Su­per­car Col­lectibles 1967 Yenko Ca­maro

Road and Race Ver­sions of the Orig­i­nal Su­per Ca­maro

Die Cast X - - OUT OF THE BOX -

They had to thread a nee­dle by mak­ing the Ca­maro faster than a Mus­tang but not quite as fast as a Corvette. This was fur­ther re­in­forced by a GM cor­po­rate edict in place that de­creed no GM model smaller than full-size could have an en­gine larger than 400 cu­bic inches—ex­cept the Corvette. That meant that the Ca­maro’s top fac­tory-en­gine op­tion would be the 375hp 396—deemed more than suf­fi­cient to counter the 325hp 390 that was the 1967 Mus­tang’s most for­mi­da­ble op­tion. But of course, Ford had Shelby, which in­tro­duced the GT500 in 1967—stuffed with Ford’s 428 Po­lice In­ter­cep­tor big block that made an es­ti­mated 400hp. For­tu­nately for Chevy fans, they had Don Yenko.

The Canons­burg, Penn­syl­va­nia, Chevy dealer had been in busi­ness since 1949, and as a drag racer him­self in the 1950s, Yenko opened a per­for­mance shop at­tached to the deal­er­ship and de­vel­oped a rep­u­ta­tion as a go-to source for go-fast parts for the bowtie brand. But it was the in­tro­duc­tion of the Ca­maro in 1967 that el­e­vated the Yenko name around the world. Know­ing that all the Chevy big blocks shared the

As most fans know, the Ca­maro was in­tro­duced to counter the run­away sales suc­cess of Ford’s Mus­tang. Chevro­let’s top brass wanted to best their crosstown ri­vals, but they were wary of threat­en­ing the sta­tus of their Corvette as the pin­na­cle of Chevy per­for­mance.

same ar­chi­tec­ture, di­men­sions, and ac­ces­sories, Yenko fig­ured he could order a bunch of 396 Ca­maros, con­vert them in his shop by swap­ping in the 427 cu­bic-inch L72 from the Corvette, and sell the Ca­maro that Chevy should have made from the fac­tory! The in­stal­la­tions were pro­fes­sion­ally done and so pris­tine they even looked fac­tory—ex­cept for the sticker on the open-el­e­ment air cleaner that an­nounced this Ca­maro had 450hp! And as a race-prep shop, Yenko also added head­ers, up­rated ig­ni­tion, and var­i­ous other tweaks to many cars to make them even more for­mi­da­ble. Vis­ually, they re­ceived spe­cial Yenko badges and a “Stinger” hood pat­terned af­ter the 1967 Corvette’s. And with that, the Yenko Su­per Ca­maro was born.

In much the same way that Yenko was known as the go-to source for spe­cial­ist Chevy mus­cle, so Su­per­car Col­lectibles is known in the world of diecast mus­cle cars. They carry fac­tory mod­els from all the ma­jor brands, but some of their most in­ter­est­ing are their own cre­ations: ex­clu­sive lim­ited edi­tions of mus­cle and race cars that fill gaps in the of­fer­ings avail­able from the big man­u­fac­tur­ers. One such gap was the first-year Yenko Ca­maro, so they con­tracted with Acme Trad­ing Com­pany to use the Lane/Ex­act De­tail tool­ing to pro­duce three ver­sions of the ’67 Yenko: street cars in Ma­rina Blue and Madeira Ma­roon as well as a race-prepped Ma­roon car. Each will be avail­able in a lim­ited run of just 198 cars. I got a chance to preview the blue street car and ma­roon race car prior to re­lease, and here’s what I found.

The Ex­act De­tail Ca­maro tool­ing has been around a long time, but its pro­por­tions re­main among the best ever of­fered in 1:18. The panel gaps

aren’t quite as tight as they would be on a brand-new tool, but for my money, this is still the stan­dard. The Ma­rina Blue paint is gor­geous, with a su­perfine metal­lic sheen that prac­ti­cally glows and picks up ev­ery high­light. There are some slight ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties on the foil that forms the bor­der on the sim­u­lated vinyl top, which I likely at­tribute to this sam­ple’s pre­pro­duc­tion sta­tus, but oth­er­wise the fin­ish is first-rate. The ma­roon car’s paint is just as well ex­e­cuted, and since it is not a vinyl top, there are no such foil is­sues. Both cars have the Rally Sport op­tion, with its hid­den head­light grille, and each has a finely pin­striped “SS” stripe on the nose and del­i­cately etched scripts and badges on the nose, flanks, and rear va­lence. Both cars have what ap­pear to be hood pin/twist locks, but the de­tail on them lags be­hind the rest of the trim. Oth­er­wise, the Stinger hoods are as spot-on as the rest of the car.

The doors open nice and wide, and the hinges re­main firm but are old-school dog­leg style. Both cars have ’67-only tri­an­gle wing win­dows, and they fit pretty flush to the A-pil­lars.

