I remember when I sold one for a record price of $30,000. I'm sure
someone called the buyer a lunatic for paying so much

Don Yenko was the major Chevrolet performance dealer for many years, and was instrumental in laying the groundwork for the 427 Camaro. He converted numerous cars to 427-cid engines before planning a new "Super Car" distributorship for the 1969 model year. Knowing that demand would outstrip his ability to perform all the labor and time-intensive engine swaps, he convinced Chevrolet to build a quantity of 427 Camaros.
Yenko sent these cars to various shops to receive the special emblems, decals, stripes and other options. Fitted with the standard Camaro coupe trim and steel wheels, the muscle car had a deceptively sober appearance, given away only by the rumble of the Z-28 dual exhaust. All 1969 Yenko Camaros received a spoiler to complement the Yenko stripe design, along with special badges, decals and headrests lettered "sYc" for "Yenko Super Cars."
The Yenko Camaro presented here is fully documented and complete with the COPO certificate from Ed Cunneen. It received a full restoration by Brian Henderson of the Super Car Workshop, while the interior was found to be in excellent condition and left as original. It has won numerous awards, including Best of Show at the 1998 U.S. Camaro Nationals.
With only 17,000 documented original miles, this powerful Yenko Camaro's 427 produces 450 hp, coupled to the M-21 four-speed transmission and 4.10 BE-coded 12-bolt rear axle. Finished in striking Rally Green, this car will complement even the most discriminating collector's stable.

SCM Analysis


Vehicle:1969 Chevrolet Camaro Yenko
Years Produced:1967-69
Number Produced:approx. 319
Original List Price:$4,245 (1969)
SCM Valuation:$125,000-$250,000
Tune Up Cost:$300
Distributor Caps:$12.99
Chassis Number Location:data plate on firewall, VIN tag on left side of dashboard visible through windshield
Engine Number Location:upper, larger numbers on pad at right front side of engine
Club Info:Yenko Sportscar Club, c/o Tom Clary, PO Box 375, Alton, MO 65606
Alternatives:1969-70 Ford Mustang Boss 429, non-Yenko COPO Camaro, Nicky, Baldwin, Berger dealer Super Car conversions
Investment Grade:A

This 1969 Chevrolet Yenko Camaro sold for $247,500 at the Worldwide Houston sale, held April 30, 2005.
The son of a Pennsylvania Chevrolet dealer and a racer at heart, by 1957 Don Yenko was piloting a fuel-injected Corvette, landing Gulf Oil sponsorship in 1961. Yenko won SCCA B Production titles in 1962 and 1963 and a regional championship in 1964, and for a short period of time he even ran one of the now-famous Corvette Grand Sports.
But as the ’60s progressed, Yenko became frustrated with Chevrolet’s refusal to up the ante in the Corvette’s mostly losing battle with the Shelby Cobra. So Yenko came up with an idea: He would transform Chevy’s compact Corvair into a real race car. After convincing the SCCA to allow the cars to race in the 1966 season, Yenko ordered 100 Corvair Corsas and began the process of transforming each and every one into a “Yenko Stinger.” The plan was a success, as Yenko managed to sell all the modified Corvairs en route to winning a D Production national championship in 1967.
When the Camaro debuted that year, Yenko launched a similar program, yanking the Camaro’s small-block Chevy V8 in favor of a fire-breathing L72 Corvette motor installed under a fiberglass hood. These 427-cid big blocks made 425 hp and turned the 1967 Yenko Camaro into one of the baddest street machines available. Additional equipment on the cars varied, with several performance options available. The number of ’67 Yenko Camaros built is uncertain, though 54 seems to be the best estimate.
Yenko continued to build modified Camaros for two more years, at first swapping out the short-blocks of cars equipped with factory-
installed 396-cid V8s, and later using the now-famous Chevrolet COPO (Central Office Production Order) process to order 427-equipped Camaros straight from the factory.
In 1968 Yenko built 64 Camaros with the L72 engine, each fitted with a 140-mph speedo, a larger front stabilizer bar, and 15-inch wheels and tires. The following year Yenko ordered 201 COPO cars from Chevrolet, though by this time his dealership was just one of many who were offering big-block Camaros obtained with a COPO.
Corvairs and Camaros weren’t the only cars Yenko worked his magic on, as some Chevelles, Novas, and even Vegas also underwent performance modification in the early 1970s, until insurance companies and emissions regulations combined to drive high performance out of the car business. Yenko continued to remain active in racing through the early ’70s, driving for teams competing at Le Mans, Daytona and Sebring. He was even seen in a race car from time to time until 1987, when he was killed in a plane crash at the age of 60.
Today Yenko Camaros enjoy a unique slot in the muscle car lineage. They’re not so rare that you can’t find one, but still rare enough to make them extremely desirable. Combine that with their great performance and strong name recognition, and you have one of the most sought-after models in today’s collector car market.
The main issue with any Yenko is its paper trail, which should be easy enough to establish and verify. Ed Cunneen’s Copo Connection (www
.copo.com) has all of the real Yenko VINs identified, and offers inspection and verification services for all COPO cars. Know that there are dozens and dozens of Yenko clones out there, selling for about the same $40k price you might expect to pay for a nice regular Camaro that’s been upgraded with a big-block crate motor. These are usually identified as such at auction, but you don’t want to pay real Yenko money for a clone, as the real cars are worth about eight times as much.
As we see from the car pictured here, these are now trading at about $250,000, while five years ago they were in the $75,000-125,000 range. Back in 1995, you could pick up a Yenko Camaro for about $50,000, which was nearly twice what they sold for just five years before that, a paltry $25,000-$30,000.
I remember back in 1988 when I sold a Yenko Camaro for a stop-the-presses record price of $30,000. I’m sure someone called the buyer a lunatic for paying so much for a muscle car.
Today’s auction arena, however, is much different. A reflection of the 1960s muscle car street scene, it costs money to go fast-just as it did when the cars were new. With new record prices in this category being set each year, the million-dollar muscle car is no longer a shocker.
What this means is that if you’re the lunatic who wrote me that $30k check 17 years ago, I’ll be happy to try and get you back ten times what you spent on your Yenko, which would make for a pretty nice payday. If you’re the guy determined to be that car’s new owner, rest assured that at least in current market conditions, even if you pay full price today, there will be someone else ready to step up and pay more once you’ve had your fun.

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