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A Highly Documented Example | One of Approximately 54 ProducedGeorge Fleury, Minneapolis, Minnesota (acquired in spring 1968)Thomas Gindorff, Hugo, Minnesota (acquired from the above in November 1990)Gary Holub, Marion, Iowa (acquired circa 2003)Current Owner (acquired from the above)
Though a 1962 company-wide edict by General Motors prohibited the use of engines larger than 400 cid in their production sports cars, certain tuners were not to be deterred. The September 1966 debut of the new Camaro offered a particularly appealing opportunity to break the rule, and a handful of custom builders set about exchanging the small-block 350 cid stock motor for something more powerful. Southern California race car engineer Bill Thomas led the way by installing a 427 cid Chevy L72 crate motor into a Camaro even before the model officially went on sale. His sponsored driver, drag racer Dick Harrell, soon teamed with Chicago dealership Nickey Chevrolet to produce a small series of similarly modified cars.
When Nickey ultimately backed out of the agreement, Harrell called upon an old friend, Don Yenko. The owner of a Chevrolet dealership in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, Yenko had participated in road racing and tuning throughout the 1950s and early 1960s, making his mark with a dealer-modified Corvair known as the Yenko Stinger. After the Corvair was discontinued, Yenko was searching for a new Chevy sports car that he could modify to racing specifications, and Harrell’s proposal for the big-block Camaro perfectly suited his needs.
The first handful of Yenko Camaros arrived factory stocked with Chevy’s small-block 350 cid motor, which was swapped out in Yenko’s shop for a completely new 427 cid L72 engine. The 396 cid Turbo-Jet V-8 that GM made available in Camaros later in the model year was more compatible with the L72 motor, so Yenko soon began ordering the big-block Super Sports, salvaging their powerful cylinder heads and carburetors, and re-mounting them on the L72’s short block.
These later 1967 cars received Yenko identification numbers starting with YS-701, and a handful were equipped with side-pipe exhaust packages. Developing 450 hp and produced in a very limited quantity, the 1967 Yenko Camaro Super has grown to be one of the most collectible American muscle cars ever built.
This finely restored Yenko Camaro is one of the approximate 54 examples modifed for the 1967 model year, as per the copies of the original Yenko inventory sheets. Starting life as a 396 cid Super Sport model built at GM’s Norwood, Ohio, plant in June 1967, this car was delivered to Yenko’s dealership later that month, and a copy of the original handwritten Yenko service invoice lists the conversions undertaken on July 18th. Modifications included replacing the engine block, installing a fiberglass hood with pins, a multi-gauge instrument package, exhaust headers and flanges, and a carburetor linkage for the revised manifold. According to the COPO Connection, the car was also equipped with dual exhaust, heavy-duty suspension and clutch, and a Posi-Traction rear axle with a 3.73:1 drive ratio.
A copy of the original dealers invoice shows the Camaro was delivered to Jay Kline Chevrolet in Minnesota in late July 1967 and, according to a signed letter from the original owner, subsequently purchased by its first owner in spring 1968. More recently restored by Camaro Specialties of East Aurora, New York, this Yenko Camaro has been authenticated by a Yenko Vehicle Verification Certificate from the COPO Connection, and a NCRS Shipping Date Report (which join copies of the original dealer and sales invoices, and the Yenko modification sheets). Maintained by one of the most respected GM sports car collectors on the East Coast, this powerful Yenko Camaro has not been shown since the restoration work was completed, and awaits display at muscle car events or enjoyment by those who appreciate its unique drag-strip preparation.