Yenko Reunion – Past, Present & Future – July 15/16, 2017
THE PVGP WILL HOST THE YENKO SPORTSCAR REUNION AT SCHENLEY PARK AGAIN IN 2017
The Yenko Sports Car Reunion is coming back to Pittsburgh with a special display of Yenko Camaro’s, Chevelle’s, Nova’s, Corvair Stingers and some racing Corvettes. A special tent will be located on the 18th hole of the Schenley Park Golf Course during our International Car Show on the July 15/16 Race Weekend .
Yenko Chevrolet was one of largest custom muscle car shops of the late 1960s and early 1970s. Don Yenko, son of the dealership founder, starting selling specially ordered and equipped Corvairs in 1965 and called them Yenko Stingers. In 1966, Don Yenko was impressed enough with the Corvair’s handling, and received SCCA approval of the Corsa model for racing. The sanctioning body approved the cars with back seat removed and upgrades to the engine increasing horsepower and torque. In 1966 100 models received certification were all painted white with blue striping. The legend began.
When the Camaro entered the pony car fray in 1967, Yenko transplanted Chevrolet’s 427 cubic inch 425 horsepower L-72 engine along with other high-performance parts and created the Yenko Camaro. The cars were so popular that, in 1969, Yenko used Chevy’s Central Office Production Order (COPO) system to have L-72 engines installed into Chevrolet Camaro’s, Chevelle’s, and Nova’s on the factory assembly lines. In 1971 Yenko sold the Chevrolet Vega Yenko Stinger II with a modified aluminum-block 2.3 with a turbocharger and 155 hp.
Another famous Pittsburgh corporation, Gulf Oil, was intimately involved with the success of Yenko’s racing program. Gulf bought their first racing Corvettes from Don Yenko and sponsored his Corvette team through 1966.
The high performance and limited production of all Yenko-modified cars makes them valuable and prized to collectors. We’re proud to host the Yenko Reunion right in Don Yenko’s backyard.
The Reunion is hosted by Mark Gillespie, who along with Donna Mae Mims and Warren Dernoshek wrote the “The Yenko Era”. According to Mark, “Fact, fiction, myth, fable. All of these words could be used to describe the history of Yenko Sports Cars. Begun in nearby Canonsburg, the cars produced by this offshoot of the family owned Yenko Chevrolet have become the most prized cars of the Muscle car Era, and have developed a nearly cult like following.” Mark Gillespie and Warren Dernoshek will be at the Grand Prix signing copies of their book.
Donna Mae is a legend as a racer, a Yenko employee during their heyday and as a PVGP race side volunteer. Donna was the SCCA national champion in 1963 racing her pink Austin-Healey Sprite. She also raced in the inaugural Cannonball Run in 1972 as part of an all women’s team that was later featured in the movie – her part was played by Adrienne Barbeau! Click to see the Vintage Motorsport Magazine article or the 1964 Saturday Evening Post story – fascinating reading about a fascinating lady.
Cost & Location
All Yenko cars will be displayed under a large tent that will hold 20 cars. Yenko owners must register with Mark Gillespie, cost is $200 per car and includes weekend parking, lunch, plaque and special gift.
The Yenko Era…..Continued Canonsburg & Beyond
Dedicated to Donna Mae Mims “Pink Lady of Racing”
By Mark Gillespie
“When Donna Mae, Warren Dernoshek and I were putting “The Yenko Era” together in 2005, we agreed that it was much like assembling a family scrapbook. Everybody contributes a little, photos, letters, stories…whatever they remember.
We attempted to give the reader an accurate picture of how things were really done and introduced them to a few of the people involved in the Yenko operation in Canonsburg. As well received as the book has been….copies have been sold all over the world…I always felt that there was more to be told.
Warren and I (Donna Mae passed on several years ago after an extraordinary life of accomplishment) have been diligently working on a sequel. Its publication has been delayed several times due to my dissatisfaction with its content. Every time I felt it was ready to go, I would discover something else in my archives that should be added.
Many Yenko fans have wondered what happened after the high times of the muscle cars of the 60’s and early 70’s. Certainly the Yenko operation assumed a lower profile, but did not disappear altogether. Don was always searching for new performance projects to recapture past glory.
Yenko Chevrolet / Yenko Sportscars was an intriguing collection of personalities and abilities.”