The de­tail on the in­te­ri­ors is quite good, although the black color makes it a chal­lenge to see fully in pho­tos. Yenko did rel­a­tively lit­tle in terms of overt mod­i­fi­ca­tion in­side to cre­ate its Su­per Ca­maros, but it did add a Ste­wart Warner tach and sup­ple­men­tal gauges. Those are not present on the mod­els. Such an op­tion might plau­si­bly have been left off the street car, but it re­ally should be on the drag car. The fac­tory gauges are present and ac­counted for, and the de­tail on them is ex­cel­lent, in­clud­ing the chrome bezels around the pri­mary clus­ter. The hinges on the bucket seats are chrome too, and they are func­tional, al­low­ing the seats to pitch for­ward. The trunks open as well, and in­side is a full-size spare red­line on top of a trunk mat; there’s even a fu­elfiller neck go­ing from the cen­ter­mounted gas cap down into the tank be­low the trunk floor.

Hoist­ing that Stinger hood re­veals the heart of the Yenko trans­for­ma­tion: the L72 427. It wears chrome valve cov­ers, a tall chrome open-el­e­ment air cleaner, and an alu­minum in­take man­i­fold. There is a set of plug wires of ac­cu­rate-scale gauge and a nicely painted mas­ter cylin­der. There’s even a wiper-fluid reser­voir molded into the left fender, with the fluid level painted into it. The

only things no­tably miss­ing are the fender-to-ra­di­a­tor hous­ing braces at the for­ward cor­ners of the en­gine bay. All the req­ui­site de­cals and warn­ing la­bels—both fac­tory and Yenko add-ons—are present. Both the race car and the street car ap­pear largely the same, with the ex­cep­tion of the ex­haust. The blue car has fac­tory-style cast-iron man­i­folds, while the race car sub­sti­tutes long-tube head­ers, which stretch be­low the car and ter­mi­nate at the trans­mis­sion brace, whereas the street car has a full-length dual ex­haust sys­tem.

While we’re un­der the cars ad­mir­ing the real­ism of the ex­haust set­ups, let’s also take note of the sus­pen­sions. The blue car has a stock setup, while the race car in­cludes race-style mono-leaf springs and trac­tion bars. Those sus­pen­sions match the wheel and tire choices as well. The street car wears red­line tires mounted on very nice At­las 5-spoke wheels with ar­gent cen­ters, which were a com­mon op­tion on later-year Yenkos. The race car wears an­other clas­sic wheel brand: Cra­gar. These chrome 5-spokes wear su­per­skinny bias-ply tires up front and wide slicks out back.

FI­NAL THOUGHTS

Yenko is one of most sto­ried names in Chevy mus­cle car lore, built largely on the strength— and speed—of its tuned 1967–69 Ca­maros. But far from just some hot-rod shop ham­mer­ing out half-baked hop-ups, Yenko prod­ucts were fully sorted and pro­fes­sion­ally built, with re­fine­ment that ri­valed fac­tory of­fer­ings—which has made them the most pres­ti­gious Chevy tuner of the era. The ’67 Ca­maro is re­ally the car that el­e­vated Yenko to the next level. The his­toric sig­nif­i­cance, the per­for­mance, and the aes­thetic ap­peal all com­bine to make this a tremen­dous col­lec­tor piece. I love the fact that Su­per­car Col­lectibles has cho­sen to do both a stock street ver­sion and a race ver­sion. With less than 200 of each sched­uled for pro­duc­tion us­ing the ever­green Lane tool­ing, there’s no way these won’t sell out. If you have to have one (or all three), you’d bet­ter act quickly.

THE HIS­TORIC SIG­NIF­I­CANCE, THE PER­FOR­MANCE, AND THE AES­THETIC AP­PEAL ALL COM­BINE TO MAKE THIS A TREMEN­DOUS COL­LEC­TOR PIECE.

YENKO PROD­UCTS WERE FULLY SORTED AND PRO­FES­SION­ALLY BUILT, WITH RE­FINE­MENT THAT RI­VALED FAC­TORY OF­FER­INGS—WHICH HAS MADE THEM THE MOST PRES­TI­GIOUS CHEVY TUNER OF THE ERA.

The most overt cos­metic change to the Yenko cars was the in­stal­la­tion of a Corvette-style “Stinger” hood with a “427” en­gine call­out on the side of the scoop.

The in­te­ri­ors of the two cars are iden­ti­cal, and the de­tail is quite good. I like the chrome bezels on the in­stru­ments and the fold­ing deluxe bucket seats, but I wish the model had in­cluded the Ste­wart Warner tach and sup­ple­men­tal gauge panel.

The L72 427 out of the Corvette was the heart of the Yenko trans­for­ma­tion. The model has scale-gauge plug wires and all the ap­pro­pri­ate badges and la­bels.

Etched badges and scripts adorn the nose, flanks, and rear va­lence. Both are RS/SS cars, so they have the nose stripe and hide­away head­lamps.

The big­gest dif­fer­ence be­tween the street and drag cars lies un­der­neath. The road car (above) has the stock ex­haust man­i­folds, full dual ex­haust, and tra­di­tional leaf-spring sus­pen­sion, while the drag car (be­low) has open head­ers, mono-leaf springs, and trac­tion bars.

Each ver­sion has ap­pro­pri­ate wheels and tires. The street car has red­line tires mounted on 5-spoke At­las wheels with ar­gent cen­ters. The drag car rides on chrome Cra­gars, with skin­nies up front and slicks in back.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.