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.
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.