Don Yenko was to Chevrolet what Carroll Shelby was to Ford, even if the classic muscle cars that wear his name don’t fetch quite as much at auction. But when it comes to performance, the Yenko Camaros of the late 1960s were every bit a match for Carroll Shelby’s best Mustangs, and Yenko often did it with little or no factory support.
If you ask us, that makes Yenko’s accomplishments all the more impressive, and leaves little wonder why cars like this award-winning 1969 Camaro regularly bring six-figures at auction. This particular car is due to cross the auction block next month at Mecum’s event in Indianapolis, and bidding is expected to cross $300,000 for this Shelby-fighter.
The Yenko Camaro almost didn’t happen, had GM had its way. Only a defiant Don Yenko, who funded the conversion of 54 1967 Camaros himself, would eventually convince GM to step up its game against Shelby. These Yenko Camaros, rare even by Shelby standards, finally gave the HEMI-powered Mopars and big-block Mustangs something to be afraid of.
One of just 198 “Super Camaros” built for the 1969 model year, Yenko finally convinced GM brass to let him introduce a 427 cubic-inch L72 rated at 425 horsepower into the pony car. Backing the motor up is a Muncie M21 four-speed manual, with 4.10:1 gears out back back for optimum acceleration and cowl induction hood that ties everything together.
This particular Yenko is a numbers-matching original and has taken home plenty of well-deserved rewards as proof.When the gavel drops on rare Camaro, expect a final bid of between $275,000 and $325,000.