Most people associate the name Yenko with fire-breathing 427 Camaro/SCs, 427 Chevelle/SCs, and 427 Nova/SCs, but the fact of the matter is that Canonsburg, Pennsylvania's Yenko Chevrolet was very proud to be the Greater Pittsburgh area's only "authorized" High Performance Corvette dealer back in the day. Throughout the 1960s, Don and Frank Yenko routinely ran ads in the Pittsburgh Press proudly announcing "Buy Your Corvette at Yenko Corvette Center," and they sold a ton of them. But where did they all go?
Pennsylvania native Brian Henderson is co-owner of one of the most successful muscle car restoration shops in the country, Latrobe, Pennsylvania's Super Car Workshop, and together with partner Joe Swezey is responsible for some of the country's top scoring Yenko Camaro, Chevelle, and Nova (concourse) restorations. Henderson is also a Yenko historian of note and a veritable storehouse of knowledgeable when it comes to the awesome road machines that Don Yenko and his crew at Yenko Sportscars, Inc. created.
"When it came to "high end" Corvettes, like "Big Tank" cars, "Fuelie's," L88 big-block and Tri-Power cars, etc., Yenko Chevrolet was reknown for stocking the cream of the crop, says Henderson."
But every once in awhile, even an expert like Brian gets blown away when an uncommon rarity like this 40,000-mile, Code 984 Daytona Yellow '69 Yenko 427 "L71" 435 hp at 5,800 rpm and 460 lb/ft. at 4,000 rpm, Corvette T-top car surfaces.
"I'm always on the lookout for genuine Yenko survivor cars. In the last thirty years, I've found plenty of Yenko Camaro's, Chevelles, and Nova's, but this is the first unrestored Yenko sold Corvette I've ever run across. I mean, how many times do you find an unmolested factory original Daytona Yellow '69 iron head 427/L71 T-top in such pristine condition right down to a working factory burglar alarm system? Finding it was really a big deal since so many of the high-performance Chevrolet products sold by Yenko Chevrolet/Yenko Sportscars, Inc. were ridden hard and put away wet in a manner of speaking, but not this one!"
Since Yenko Sportscars, Inc. never built a limited production "Yenko Corvette/SC" specialty car like their Corvairs, Camaros, Chevelles, and Novas, the paper trail on "regular"-if you could call it that-new car sales, which were handled directly through the parent company, Yenko Chevrolet, Corvettes included, and is practically non-existent.
Historically, this Corvette L71 has "been seen around" the Greater Pittsburgh area most of its forty years. As to exactly who bought the car new still remains a mystery. However, a couple of years ago, the Corvette resurfaced after it was purchased by a New Florence, Pennsylvania, Corvette collector named Bob Priest. By the time Brian Henderson bought the car, (Christmas 2007) Priest had performed a basic engine rebuild on the original date code ("LT") 427 big-block, 4.251-inch bore and 3.76-inch stroke, and cast-iron square-port "L71" big-block cylinder heads, using the original stock GM components; and that also included rebuilding the original 1,200-cfm (combined) Holley Tri-Power carburetors. However, very little else if anything has been done to the car.
"This is a typical Yenko Corvette in the respect that it is a high end 11.0:1 compression 427/435 HP big-block Tri-Power car complete with Muncie M21 four-speed and 4.11:1 geared rear end which is the way Yenko liked to order them!"
With the exception of a repainted engine block-done when the engine was rebuilt-everything else on Brian's '69 T-top is 100 percent original . . . well, almost. One T-top had to be replaced early on when after a drive with the tops out, it began to rain. Returning quickly home to the garage, the owner failed to notice the top on the floor and ran it over. That includes the car's Code "984" Daytona Yellow paint, and Code "ZQ4" black vinyl bucket seat interior complete with AC Delco AM/FM radio. But it's the little things that separate an original Corvette from a restoration.
For example, Brian's Corvette has the correct serial number Tri-Power Smog Pump which was an exclusive to the Tri-Power cars. Little things like having the original clear tape on the headlight wiring loom-the vacuum headlights and parking lights all function like new-having the correct black paint "cut line" in the engine compartment at the firewall tip of each fender, having original NOS F70x15-inch Firestone white striped bias ply tires, 15x8-inch Rally wheels, four-clip beauty rings and correct hubcaps all point to this car being totally original.
The ride on this Corvette is still solid and precise just like it was when it was brand-new. All the rubber suspension bushings are perfect. And get this-the gas tank even has the original tank sticker still on it! This is one primo 100 percent original Yenko Corvette!
"I just love the fact that this Corvette was sold new right alongside Yenko's '69 427 Camaro/SCs, 427 Chevelle/SCs, and 427 Nova/SCs. Having a Corvette sold from one of Chevrolets most historic dealerships, Yenko's Corvette Center, is special to me, since I love the performance cars sold from Yenko." CFM...