• Dec 20th 2008 at 7:20PM
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Click above for a high-res gallery of the Don Yenko's Chevrolet collection

While not necessarily to the same extent, Don Yenko was to Chevys what Carroll Shelby was to Ford. He may not have beaten Ferrari at Le Mans, but Yenko built some of the most powerful Bowtie muscle cars of the 1960s. With only a few hundred built, they're also some of the most valuable. At the upcoming Barrett-Jackson auction in January, a private collector will be selling off his collection of five Yenkos, which are considered to be some of the best and most original in existence. Up for grabs will be a trio of 1969 Camaros, a 1981 Turbo Z Camaro, and a rare Yenko Nova. The highlight will be the Daytona Yellow Camaro that is one of three existing cars built by Yenko for NHRA drag racing. It features a COPO 427/425 V8, 3-speed automatic transmission, Hurst shifter, and more. Follow the jump for Barrett-Jackson's press release with more details on these rare muscle cars.

[Source: Barrett-Jackson]


Five rare Yenko muscle cars from a celebrated collection will be sold at No Reserve during the 38th Annual Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction in Scottsdale, Ariz., Jan. 11-18, 2009. For the first time, four Yenko Camaros and a Yenko Nova from the Gary Holub Collection (Lot #'s 1276-1278) will be offered to the public. Hailed as "The World's Greatest Collector Car Auctions™," the Scottsdale auction and lifestyle event will feature a diverse mix of the world's most desirable collector vehicles. SPEED will broadcast nearly 40 hours of live, high-definition coverage of all six auction days.

"Many muscle car enthusiasts and car collectors worldwide believe that the Yenko Camaro defined America's appetite for performance in the late 1960s," said Steve Davis, president of Barrett-Jackson. "Road racer and Chevrolet dealer Don Yenko learned how to manipulate the secret factory 'Central Office Production Order' (COPO) to turn the new Camaro into a formidable competitor to the Ford Mustang and Plymouth 'Cuda. The result was a special run of high-performance Yenko Camaros and later, special versions of the Nova, Corvair, Chevelle and Vegas, that ruled the roads. We're pleased that five of these rare muscle cars from a very special Yenko collection will cross the block at Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale."

With only a few hundred Yenko cars ever built, they are highly coveted in today's market. Many consider the cars owned by Gary Holub to be among the most original and desirable gathered in one location.

The Daytona Yellow Camaro (Lot #1278), also known as the "Preston and Lawrence Yenko", is one of only three surviving 1969 Camaros personally sold by Don Yenko for use in NHRA drag racing. It has the COPO L72 427/425hp engine, 3-speed automatic transmission, power steering, Hurst shifter, black vinyl roof and COPO 9737 Sports Car Conversion. The car features a special ducted hood, dual exhaust, increased cooling capacity and special suspension. It is heavily documented including Don Yenko's name on the paperwork, original dealer package file, purchase order, Bill of Sale, shipper sheet, and paperwork from COPO Connection and Yenko Chevrolet.

"I've been enamored with Yenkos since I was in high school," explained Gary Holub. "My goal then was to own one in my lifetime, but I've been fortunate enough to own 44 Yenkos throughout the years. The five special cars that will be sold at Barrett-Jackson include unprecedented documentation. The Daytona Yellow Camaro, for instance, includes the original Window Sticker and dealer packet from 1969."

One of 50 Yenkos built under COPO 9560 to qualify for NHRA, the 1969 Camaro ZL-1 COPO coupe (Lot #1277.1) features an aluminum 427 ZL-1 engine, special ducted hood, heavy duty radiator, springs and a 4.10 posi rear. The powerful Yenko is one of only 10 ZL-1's in Fathom Green and is documented with paperwork from GM, Fred Gibb Chevy and COPO Connection.

The other 1969 Yenko Camaro (Lot #1277) is one of 30 built with the 427/425hp engine with an automatic in Fathom Green. The car is equipped with a special hood, dual exhaust, special suspension, 140mph speedometer and larger stabilizer bar. This car is a 10-time show winner and is documented by COPO Connection. It includes the Yenko dealer invoice, judging sheets and owner's registrations.

The final Yenko series built was a Camaro that debuted in 1981 as a Turbo Z. This particular car (Lot #1276) is number 10 of 19 and is the first Camaro to win the prestigious Don Yenko Memorial Award. Yenko Turbo Z #10 is believed to be the only one fitted with a cigarette lighter. This is a 100 percent original car with original tires, spark plugs, turbocharger, paint and interior. It is documented in the Yenko Turbo Z Registry and includes the Window Sticker and Yenko dealer invoice.

The Silver Yenko Nova (Lot #1276.1) is one of 175 built and one of only 25 with a silver exterior. The Nova "Yenko Deuce Coupe" features a LT1 Corvette 350 engine, a Muncie 4-speed manual, F41 sport suspension and a 12-bolt differential with a 4.10:1 posi-traction. Its documentation includes a Don Yenko Inventory List, COPO Connection Certificates, owner's registrations and a portion of the Build Sheet.

