7. Yenko Chevrolet
To explain Yenko’s role in muscle car popularity in the 60’s, it is best to describe it as Chevrolet’s answer to Shelby American. The Yenko family started a Chevrolet dealership in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania in 1949. However, in late 50’s when Don Yenko started managing the business, the company slowly turned to the performance car market. They started with a series of race-prepared Corvettes Don raced himself. Then they worked with full conversion jobs they based on various Chevrolet models.
The first Yenko model was the Corvair Stinger which they introduced in 1966. It was a tuned version of the Chevrolet Corvair Monza coupe. However, it had more power, a better suspension and sharper handling. The Stinger even had success on the race tracks, turning the attention of the performance car public to the Yenko dealership. With Chevy’s introduction of the Camaro in 1967, Yenko started converting them to 427 V8 power. They sold Camaros as Yenko Super Cars.
In addition to more power, wild graphics and a long list of optional extras, Yenko offered a factory warranty. They also heavily promoted their models. That is why Yenko Camaros were the most popular choice if you wanted a custom 427 V8 conversion on your regular SS. Besides Camaros, Yenko produced Chevelles, Novas and Vegas.
They all came with their signature stripes and crazy visual packages. Don Yenko would still build his powerful Chevrolets; however, he tragically died in an airplane accident in 1987.