1968 Yenko Camaro YS 8011
a.k.a ” The Desert Rat”
In 1967 Don Yenko, along with Dick Harrell, Bill Thomas, Nickey Chevrolet and others changed the muscle car game forever with his creation of the Yenko 427 Super Camaro.
As an accomplished race driver and car enthusiast, Don Yenko wanted to create a car that would have optimal performance on and off the track. Taking a page out of Carroll Shelby’s book, Don began the transformation to the ever loved Chevy Camaro into a viable performance car, making every Camaro drag racer’s dream come true.
The popularity of the 1967 Yenko carried over to the 1968 model year with Don Yenko’s creation of the “Super Camaro”. Experts say Don only made approximately 65 of these L72 427-450 HP beauties, making this car very coveted and desirable to all Chevy lovers.
It has been reported that only 15-16 of these “Super Camaro’s” are in existence today, in turn making these 68 Yenko “Super Camaro’s” very rare, desirable and exclusive. What makes this car even more spectacular is its features.
It carries the Yenko number YS 8011 and was sold new through the Yenko dealership network at Jay Kline Chevrolet in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
YS 8011 was found in 2006 living in the upper desert of California where it slumbered for a little over 20 years before being woke up and nicknamed the ‘Desert Rat’ after a rat was found living in the trunk. The Desert Rat was found still wearing her original paint with stripe and Yenko emblems having survived.
The car was researched thoroughly before purchasing to verify it was ‘The Real Deal’. She still wore her original faded Fathom Blue paint (which helped because the trim tag had a — instead of a number for paint code meaning it was a special order paint car), original Special Order Magic Mirror Yenko trim tag, Yenko door jamb tag with Yenko serial number, original 140mph speedometer, original large front sway bar, all vins including hidden ones intact and more clues which sealed the deal. This car is on the Yenko vin list and shows up in several documents proving it’s lineage. Her vin matches the YS number, no issues here.
After she was pulled out and cleaned and documented, she was transported to Illinois for a complete makeover by well known restorer Rick Nelson at MuscleCar Restoration and Design, Inc. Finally it would get the attention it deserved. These special Camaro’s were ordered through the GM central office production order division which later came to be known as the COPO program.
For 1968 the 9737 COPO Camaro was only available to Don Yenko and in fact Yenko was considered the manufacturer for these 68 Yenko Camaro’s. Most people tend to think the high performance aspect of the COPO program hit its stride in 1969? However this #9737 COPO package was added in 1968 as per Don Yenko’s request to RPO L78 SS Camaro’s that were equipped with the 396 CID/375 HP big blocks.
The COPO 9737 designation added for 1968 cooling, suspension and brake upgrades along with a 140 MPH speedometer, heavy duty springs, larger anti roll bar, M-21 close ratio 4 speed transmission and a 4.10 posi rear differential. These 9737 COPO 1968 Camaro’s were delivered from Chevrolet to Cannonsburg with the RPO (regular production order) L78 396/375 HP engines. Yenko’s mechanics then removed the L78 396 engine and installed a L72 427 short block.
The original L78 396 heads, aluminum intake and carb were then installed on the 427 short block. Yenko also added Pontiac 14×6 rally II wheels with a special “Y” for Yenko in the center caps, wide oval red stripe tires and a unique fiberglass hood. Also added were Stewart Warner interior gauges and Yenko emblems along with 427 emblems on the exterior, and one Yenko emblem on the glove-box. To say this was a no expense sparred restoration would be a gross understatement.
Even though the restoration cost well into the 6 figures, it was the attention to detail by Rick and Ann at MCRD that sets this car apart. Only GM parts, NOS or restored, were used wherever possible. Noted painter Tom Scholtz poured his heart and soul into the paint and body work, and it shows.
Fast forward and in November 2011 she was ready to make her second debut since 1968. ’The Desert Rat’ was asked to be one of 5 special cars to be unveiled at the prestigious Muscle Car and Corvette Nationals in Chicago Illinois. None other then Dr. Lynn Yenko Zoiopoulos, Don Yenko’s daughter was on hand to help with the cover being pulled back for the 1st time since the work was done. The look on people’s faces was evidence of the job that MCRD did on this fine car. She took the Gold in 2011 and returned to MCACN in 2012 and scored 992 out of 1000 points to take Gold again and a sponsors trophy as well.
This car has on and off trailer miles only and is ready to compete in any concourse or judged event. Coming out of a private collection, this is a rare opportunity to own this painstakingly restored example of Muscle Car Royalty.
$500,000.00 or trades considered.