Yenko Revisited - Impala Tech
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post #1 of 24 (permalink) Old 08-23-2010, 10:42 AM Thread Starter
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Yenko Revisited

I was lucky to have in-laws in Cannonsburg PA. and visited them over the weekend. I took a few pics of what the dealership looked like today.
I am also lucky that my in-law knows the presesnt owners and the I got a great history of that 1/2 mile stretch of Pike St. which had the Big 3 companies following suite with Don Yenko.
It would be great to purchase the site and turn it into a Yenko owner yearly get together as well as a speed shop etc.... you get the point.
As you see after Yenko it turned into Southgate Subaru; they folded then a friend of the family made it into a little Harley repair and sell shop, I can go on but as a die hard Chevy guy I rather look at the pics. So enjoy and if you have any question or plans to revive Yenko....well you know
The first pic. I tried to duplicate the famous angle from posters you can buy from back when. I'm actually standing in a Dairy Queen drive-in parking lot as you can see in the reflection in the window in the 2nd pic!
........now how can I put Yenko on my 68" convert. quarter panels.....
Sorry, I can download 5 pics.

Last edited by 68imp; 11-15-2011 at 01:19 AM.
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post #2 of 24 (permalink) Old 08-23-2010, 01:20 PM
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awwww nostalgia!

HOW A NOVICE REBUILDS A 66 IMPALA CONVERTIBLE:
http://www.impalas.net/forums/blog.php?u=1432
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post #3 of 24 (permalink) Old 08-23-2010, 02:14 PM
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Lot of history went in and out of that building.

http://www.impalas.net/forums/image.php?type=sigpic&userid=521&dateline=14693626  69
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post #4 of 24 (permalink) Old 08-23-2010, 02:52 PM
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I actually bought an L-88 crate motor from Don back in 1969 that had "Yenko" cast into the block above the timing chain cover. Don purchased his blocks direectly from Tonowanda and used a standard height block, but had them all cast with the high nickel content of the truck block and added his name to the mold. I was actually shocked to see it on the block when I got it, but I bought it just for the high nickel content block and to check to see what the specs were that his guys were using to screw their motors together. That motor went into my 1968 Baldwin Motion Phase III SS/RS Camaro (one of six L-88 motors that passed between the fenders, as I was hard on motors back then, running 5.38 rear cogs and shifting it like a small block).

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post #5 of 24 (permalink) Old 08-23-2010, 04:33 PM
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Very cool pictures. Thanks for sharing with us!

Don't listen to me, what do I know? I've only been doing this for 30 years.
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post #6 of 24 (permalink) Old 08-25-2010, 03:08 PM
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Cool that the building still exists.



I came across one of the Yenko Stinger Vega's years ago rusted out in a parking lot. Still had the white plastic Yenko emblem on the back.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yenko_Chevrolet
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post #7 of 24 (permalink) Old 08-25-2010, 07:48 PM Thread Starter
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One of the thing's that was realy neat is that if you look in one of the pics. you still see the parking space yellow lines still in the asphalt! Boy if I just had a small buisiness loan/grant!
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post #8 of 24 (permalink) Old 08-26-2010, 06:07 PM
 
 
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Cool pictures! Thanks for posting them, 68 Imp. Big Dave, Holy cow, six L-88 motors in one car!? Bet you wish you still had that Motion Camaro. I bet that car/motor(s) has a cool story of its' own too! I would enjoy hearing it. I know it's not an Impala, but I don't think anybody would be offended if you posted the story and pictures of your Motion Camaro here in the Bench Racing forum, especially since you are the Godfather and Elderstatesman of this forum. I've always enjoyed the stories as told by the car guys who were there and lived through the 1960's. I only lived through half the 1960's, and the closest thing I would have been to a new 1968 Motion or Yenko Camaro would have been a redline Hot Wheels car.

Last edited by 1969CustomCoupe; 08-26-2010 at 06:26 PM.
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post #9 of 24 (permalink) Old 08-28-2010, 11:58 PM Thread Starter
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Amen to that, 69CC! I was in diapers when all of this was going on! But the first and second hand stories are so cool!
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post #10 of 24 (permalink) Old 08-29-2010, 06:01 PM
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in 1967 I was 17 a senior in high school, I had a 63 SS 327 4sp impala nice car. I pull in my driveway after school one day, and my best friend is working on a plain jane 67 camaro.my buddy was 2 years older and he was working on this dog dish hub caps plain jane----427 motion camaro--needles to say the guy who owned the car won many street races, oh! his father was a criminal defence lawyer for the BOYS..lotta money......the good ol days...so dave what kind of times did you turn back then....we all want to know
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post #11 of 24 (permalink) Old 08-29-2010, 06:12 PM
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It is so weird that with the history and significance of Yenko that some uber rich car nut hasn't bought the building yet.

Ape Out.

Make: Chevrolet
Model: Impala Custom
Year: 1969
Doors: 2
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post #12 of 24 (permalink) Old 08-29-2010, 08:04 PM Thread Starter
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My thoughts exactly Lawerence, I'm looking into what needs to be done to register that site as Historical. Pensylvania has good laws for things like that so at least it will be protected somewhat. I seen it in my home town of Philly back when. I like to get the word out to those uber rich car nuts!
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post #13 of 24 (permalink) Old 08-29-2010, 08:55 PM
 
 
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I recall reading an article about Yenko a few years ago, and there was a sidebar to the article that explained that the dealership or the storage lot, I don't recall which, was built on a site that had previously stored nuclear waste, and the site was contaminated etc and declared a toxic hazzard by the EPA... If I can find the article again in my magazine collection, I'll scan it and post it here, FWIW.
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post #14 of 24 (permalink) Old 08-29-2010, 09:07 PM
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Could Dave's block be in this picture? Likely. Apparently, Yenko did not have many blocks cast...


