While Chevrolet was producing some of the
most impressive and memorable pony cars of all time in the 1st-gen Camaro, a
young man by the name of Don Yenko, from Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, was creating
even more awesome versions of these amazing pony cars.
Don Yenko began his prestigious career by modifying Mid-engine Corvair Spyders
for racing duties. But the new for '67 Camaro caught this young tuner's eyes,
and he saw the potential for truly amazing performance. The problem was that the
largest engine available for the Camaro, indeed for its entire 1st-gen run, was
the 396 big block. Yenko however, saw more potential for power in Chevrolet's
newest big block power plant, the awesome 427.
So in 1967, Yenko ordered 50 Camaro's and stuffed 427s between the front
Yenko soon realized however that the modifications were far too costly, so he
got the factory involved. In 1969 he had Chevrolet send him about 200 COPO
(Central Office Production Order) 9561 Camaro's (the number is disputed, but 200
is the given). This special production order bypassed the ban on
high-displacement engines in the F-body, giving him a Camaro with the L72 427
already installed. Yenko would then mount a special Stewart-Warner
column-mounted tachometer and his own badging and special Yenko stripes. In
addition he bolted on a cowl induction hood, and the COPO 9561 package was
included, featuring a 140 mph speedometer, E70x15 rubber on Torq-Thrust wheels
and a 1-inch front sway bar. He also bolted on a set of headers to the mammoth
427 and some extra gauges for monitoring its performance.
Certainly the eye-catching graphics and look and sound of the 427 big block
stuffed under the hood were enough to sell the Yenko Camaro's, but it was the performance
provided by this engine that really made these super F-bodies something to be
feared. The 427 from the factory was rated at 425 horsepower, but Yenko dynoed
his at over 450. This amazing power allowed the car to rocket to mid 12s
in the 1320 right out of Yenko's shop... mid 12s with very little traction.
Slicks easily propelled these beasts deep into the 11s.
Selling for $4,245 each, allegedly only 200 of these Yenko Camaro's were
produced. For this reason they are highly sought after by collectors and
performance enthusiasts alike. Thankfully, the lucky owners of these Camaro's
are true enthusiasts enough to still race these cars...
Fortunately, Yenko also modified other Chevy's, including '69 Chevelles that he
crammed 427s into, and Novas with both 427s and the LT-1 350. He even later
modified Vegas by stuffing 454 big blocks into the tiny compacts. But the Yenko Camaro's
are arguably the most sought-after and popular Yenko creations ever. How fitting
that Yenko uses the initials "SC" on the Camaro.... "Super