, twin-scooped hood replaced the
"Stinger," hood and Yenko badges graced the sides and tail light plate.
1969 YENKO CAMARO
For 1969, the dealership worked with Chevrolet to have the L-72 engines installed on the factory
assembly line using a Central Office Production Order, or COPO. The orders included power disc brakes,
a 4.10 Positraction rear end, a stronger front stabilizer bar, and a heavy-duty 4-core aluminum radiator.
Buyers of the car had the option of either the Muncie M-21 or
22 four speed manual transmission or the Turbo Hydramatic 400
A total of 201 cars were sold in 1969, 171 with four speed
transmissions and 30 with automatic transmissions.
Yenko rounded out the visual package with front and
rear spoilers, a cowl-induction hood, special "427" badges on the cowl (2) and back panel (1), twin
stripes down the flanks and hood, and the sYc (Yenko Super Car) badges on the sides (2), and
on the back panel(1) and sYc lettering on the headrests and cowl.
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