1968 Yenko Super Camaro YS8011
|Manufacturer||Chevrolet (General Motors)|
|Body and chassis|
|Body style||2-door coupe|
|Engine||427cid (7.0L) Chevrolet V8|
The Yenko Super Camaro was a modified Chevrolet Camaro prepared by Yenko Chevrolet, under the personal supervision 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) V8. This put the Camaro at a serious disadvantage to the Ford Mustang, Plymouth Barracuda and the Dodge Dart since neither Ford nor Plymouth/Dodge had such a limit. Admittedly Ford only had a 390 Mustang in 1967, with Carrol Shelby producing the 428 Police Interceptor equipped Shelby GT500. Don Yenko, however, knew there was a market for an ultra powerful Camaro and found ways around the GM limit.
Yenko ordered L-78 equipped SS Camaros and swapped in the Chevrolet Corvette's L-72 427 in³ (7.0 L) V8. The cars came with a 4.10 rear end and heavy-duty suspension. The exact number of cars produced is 104. Yenko also installed a fiberglass replacement hood similar to the "Stinger" hood featured on 1967 big-block Corvettes.
Don Yenko's Camaros were equipped with a 427 in³ L-72 with either an M21 or M22 transmission. The horsepower was rated at 450 hp (336 kW). Yenko Camaros were not allowed to race for Chevrolet on the drag strip because they were not made by Chevrolet. Chevy's answer to this was the COPO Camaro, or Central Office Production Order, in 1969. The COPO Camaros were equipped with the same 427 in³ engine and were allowed to race for Chevy.
Encouraged by the success of the 1967 model, Yenko continued to produce his Yenko Super Camaros for 1968. All of the 1968 Yenko Super Camaros started life with the L78 396 in³ 375 hp (280 kW) hp engine and close ratio 4-speed Muncie transmission. They were all built as Super Sport cars but only the Yenko-ordered cars came with the 9737 COPO appointments which included a 140 mph (230 km/h) Delco speedometer, a special Magic Mirror trim tag and a large 1 1/8th inch front anti-sway bar. Yenko swapped out the factory 396 in³ short-block for the L72 427 in³ 450 hp (336 kW) short-block reusing all of the rest of the 396 in³ engine's components including the heads, carburetor, intake manifold, etc. He swapped the stock hood for a twin-snorkel fiberglass one he had made along with other features including Pontiac's 14"x6" steel wheels with special Yenko caps, Yenko emblems gracing the front grill, front fenders and tail panel and 427 emblems were added to the tail panel and front fenders as well. Other additions included a Yenko Super Camaro serial-numbered tag in the driver's side door jamb and Stewart Warner pedestal-mounted tachometer and gauges were installed in the interior. Early cars got a rear spoiler made for Yenko and later cars all got the factory spoilers front and rear. The recognized production number for these cars is approx 64 cars converted, with well less than half of that number known to exist today.
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 with heat treated axle shafts, (to avoid breakage), a Z-28 front anti-sway bar, and a heavy-duty 4-core radiator. Buyers of the car had the option of either the M-21 four speed or the Turbo Hydramatic 400 automatic transmission. 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 "Yenko 427" badges, twin stripes down the flanks and hood, (not with all cars however), and the sYc (Yenko Super Car) badge, (again, not with all cars). According to the Camaro Research Group, standard black interior (code 711) was the only interior ordered by Yenko.
The 1981 Yenko Turbo Z, as it was known, was based on a 1981 Camaro. Don Yenko's comments on the car are:
|“||From a performance standpoint, cars have shown a slow but steady decline in the last 10 years. Low compression engines to accommodate low octane fuel, are now the norm. Ever-increasing numbers of emissions controls have sapped their share of horsepower from once potent engines. To recover these accumulated horsepower losses without increasing pollution presents a real challenge. After months of testing and development we have done it. Working closely with some competent people at Turbo International a system emerged that does everything we hoped for. This system, like all others, captures the energy to improve the induction of fuel/air mixture. The similarity to the other systems stops right here. Our system uses no priority valve so there's no turbo-lag. We don't have a waste gate to malfunction either. And since all of the fuel entering the engine is "processed" through the turbo, you get better fuel economy and improved response even without being in boost. Every nut, bolt and fitting used in this system is the best available. This has all been developed with each and every emission control connected and functional.||”|
1969 Continuation Series
Recently a company in North Carolina called Classic Automotive Restoration Specialists has restarted production of the 1969 Yenko Camaro. Don Yenko sold 201 of his famous COPO-program Camaros out of his Canonsburg, PA dealership. As reported in the March '08 issue of Muscle Car Review, the vehicle is a fully licensed and certified Yenko starting at #202. The 427 in³ engine under the hood was built by GM who has brought back the big block engines from the muscle car era. The rest of the components took 2½ years to track down the original tooling. Options offered on the vehicle are the same as was available in 1969 including paint colors. The car costs around 60% less than some of the current 43-year-old Yenko Camaro survivors but drives like an old car would have when it was new from the dealership. Two known people own Yenko's Camaros.
A new Yenko Camaro based on the new 2010 Camaro platform was introduced at SEMA 2009. The new engine is a supercharged version of GM's LS3, the 6.2-liter V8 that comes standard with the Camaro SS. Since it is only the Phase I Yenko, it is expected that Phase II and Phase III Yenkos are coming which will have a Z06-sourced LS7 427 in³ engine and possibly even an LS9.
- "1969 Chevy Camaro Yenko". Flickr - Photo Sharing!. Retrieved 2016-01-04.
- http://www.copo.com/LM1-Yenko-Turbo-Z-History.htm[dead link]
- 2007 SEMA - A few of our favorite things, Consumer Reports blog, December 25, 2007, retrieved 2010-04-15
- 1969 Yenko, Classic Automotive Restoration Specialists, retrieved 2010-04-15
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