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Author Topic: Don Yenko and the Yenko Stormer Camaro  (Read 3195 times)
yenkomark
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« on: July 26, 2011, 08:21:04 PM »

    Recently I emailed Robert Barg thru a Canadian website for historic racing. I am researching a Yenko Stinger that was a prototype built to get Stingers  approved to race in Canada and sent to Mo Carter in Spring 1966. Warren Dernoshek and I bought the car , thinking it was for parts only, until we discovered paperwork in our posession that seemed to indicate GM involved in the project ! It was based on a Corvair built in Canada with the correct options, then driven to Canonsburg by a Mo Carter employee for conversion.The point of this posting is that in the course of researching its racing history, I discovered that the 67 Camaro Robert Barg bought from Mo may have been A Yenko Stormer, as it was listed that way in the entry for a 6 Hour race at St, Jovite , Oct. 66. Co-driven by Dave Covey, the Carter employee who was involved in the Stinger prototype. Our records indicate 2 red/ white stripe Z 28 in inventory for Stormers , but Warren can account for only one later. Another piece of a mystery.    Mark Gillespie
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RUNUTZ
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« Reply #1 on: July 26, 2011, 08:35:17 PM »

Mark


   Glad to see you stopped lurking.


Tim
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Jon Mello
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« Reply #2 on: August 03, 2011, 09:46:38 AM »

Mark, Mo Carter did use the term "Stormer" in some of his advertising. I have an Mo Carter ad somewhere in my files that says Stormer. I always wondered why he had used that term when Don Yenko was already using it. I knew Mo had raced a '66 Corvair that may have started some association between Mo and Don but I have never been able to determine if there was a true business relationship between the two or if it was informal or even non-existant. I'd love to hear more if you and Warren can dig up more details. If I am remembering correctly, I don't think Mo ever called anything a "Yenko Stormer", I think it was Z-28 Stormer.
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Jon Mello
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yenkomark
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« Reply #3 on: August 06, 2011, 04:25:44 PM »

  Jon.... Mo Carter's dealership, City Chevrolet - Oldsmobile was being set up in April 1966 to be the Yenko Sportscars dealer in Canada. The Stinger that I am restoring appears to have been the prototype built (  with GM influence ) to be inspected by Canadian Sports Car Club to make the cars legal to race in Canada. Mo was to be the outlet for all Yenko cars in Canada, funneling the cars to other dealers  across the country as well.  The high import taxes which Mo had to deal with on the 1966 Stingers were revoked for 1967, making importing the cars easier .However, I don't think much ever came of the idea , other than Don And Mo becoming friends.
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Jon Mello
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« Reply #4 on: August 06, 2011, 05:02:09 PM »

Thanks, Mark. I had made that assumption based more on circumstantial evidence but it's nice to have more concrete evidence to that effect, which I know Warren has in his files. There was another red '67 Z-28 that came through Yenko Chevrolet that I don't think has been accounted for in Warren's files as of yet. This is the car that was drag raced under ownership of Ollie Volpe and drive at various times by Tony Pizzi, Dick Moroso and Ollie Volpe himself. I spoke with Ollie a few months ago because a red '67 Z sold new through Yenko in May '67 was recently found and I thought it might be his old drag car. It turns out it was not. Ollie says he had a very early model Z and said it may have been some kind of COPO delivery. He says he and Don Yenko were very involved with getting this car produced before the Z-28 was offered to the public. He only drag raced the car for a year and he and Don had a falling out in their partnership. He hasn't seen the car since the end of the '67 race season. I'm just wondering if Ollie's car is the one that might be the other red car you are talking about.
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Jon Mello
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JoeC
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« Reply #5 on: August 08, 2011, 08:11:14 AM »

I believe this is the early Z/28 (or Z striped Camaro) that Volpe/Pizzi had.
When I did some research on it years ago, I was told Pizzi has passed but had a shop and was a engine builder in PA and drag raced his own 302 Camaro in 1968.

It has Yenko SportsCars sponsorship so must be early in 1967 as Yenko had a drag racing deal with Dick Harrell in the Spring of 67.

I wonder if this was one of the early Z's Yenko had or if it was a built up Camaro with Z stripes
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Jon Mello
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« Reply #6 on: August 10, 2011, 02:14:19 PM »

Thanks for posting that photo, Joe. I was meaning to. You are correct about it being the Ollie Volpe car that I mentioned above. Ollie told me personally a couple of months ago that it was a real Z-28, that it was red, and that it was a car that he and Don Yenko ordered before the Z-28 had actually been released to the public. He thought it was some kind of special order or COPO car but there is no evidence to back that up at this time.

Yes, Tony Pizzi has passed away. Ollie says he was a very talented engine builder. Tony did run a white '68 Z on his own and was the '69 F/Stock National Class Champion with it, from my understanding.
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Jon Mello
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JoeC
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« Reply #7 on: August 11, 2011, 07:04:23 AM »

Tony's 302 Camaro

I was told it was built from a insurance recovery stripped Camaro probably not a Z

interesting its striped even on the roof !
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Hot302
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« Reply #8 on: June 03, 2012, 07:02:33 PM »

Hi Jon, That was a great write up in the June 2012 issue "Muscle Car Review". Some great photos too of the early cars. Hopefully down the road somewhere one of these "Stormer" cars will surface. Keep up the great work.

Rick
« Last Edit: June 24, 2012, 12:49:59 AM by Jon Mello » Logged

Rick
69 RS/Z28
No Stripes
Jon Mello
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« Reply #9 on: June 03, 2012, 09:00:30 PM »

Thanks, Rick. I appreciate the kind words and I agree that it would be nice to see one of the Yenko Stormers resurface after all these years.
« Last Edit: June 24, 2012, 12:50:40 AM by Jon Mello » Logged

Jon Mello
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Jon Mello
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« Reply #10 on: September 02, 2012, 12:50:28 AM »

Thanks to Tim Lopata for pointing out to me that the Yenko Stormer article has now been posted online at the www.hotrod.com website.
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Jon Mello
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« Reply #11 on: September 03, 2012, 11:14:40 AM »

Jon,

Wasn't it in Oct of 66 that the Z pilot car was built (or maybe two of them)?
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Jon Mello
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« Reply #12 on: September 03, 2012, 12:56:49 PM »

It was built in September. I have no idea what engine was put in the car as it came down the assembly line but it had a "high performance 283" engine in it when Vince Piggins showed it to Pete Estes at the GM Proving Ground on October 4th. It was there that Pete Estes approved the idea that a new 302 engine be used on the production Z-28. If I remember correctly, a 302 engine was built for the pilot car (aka "Press preview car") on or around October 11th. I believe there was only the one car prior to the Z entering production.
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Jon Mello
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« Reply #13 on: September 03, 2012, 10:56:40 PM »

That's what I remember too. And I agree, I think there was only one press car, despite the two license plates. The reason I asked was wondering if Don may have gotten a pilot car and not a COPO per say. Probably no way of knowing, just wondering out loud.
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Jon Mello
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« Reply #14 on: September 04, 2012, 01:46:22 PM »

Fred, as of right now I just don't have that information but it is something that I continue to look into as new information comes along. Thanks to Ollie Volpe I do have some information about the car itself that should help ID it if it shows up, but I do not possess knowledge of the VIN.
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Jon Mello
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