The COPO Camaro's

Yenko Chevrolet and COPO 9561

Perhaps the best know of the racing dealers is Don Yenko, from Cannonsberg, Pennsylvania. Wanting more performance than the 396 Camaro would give, Yenko Sportscars created the Yenko Super Camaro by installing the 427 cid 425 hp engine. Yenko had been building Corvair Stingers, and some of the early Yenko Camaros had Corvair window stickers with the Camaro information typed in! These cars all had the special Yenko hood scoop and Yenko emblems. Most of these early Yenko Camaros went to Chicago,dot_clear.gif (46 bytes) where they were distributed by Span, Inc. for Yenko Sportscars. There were 54 Camaros built in '67, making this one of the rarest of Camaros. There are only 12 surviving cars known, and 9 of those are being raced or are in very bad condition. The car pictured above belongs to Jim Parks, and is the only know '67 Yenko in showroom condition.
By the end of 1967 it was clear that Yenko couldn't keep up with the demand for 427 Camaros, so he approached Chevrolet
dot_clear.gif (46 bytes) about the possibility of getting factory equipped 427 Camaros.dot_clear.gif (46 bytes) Chevy was hesitant about this at first,dot_clear.gif (46 bytes) but the people in the Special Projects Division were eager to give it a shot. dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)According to Jim Mattison,dot_clear.gif (46 bytes) who worked in the division at the time, the result was that Chevy agreeddot_clear.gif (46 bytes) to supply factory equipped 427 Camaros to dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)Yenko in 1968 on the condition that he keep it a secret. dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)Don Yenko agreed, and until recently it was dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)thought that all 68 of the 1968 Yenko Camaros had dealer installed dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)engines, just like the 67's, but they were actually dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)factory installed. At the end of the 68 model year the carsdot_clear.gif (46 bytes) had proved to be both reliable and desireable. dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)This led to the birth of two special options for 1969, COPO 9561 and COPO 9737. dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)

The Central Office Production Order (COPO) was a back door around Chevrolet's performance limits. COPO 9561 was the factory 427 cid Camaro, with either 435hp and solid lifters in the 4-speeds or 425hp and hydraulic lifters in the autos, and COPO 9737 was the Sport Car Conversion Kit, consisting of E70X15 tires on Rally Wheels, a 140 mph speedometer, and a 1 inch front stabilizer bar. The first COPO 9561 cars were delivered to Yenko Chevrolet in January, 1969. Cars built through late May had a Stewart Warner 970 custom service tachometer with a special sending unit installed. Later cars received the factory tach. Your Yenko could be ordered with or without stripes and spoilers. The stripe package included "SYC" decals on the front headrests.

In 1969 the Yenco SYC could be ordered with either the M22 4-speed or the Turbohydramatic transmission for $4245.00, which was a bargain for all that performance! It is not known exactly how many Yenko Camaros were made in 1969. The best figure is either 199 or 201, depending on the source, and probably 201. dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)Interestingly, there is a photo of Don Yenko posing next dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)to a transporter full of Camaros with a handwritten note reading dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)"Our 350th Camaro!" Some people have interpreted this to dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)mean that Yenko sold at least 350 Camaros in 69, dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)but there is no other evidence for this.dot_clear.gif (46 bytes) We could add in the 54 cars from 1967dot_clear.gif (46 bytes) and the 68 cars from 1968 and that still only equals 323 cars.dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)
Since these cars could be ordered by any dealer there were many more COPO's built for other dealers. The best figures at this time are 193 automatics
dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)and 822 4-speeds, for a total of 1015 COPO 9561 cars. dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)
I have a friend who bought a Yenko back in 1976,the same time I bought my Z/28. At the time we didn't know what it was, but was it fast! We still didn't know what it was when he sold it in 1980 for $1100 to someone from Sanford, NC. I've heard rumors that the car is now in Newton, NC, just down the road from me, but I've never seen it.


Fred Gibb and the ZL1

Just as DonYenko and Dick Harrell were largely responsible for the COPO 9561 427 Camaros, Fred Gibb was the man behind COPO 9560, the aluminum block ZL1 427 Camaro. There were only 69 ZL1's built, and most went to racers. The cars carried a base price of over $7,200, of which $4160.15 was for the engine!
Originally there were going to be 50 cars built, but other dealers clamored for the car
dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)and that ran the total up to 69. These dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)cars were the ultimate factorydot_clear.gif (46 bytes) Camaros, and are very much sought after today.dot_clear.gif (46 bytes) It is ironic that Fred Gibb ended up shipping most of hisdot_clear.gif (46 bytes) 50 cars back to the factory to be dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)redistributed to other dealers because he couldn't sell them at the asking price. dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)Some of the cars sat on the lot for 2 years or more before they were finally sold.dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)

Chevrolet toyed with the idea of introducing the ZL1 as a regular producton option, and even built two prototypes with special graphics, but decided against it. dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)There just wasn't a market for a $7,200 Camaro in 1969!dot_clear.gif (46 bytes)