Car: Yenko Chevrolet Chevelle
What makes it special: In 1969, Road Racer / Cannonsburg, Pennsylvania Chevrolet dealer Don Yenko marketed 99 COPO Chevrolet Chevelles. The COPO's were created to avoid GM's ban on engines over 400 cubic inches in mid-size cars. Chevrolet's performance-products manager Vince Piggins used the Central Office Production Order system which normally filled special-equipment fleet orders to factory-equip a run of Chevelles with L72 427 V8's. Each Yenko Chevelle was given a signature decal treatment.
What made it famous: The 1969 Yenko Chevelle was equipped with a L72 427 V8 with a solid-lifter iron-block-and-head, an aluminum manifold and an 800-cfm Holley 4-barrel carburetor which was rated at 425 hp, (but the NHRA claimed it to actually be around 450 hp.) The strongest regular 4-speed or the Rock Crusher manual or a fortified Turbo Hydra-matic transmission were offered. It had heavy-duty suspension, front disc brakes, and a strengthened 12-bolt Posi-traction rear with 4.10:1 cogs. A blacked-out grille treatment and tail panel, hood bulges, side stripes, and chrome exhaust tips were all borrowed from the Super Sport model, but otherwise there was no performance ID on the body. The emblem-free L72 could pass for an aluminum-manifold 396.
Why I would want one: There are plenty of specialty Pony Cars around, but it would be different to have a specialty mid-size. The Yenko Chevelle had both good looks and plenty of action when slamming the gas pedal to the floor when needed.
Fun fact: None of the 323 COPO Chevelles produced were Super Sports. They were base coupes with a COPO option package that cost about $860, including $533 for the L72. Don Yenko put his trademark dress-ups on the 99 he ordered. The others that went to other dealers for individual sale were plain janes.
(1969 Yenko Chevrolet Chevelle photo from sunautoworld.com)
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