1968 Yenko Camaro, The Desert Rat


Coming out of a renowned longtime private collection from a well known private collector is a 1968 Yenko Camaro. For a longer title, it is a 1968 Chevrolet Yenko Camaro, a real SS427 Supercar COPO Camaro (Yenko Supercar #8011) produced by Don Yenko at his Cannonsburg, Pennsylvania shop. To underline just how rare it is, it is just 1 of 64 ’68s ever produced and 1 of approximately a dozen still in existence today. ’68 Yenkos are in fact more scarce than the ’67 or the ’69 model year Yenko SC’s. The ’68s came with a special fiberglass cold-air hood, 427/450 horsepower short block, and 14 X 7 Pontiac II Rally wheels with custom made “Y” Yenko center caps for the Pontiac Rally II wheels. These wheels were one inch wider than any 14 inch wheel available from Chevrolet that model year.

Now consider this. It is altogether possible that you might never have seen this 1968 Yenko Camaro pictured here today.  This real Yenko Camaro was discovered in 2006 in California’s upper desert. It had been there for decades, outside in the desert but under cover. And this only after being rescued on its way to the scrap yard in the mid-1980s. When discovered it still bore its original special order Fathom Blue paint, trim tag, export trim tag, Yenko door jamb tag, 140 mph speedometer, front sway bar and all hidden VINs. After a complete professional restoration by noted restorer Rick Nelson using only GM NOS parts wherever possible, the beautifully finished “Desert Rat” was unveiled by Don Yenko’s daughter, Dr. Lynn Yenko Zoiopoulos, at the 2011 Muscle Car and Corvette Nationals in Chicago, Illinois, where it won Gold. The next year it took Gold again when it scored 992 points out of 1,000 possible.

In 1967 Don Yenko single handedly changed the muscle car game forever with his creation of the Yenko 427 Camaro. As an accomplished race driver and car enthusiast, Yenko wanted to create a car that would have optimal performance on and off the track. As Carroll Shelby did for the Ford Mustang, Yenko took the then brand new Chevrolet Camaro platform and converted it to a big block super car the likes of which we will never see again in our lifetimes. It was every Camaro lovers wildest dream come true.

By 1968 these special Camaro’s were ordered through the GM Central Office Production Order division which later came to be known as the COPO program. For 1968 the 9737 COPO Camaro was only available to Don Yenko and in fact Yenko was considered the manufacturer for these ’68 Yenko Camaros. Most people tend to think the high performance aspect of the COPO program hit its stride in 1969.  However this COPO #9737  package was added in 1968 as per Don Yenko’s request.  He would order RPO L78 SS Camaros were equipped with the 396/375 horsepower L78 big blocks, and add the COPO #9737 to the order making it a special order.  Yenko’s mechanics then removed the L78 396 engine and installed a L72 427 short block. The original L78 396 heads, aluminum intake and carb were then installed on the 427 short block.

The COPO 9737 designation added for 1968 cooling, suspension and brake upgrades along with a 140 mph speedometer, heavy duty springs, larger anti-roll bar, M-21 close ratio 4-speed transmission and a 4.10 posi rear differential.  Yenko also added Pontiac 14×6 rally II wheels with a special “Y” for Yenko in the center caps, wide oval red stripe tires and a unique fiberglass hood. Also added were Stewart Warner interior gauges and Yenko emblems along with 427 emblems on the exterioir, and one Yenko emblem on the glovebox.

This car has been SOLD.

California Playtoys, a classic car dealer from Corona, California is pleased to offer this ultra rare 1968 Yenko Super Camaro at the Mecum Auto Auction in Chicago, Illinois.  This incredible car is scheduled to cross the block on Saturday afternoon October 12, 2013 at 2:10 pm, Lot # S114. Check the Mecum Auction website for information on how to bid on this car in the live auction. You can also find out from Mecum how to follow the auction on TV.


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  1. 1968 Desert Rat Yenko Camaro | blog cars on line - March 5, 2014

    […] Nickey Chicago in St. Charles, Illinois just listed a 1968 Desert Rat Yenko Camaro for sale. According to the ad:  it has been reported that only 15-16 of these “Super Camaros” are in existence today, in turn making them very rare, desirable and exclusive. This particular example carries the Yenko number YS 8011 and was sold new through the Yenko dealership network at Jay Kline Chevrolet in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Don’t let this one pass you by! Visit the ad to learn of its complete history, or see our previous report about it on the Cars On Line Blog. […]

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