Monday, June 18, 2012

The Camaro From Canonsburg

Yenko Camaro by William 74
Yenko Camaro, a photo by William 74 on Flickr.
Among the famous muscle car dealerships of the sixties, Yenko Chevrolet, from Canonsburg, PA, looms large. Racing driver and Chevy dealer Don Yenko started his car modifying career in the early sixties, after having been impressed enough with the Corvair to get it approved for SCCA road racing. He marketed the final product as the Yenko Stinger, and customers could order one up in different states of tune, from mild to wild.

This was merely a tune-up for the main event, though. When GM introduced it's Camaro pony car, the biggest engine available was the 396. Since there's no substitute for cubic inches, Yenko and his crew developed a transplant, shoehorning in the 427 in Corvette L-72 spec, along with suspension and drivetrain modifications to handle the Camaro's newfound power.

The new Yenko Super Car was a success, to the point that Yenko was eventually able to order new Camaros with the 427 already installed. Using GM's Central Office Production Order (COPO) system, Yenko was able to perform the same trick with the Chevelle and Nova as well-legendary hot rods all.

Don Yenko eventually got out of the modification business, increasingly stringent EPA regulations making it harder to sell such heavily modified cars. By the early 80's he'd sold the dealership as well, but not before selling one last scorcher, the Turbo Z Camaro.

This one's a '68, I believe.

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