"Experts have said that Don Yenko wanted to be Chevrolet's answer to Carroll Shelby," added Davis. "He leveraged his success racing Corvettes and his father's GM relationship to create a series of Chevy super cars that harness some of the most impressive muscle engineering of the time."

The Yenkos will join the world's most desirable collector vehicles and automobilia to be sold at the historic Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale auction. Lifestyle attractions will also return to Barrett-Jackson in January in the form of luxury vendors, galas and fashion shows. Barrett-Jackson's trendy night-spot, "The Garage," will be the site of exclusive gatherings throughout the event.

About The Barrett-Jackson Auction Company

Established in 1971 and headquartered in Scottsdale, Ariz., Barrett-Jackson specializes in providing products and services to classic and collector car owners, astute collectors and automotive enthusiasts around the world. The company produces the "World's Greatest Collector Car Auctions™" in Scottsdale, Palm Beach, Fla. and Las Vegas. For more information about Barrett-Jackson, visit www.barrett-jackson.com or call (480) 421-6694.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      Antonio Martinez-Fre
      • 3 Years Ago
      Please take a look at my Posts about Chevy Nova. http://starttheengine.blogspot.com/ Thanks
      • 6 Years Ago
      Actually the first Yenko's were not Camaro's but were the Yenko Stinger Corvairs.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I concur with commentor 1. Those 1960 Camaros are undoubtedly quite rare. No doubt the auction will be unable to authenticate any 1960 Camaro.

      • 6 Years Ago
      Never knew there were 80's Yenko's?
      • 6 Years Ago
      That silver Nova is so nice (As are the others but the Nova really does it for me)
      • 6 Years Ago
      Most awesome and awe-inspiring sixties cars EVER!
      • 6 Years Ago
      On a tangent, I wonder what kind of price bloodbath we are going to see at this years Barrett-Jackson.

      Last year's was not all that great, not like the mindless bidding 2 and 3 years ago.
        • 6 Years Ago
        None of these cars are going to go for their estimates. The bottom has fallen out of the muscle car market. People are finally starting to realize that rare combinations of options doesn't really make a car rare, and that muscle cars were pretty much junk to begin with. The only thing they had going for them was nostalgia, and that just isn't worth much except to a certain generational demographic of buyers. 20 years from now, there just won't be the same demand for these cars, as future generations won't care about them.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Artie, I was agreeing with you until your comment, calling muscle cars "junk to begin with". This really shows ignorance on your part. I wasn't even born until 20 years after most of these cars were made, but I can still appreciate their appeal, even with their flaws. It's like a classic Porsche, there just is no substitute. If you don't understand that, you're probably not a car enthusiast.
        • 6 Years Ago
        The Ferrari 250 GT didn't have disc brakes either. It's clearly crap.

        No Artie, you aren't a car enthusiast, or at least not a reasonable one. You cannot expect 40 year old cars to have the same features as modern ones do.

        And as to the idea the Camaros only trace their heritage to drag strips (not that there's anything wrong with that), you should look up the history of Trans Am.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Artie, you don't understand what I'm saying. Everything is relative. For their time period and power output and price at the time, name something that handled better. Muscle cars weren't "junk" for their time period and price, if they were than so many millions of them wouldn't have been sold.

        I didn't say you weren't a car enthusiast because a big-block camaro doesn't handle like a new car today. But you don't even recognize these cars' niche and the fact that they were good cars for the time period.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Yeah, I'm not a car enthusiast because I think the build quality and technology of the muscle car era was pretty atrocious. I'm not a car enthusiast because I think leaf-sprung solid axles and drum brakes are almost undrivable. I'm not an enthusiast because I think a car should be able to go around a corner well and stop when you need it to. I'm not a car enthusiast because I believe that, in order for car to be collectable, it should be limited in numbers, represent some significant advancement in automotive technology, have iconic styling, and have some racing history that doesn't involve NASCAR or drag strips. But go ahead and worship the Camaro or the Mustang; mouth-breathers need aspirations, and the nouveau riche need something to spend their newly-minted money on.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Anyone else remember the Yenko Stinger, which was a 2nd-gen Corvair? How about the Yenko Vega? Those are probably even more rare, if much less desirable overall.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I remember that ZL-1 A couple of years ago was on BJ Auction on speed. With it's baby puke Green paint and interior it went for about 90K. Pretty cheap for one of the rarest Camaro's Ever!

      Then a bright yellow Z28 went for around 150K. Sure it had the four disc brakes, but they only made 69 ZL-1s!

      Goes to show how much paint and interior color means for resale!
      • 6 Years Ago
      Artie Lange, get your facts right before talking such BS
      • 6 Years Ago
      Artie, what would you consider a collectable car then?
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