Yenko Deuces - 1969 & 1970 Yenko Novas

37 427s & 175 LT1 350s Built, Respectively

Doug Marion Mar 13, 2008 0 Comment(s)
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A great place to find Yenko Deuces as well as Chevelles and Camaros is the Chevy/Vettefest indoor show in Rosemont, IL. It's right next to O'Hare International Airport.

As a young man back in the torrid 1950s and 1960s, Don Yenko learned the Chevrolet car and truck industry from his father, a very successful man in the industry. Both Yenkos liked Chevrolet performance, and roadracing was Don's forte. Knowing how to manipulate the almost unknown factory "Central Office Production Order" (COPO) program, he first ordered some special '65 Corvairs, named them Yenko Stingers, and went roadracing with customers and friends alike. Today, they are legendary.

His name is also legendary in Camaro, Chevelle, and Nova camps. In 1969, Yenko Jr. decided to build some SYC (Yenko Super Car) Super Novas in-house. A grand total of 37 ground-pounders were sold. All were originally L78 396 Novas. Twenty-eight had a transplanted 425hp 427. The remaining eight were still factory real-deal RPO L78 375hp 396s. Yenko knew from his first road test that the 427 Super Novas were lethal (that's a politically correct word for brutally fast and potentially dangerous). This is actually the terminology he used. And riding shotgun was not an especially fun experience. To say they were a "handful" like the '69 L72 427 Camaro would be a minimal definition.

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Here's a rare '69 Yenko 427 Super Nova. Notice the color-keyed rollcage and the different Rally wheels and center caps. Thirty-seven were sold new. Seven are known to exist today.

Some magazines have even quoted Don Yenko as saying he probably shouldn't have built the '69 SYC 427 Super Novas. Well, he did. And as far as we know, everyone involved has lived happily ever after, change of underwear notwithstanding. Can you imagine going 0-60 mph in under 4 seconds? 0-100 mph probably came in at about 10 seconds, and 0-120 mph in perhaps 11 seconds. This was indeed REAL Chevrolet performance!

We believe that all through this time period Yenko was fighting with insurance agents who may have balked at insuring such blazingly fast Chevrolet Novas, Camaros, and Chevelles. Then, in 1970, he saw the proverbial writing on the wall. It was called the Clean Air Act of 1970. This new national legislation- combined with ultra-high-cost performance car insurance woes-made Don Yenko counter with the '70 LT1/Z28 350-powered Yenko Deuce Nova. It was a COPO, and it was advertised as a "mini musclecar." It supposedly flew under the performance car insurance premium radar.

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The July 1982 issue of Super Chevyfeatured a story and cover photo of Reggie Jackson's '70 Yenko Deuce Nova. That was 25 years ago.

Total '70 Yenko Deuce sales were said to be 175. The gem featured a Z28 Camaro/LT1 Corvette 350 engine, a Muncie four-speed manual or a Turbo 400 automatic transmission, F41 sport suspension, and a 12-bolt differential with a 4.10:1 Posi-traction. Rally wheels without trim rings were also part of the base package.

A total of eight exterior colors were offered: Gobi beige, Fathom blue, Citrus green, Forest green, Hugger orange, Cranberry red, Cortez silver, and Sunflower yellow. The only interior offered was a standard bench seat in black vinyl.

The Yenko Deuce was a blast to drive. It ran easy low 13s with headers and slicks. This was plenty quick.

It should be stated in this historical story that many Chevy enthusiasts then could not afford a '69 Yenko 427 Super Nova or even a '70 350 Yenko Deuce. But this is nothing new then or today.

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