1968 Super Camaro returns to owner
George Edwards married Miss Carol Vishnesky on July 6, 1968. They intended to make a honeymoon drive in their new car from Scranton, Pennsylvania, to Niagara Falls, then down to the Atlantic shore, making a stop at Maryland’s Cecil County Dragway as part of the excursion. They had big dreams and a great relationship, which have kept them together to this day.
This 1968 Yenko Super Camaro is the car they bought new and took on their honeymoon. It replaced his Corvette, which did not seem to be super-practical as a family car as the big day approached.
“We were drag racing on the street almost every night, fre- quently racing our small-block Corvette,” George recalls. “We really wanted to be able to run with the big boy’s toys, so when I heard that Roy Stauffer’s Chevrolet in Scranton had two 427 Camaros, I couldn’t wait to get a look. I never heard of Yenko and didn’t really care who he was. All I knew was that it had a 427 stuffed under the hood. The purchase proved to be just what the doctor ordered, with Carol in the passenger’s seat calling off the numbers. We beat everything—big-block Corvettes, Hemi cars, GTOs, and the list goes on.”
Their honeymoon trip included a stop at “the Traction Capitol of the East,” as Cecil was known back then. In the pits, George parked next to some guy named Jenkins that day; the NHRA-legal
Grumpy’s Toy RS/SS drag car was also on hand making laps, and the Grump was there driving.
During the following couple of years, George made his Yenko a little quicker. He moved up into Modified Production with a monster hoodscoop and tunnel-ram. The rear also had 5.13 gears, which Carol learned to deal with as she made her way to the laundromat and such, as this was their daily driver. When family responsibilities grew, they sold the car for more practical wheels. It went to a local performance fan who never did much with it. Some of the parts that had come off the car, such as the original hood, were tucked away for safekeeping.
Like many people, George never lost his love for cars and did some restorations for fun, including a real 1937 coffin-nose Cord 812. Meanwhile he made occasional inquiries about the old “green machine” stored in a garage not far from home. Finally he was able to bring it back into the fold, a little worse for wear.
Those who know 1968 Yenkos will tell you they are not simple cars to restore. George tackled it head-on, but as he began his work, he realized it needed to be done right. He called Brian Henderson and Joe Swezey at Super Car Workshop in Latrobe, at the other end of Pennsylvania near Pittsburgh.
Brian says, “George called the shop and left a message that he had a car for us to do. He didn’t say it was a Yenko, so we were pretty excited to hear that when I called him back. It was in pieces,
“I never heard of Yenko and didn’t really care who he was”
but everything was there.”
“During my hunt for a pair of N.O.S. front fenders, the guy told me about Super Car Workshop and the cars they had restored,” says George. “Thanks to the internet, I was able to see the cars that they’d restored and the awards they’d won. I gave them a call. A few days later the crew arrived to inspect what I had, and after our meeting I was convinced they should be the ones to bring my Yenko back to its former glory. I did a lot of the missing parts hunting, and over the course of the restoration we have become very good friends.”
It is very uncommon to have an original owner involved who remembers details, let alone directs the project with a realistic understanding of cost and a willingness to chase the small things that make a difference. For instance, he helped answer a mystery about the hood opening.
“George had all the original pieces for the car. The hard stuff was there,” recalls Brian. “So I said to him as we looked at it, ‘I know this is an original hood because the real ones all have this provision for a bolt on the underside, but I’m not sure what it was for.’
“George said, ‘When I bought the car, there was a panel in the trunk that had a decal on it that said For Winter Use. It was a block-off plate. I think Yenko may have had the hood supplier do those.’
“At any rate, that plate was gone, and
“In the pits, George parked next to some guy named Jenkins”
nobody we know has an original one, but we were able to locate a photograph showing it and fabricated one for this car. George himself says it’s what the original one looked like. In fact, those same images showed a new Rallye Green Yenko Camaro that, based on the timeframe, is in all likelihood the same car that George and Carol Edwards bought in 1968.”
After its near half-century journey and two years of labor, the car was unveiled at MCACN in 2015 to great acclaim. The Edwards have shown it extensively in the past three years.
“With only a few visits to their shop and photos from Brian of the restoration progress to view, it was a real emotional experience seeing our car in a condition better than when we picked it up at Stauffer’s in 1968,” says George. “Words cannot describe our feelings. We were in tears seeing the car for the first time. It sure brought back a lot of great memories for us both.”
Brian says, “You know what made this one so fun? Carol and George Edwards had such great stories about the car’s history. It made us feel like we were part of the family. That doesn’t happen very often. George would sometimes even drive over once in a while just to see how it was going; we enjoy his friendship. For Joe and I and the crew here, this was a fun car to do.”
n Under the hood, the Yenko shop added a 427-inch L72 short-block to override the GM 400ci displacement limit. The cars were delivered as standard SS396 L78 models equipped with the COPO 9737 Sports Car Conversion equipment. The top of the engine was...
n Brian Henderson and his Super Car Workshop crew rarely get to work with original owners, and George was able to answer their question of what went into the threaded opening on the rear of the scoop. n The hole was for a cold-weather block-off plate....
n The stock interior was all business in this car, without a center console and featuring some of the upgrades that Yenko added for driving use. n Don Yenko’s road-racing background caused him to select high-quality monitoring accessories like the...
n The Camaro’s restyling for 1968 resulted in a classic look, but it became notorious when Don Yenko added his touches, which included the 427 callouts on the front fenders and Yenko badging on the rear panel.