Once again, the Alton, Missouri-based Yenko Sportscar Club, or sYc, brought its traveling acceleration show and shine event to St. Louis Gateway International Raceway (GIR) and nearby Gateway Center (Collinsville, Illinois) Labor Day weekend for the twelfth edition of the club's highly acclaimed "Supercar Reunion." Routinely accompanying Don Yenko's finest were representations of COPO, ZL1, Nickey Chevrolet, Berger Chevrolet, Fred Gibb, Dick Harrell, and Motion Performance products. Over 100 strong this year, and get this: They do it for the fun of it! No trophies. No pain-in-the-ass car show judges, and no points system! To put it plainly, the sYc's philosophy is just stand on the gas, and enjoy the ride!
Of course, Chevrolet's Camaro continues to be "top dog" at every Supercar Reunion, particularly this year when event title sponsor, Nickey Chicago, led by Nickey CEO Stefano Bimby, rolled up with no less than a half dozen 2010 Stage I, Stage II, and Stage III Nickey Camaro's, including the very first LS7, 427 Stage III Nickey. During Friday's drag race session, initial shakedown runs were made. However, GIR's famed "bite" caused problems with the shifter rods and synchro's on the factory Tremec TR 6060's transmissions. Best time for the Bimbi-driven Nickey 427 was a 12.57 e.t. at 112.50 mph. Bimbi says Nickey and Chicago's RAM Automotive are currently developing a new dual-disc high-performance clutch for these cars, and FLP is in the process of working on a blueprinted 6000-series Tremec, which will be able to handle these 707hp monsters and help them realize their true 10-second quarter-mile potentials.
When it came to classic Camaro's, Ken Barnhart and his '69 ZL1 Camaro, which normally runs in NHRA's SS/B class, recorded a best of 10.30 e.t. at 131.72 mph to set low elapsed time and top speed of the meet. Other standouts included the '69 Yenko/SC 427 Camaros of Pete Gerling and Dru Diesner who thrilled the crowd with their side-by-side burnouts, respectively recording a best of 11.09 e.t. at 125.19 mph, to an 11.54 e.t. at 121.04 mph. Then there was teenager Caleb Arone driving the ex-Byrned Brothers '69 427 COPO Camaro who went 11.51 e.t. at 116.37 mph. Rob Clary, driving the world's quickest and fastest pure stock '69 Yenko 427 Camaro posted a 12.00 e.t. at 116.52 mph.
Friday afternoon's concourse move at Gateway Center was traditionally followed by Friday evening's banquet. Originally scheduled to speak at the dinner was former Yenko Sportscars Inc. executive secretary and eccentric champion race car driver, Donna Mae Mims, but after feeling ill, cancelled at the last minute. Later on, sYc members learned that Mims had a stroke earlier that afternoon at her Bridgeville, Pennsylvania home. We are saddened to report that she has since died. From the staff at Camaro Performers magazine, our sincerest condolences go out to her family and friends.
Camaro Performers magazine contributing editor Bob McClurg stepped in and read excerpts from his new Car Tech Inc. book titled, "Yenko! The Man, The Machines, The Legend!" The evening's activities came to a close with an sYc memorabilia auction. Proceeds were donated to a local charity.
Saturday's indoor concourse at Gateway Center featured 51 of the finest Yenko, Berger, Harrell-Gibb, Motion Performance, ZL1 and COPO cars ever to gather in the name of horsepower. Walking inside the door found Ken Barnhart's '69 Camaro ZL1 and Kim Howie's '70 Fred Gibb Camaro Pro Stock on the right, with Tony Lucas' Olympic Gold '69 Yenko/SC 427 Camaro demonstrator-one of two Olympic Gold demonstrator supercars Yenko built that year-and his stripeless Daytona Yellow, Jack Douglass Yenko on the left. Other Camaro standouts included Joe Swezey's '69 Dick Harrell 427 Camaro, and "YS-706," the newly completed Supercar Workshop-restoration of David Boland's Royal Plum '67 Harrell-Yenko Super Camaro 450.
It's one of the lowest production numbered '67 Yenko Camaros on record. Also on hand were Tony Lucas' pair of '69 Berger COPOs, with the Fathom Green RS 427 version actually being owned by Berger Chevrolet CEO Dale Berger. Gateway Camaro Club member Keith Shockley was also there with his Ralley Green '69 Yenko 427, as well as Mark Hassett, Jr's aforementioned '68 Motion 427 Camaro. A one-owner Marina Blue, '69 Yenko 427 owned since new by Jerry and Pam Albert and Gary Crawford was also present. The list goes on!
Of course, Nickey Chicago put on a very nice display with their Stage I, Stage II, and Stage III Camaros. Another interesting display at the event was the Supercar Workshop's fully restored DANA Chevrolet 427 Camaro front subframe-a visual testimony to the LaTrobe, Pennsylvania, restoration shop's incredible attention to detail.
Unfortunately, the Gateway Camaro Club's annual "Show & Shine" outdoor parking lot companion event was rained out. Better luck next year guys.
To find out more about the Supercar Reunion, and the Yenko Sportscar Club in general log on to www.yenko.net.