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post #15 of 24 (permalink) Old 08-29-2010, 10:25 PM Thread Starter
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@ 69--- If it is a dump site it's the good kind cause' everyone there is friendly and the water taste's good too!
I'm surprised at the quality response's this thread is getting and he did not even make a Yenko Impala ( as far as we know )!
I can just imagine the response at our team Chevelle/Camaro sites!
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post #16 of 24 (permalink) Old 08-30-2010, 06:02 AM
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Actually Don was a road racer and got into building engines because of his desire to race. His car of choice the Corvair, which had IFS long before the Corvette and the Corbvette even used parts off the Corvair in their design for the C2 'vette. He was approached by that other loosely organized group of road racers that meet at the local burger joint on Friday night to build motors for them. That is why he asked Chevy to do the heavy lifting for him as he was building over five hundred motors a year for street racers in the Northeast. He convinced Vince Piggins he could sell five hundred Camaro's a year with the 427 as a COPO order based upon, and verified by the number of transplants he was doing in his shop and at Berger Chevrolet. (I bought two of those 500 L-88 service motors in 1969)

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post #17 of 24 (permalink) Old 08-30-2010, 09:03 AM
 
 
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Hey Big Dave, Just curious, how much money did a new L-88 engine sell for back then? I'm guessing $1,500 to $1,800. How far off am I?
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post #18 of 24 (permalink) Old 08-30-2010, 09:38 AM
 
 
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Hey, 68Imp, I know I didn't dream this contaminated site thing up. This time I followed the WIKI link that 1968 Caprice 396 had posted with the old picture he posted above and I then drilled deeper into the link and clicked on Canonsburg, and there is a section that described Canonsburg as "The Most Radioactive Town in America" due to radium refining and uraniumn ore processed there that was ultimately used in the Manhatten Project. The article goes on the discuss the $48M site clean up and clean up of 163 nearby properties. I'm sure it's a very nice Western PA town. Maybe, I'll make a roadtrip there this fall on a fall color tour. It looks like a 2-1/2 hour drive from me. Dave
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canonsb..._in_America.22

Last edited by 1969CustomCoupe; 08-30-2010 at 11:25 AM.
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post #19 of 24 (permalink) Old 08-30-2010, 11:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1969CustomCoupe View Post
Hey Big Dave, Just curious, how much money did a new L-88 engine sell for back then? I'm guessing $1,500 to $1,800. How far off am I?
Closer to a $1,000 bucks each plus shipping directly from Chevy for closed chamber iron heads; but Don was charging for a blueprinted engine built out of the special Tannawanda block, with the new open chamber aluminum heads it weighed in closer to $2,300 each (stll half the price of a ZL-1 that a local road racer wanted to sell to me back then). Still had to throw away the distributor and intake manifold as I didn't use either.

Buy two crate motors and you have two 850 double pumpers for the top of your tunnel ram; but that was a bit much for a 427. So I bought myself two 660 center squirters to put on top, and sold the 850 carbs to my customers to put on their cars because obvioulsy a Yenko tuned carb will be faster than theirs (at least in their eys anyway).

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post #20 of 24 (permalink) Old 08-30-2010, 08:02 PM Thread Starter
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@ 69 Dave--Im not saying it did'nt happen, I'm saying that after all these years there was nothing mentioned or hinted from the ol' timers in the area. I'll probably be back there in a few. Thanks for the read!
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post #21 of 24 (permalink) Old 08-30-2010, 08:40 PM
 
 
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Big Dave, Thanks for the insite to the Yenko L-88 package and pricing info. I imagine that $2,300 was a fairly large chunk of cash in the 1969 time frame, considering that $4000 got you a nice, complete big block Chevy powered car back then. But what a deal with aluminum heads and the good block and all. Wow! I'm sure you had fun with it! Any pics?
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post #22 of 24 (permalink) Old 08-30-2010, 09:32 PM Thread Starter
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Yes Dave pics!
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post #23 of 24 (permalink) Old 08-30-2010, 11:19 PM
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I have only two faded polaroids of the car my brother took as I didn't own a camera and spent every waking moment at either work or wrenching. I was employed 48 hours a week as a deputy sheriff pulling down $21,700 a year back then (which was about six grand more than my father was making at the time). I was also putting myself through engineering school taking classes on the three days a weekl I didn't work, or race, or build motors. So there was no time for girls (didn't get married until I was over thirty) or taking pictures. Only reason I can remember half the cars I had is I wrote down a breif description of each car and attached the keys to a master key ring and drove the car with a hardware store copiy of the original keys.

I still have the key ring with all of the old keys and ID tags on it.

Big Dave

Last edited by Big Dave; 08-31-2010 at 12:18 AM.
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post #24 of 24 (permalink) Old 08-30-2010, 11:49 PM Thread Starter
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Memories fade but keys won't!
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