Solved on Sunday: Supercars (Yenko and ZL1 Camaros) and Superman

(Editor’s note: In conjunction with Road Ready Inspections, we offer this space each week so you can ask questions about your classic car or about the hobby in general. Submit your questions in the comments below and we’ll do our best to answer them! )

Question, What’s the difference between a 1969 Yenko Camaro and a 1969 ZL1 Camaro? Ferry F.

Answer

Ferry, you have just rocketed to my new best friend status. Anybody that can put both of those muscle monsters into the same sentence I feel compelled to buy a beer! Generally speaking, a grown man running around the room screaming “woo hoo would be weird and inappropriate but now that I am doing just that, it all seems just fine.

Now that I have composed myself, let me share with you. Having owned and restored a very specific and notorious COPO Camaro, I know a bit about this subject. The first bit of information is to understand the term COPO Camaro.

COPO is an acronym for Central Office Production Order. This is a little secret office within Chevrolet Motor Division (sort of like Area 51) that two dealers worked over to convince Chevrolet that they needed to install 427-cubic-inch engines into the Camaro in 1969. Chevrolet had thrown down an edict years earlier that it would never install a big block in a Camaro, ever. Until two Chevy dealers, Don Yenko and Fred Gibb showed up. And their COPO Camaros became the hottest commodities on the drag strip.

The short answer (All 16 pages of the long answer was edited out by my editor):

cam21969 Yenko Camaro–L72, 427-cid, 450-horsepower, all-steel block and cylinder head engine. Part of the notorious group of cars known as the COPO Camaros. There were 201 cars special-ordered and produced specifically for Yenko Chevrolet in Cannonsburg, Pennsylvania. These cars had special colors, graphics and fiberglass hoods designed by Don Yenko for distinctive styling. Special note: 427 Yenko Camaros also were built in 1967 and 1968 at the Yenko Chevrolet Dealership, not at the Chevrolet factory.

cam11969 ZL1 Camaro–ZL1, 427-cid, 435-horsepower, all-aluminum engine that was originally developed for the Chevrolet Chaparral Can-Am racing program. Another part of the notorious group of cars known as the COPO Camaros. There were a total of 69 ZL1 Camaros built. Fifth of those cars were special-ordered and produced specifically for Fred Gibb Chevrolet in LeHarpe, Illinois . He is considered to be the father and chief instigator of the ZL1 Camaro. The reality was that the ZL1 was built by Chevrolet and intended solely for professional drag racers on the NHRA circuit to dominate the big-block pony car class.

Ironically, the Yenko rated at 450 hp was higher than the ZL1 engine rated with 435. However, on the track it was clear the ZL1 possessed well in excess of 500 hp. It crushed the Yenko and everything else.

Can I get a “woo hoo!”

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Question, On the “Adventures of Superman,” George Reeves and Lois Lane drives a car I am unfamiliar with. It is a 4-door convertible. The door frames are complete. The top is never shown up. It looks like the roof slides up between the frame. It never stands still long enough to get a good look. Thanks, RRB

Answer

rr1Well RRB, having never seen the television show personally I was in a quandary for a moment. But then I summoned my super powers and realized that was of no use either.

Racking my brain I did recall seeing one Superman movie and Clark Kent was driving a 1953 Nash Healey which was nothing like you described. So far I am not helping you much as you can tell. But then it hit me like a ton of bricks. Superman….Nash….NOOOOOOOO!

RBB, have you ever looked at a baby for the first time and expected to see the cutest little thing ever? But too late, as soon as you laid eyes on it, you realized it was the ugliest thing you have ever seen? And now that visual will remain etched in your mind forever. Seared into your mind to eternity. That is your punishment for even thinking a baby could be ugly RBB.

Well, that’s what happened to me the first time I saw a 1950 Nash Rambler convertible. I will never forget that ugly car. Seared into my mind to eternity.

Barry Sig

 

2 thoughts on “Solved on Sunday: Supercars (Yenko and ZL1 Camaros) and Superman”

  1. why do you show junk yard wrecks as projects there parts cars that are over priced @@@ and that is just wrong what the heck

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