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Barn Find Inheritance: Corvair Yenko Stinger

Don Yenko was an American racecar driver and car dealer who became famous for creating the Yenko Camaro S/C 427 and other high-performance cars. His earliest effort in that arena was the Yenko Stinger which saw as few as 115 copies built over four years. This is one of them, likely a 1966 edition, which was recently pulled from a barn or garage after being inherited by its new owner. It currently resides in Fairlawn, Ohio, and will soon be up for sale. Some of what we can deduce about this find can be seen here on Facebook. Thanks for this interesting tip, Steve Clinton.

In 1957, Yenko set up a performance shop at the family’s Chevrolet dealership in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania. Customers could either order high-performance parts to do their own work or have their cars modified by Yenko’s mechanics. The first popular aftermarket car made by Yenko was a modified second-generation Corvair named “The Stinger” due to its many upgrades, including those to the engine that could increase output from 140 hp stock to 240. Other changes included body accessories and tinkering with the steering, transmission, and suspension components.

The Stingers found themselves competing against the likes of the Shelby Mustang in SCCA and – to qualify – Yenko had to complete 100 cars before a 1/1/66 deadline imposed by the governing body. Estimates differ between 115 and 185 of the Stingers being built in total. That means there’s a fair chance that the new owner, Robert Sweatman, is now in possession of one of those earlier productions. He began with factory copies delivered by Chevrolet that were all painted Ermine White and were the Corsa model with 4-speed manual transmissions.

These cars all received a trio of blue stripes–a narrow line on each side of a fat band–that ran from the front, over the hood and roof, and then in the rear. They also had fiberglass sail panels installed over a portion of the windows to give The Stinger a slightly different aerodynamic profile. Each car received not one, but four Rochester carburetors and the horsepower ratings would grow with every change to stock that Yenko would make.

Work on the Yenko Stingers stopped in 1969 as Chevrolet discontinued the Corvair after 10 years and Yenko’s attention shifted to the new Camaro pony car so he could work his magic on Chevy’s 427 cubic inch V8. We don’t know the history of the owner’s “new-to-him” Stinger, but some time and money will probably be put into the car to get it running before offering it up for sale. What’s your best guess as to what a rare car like this could go for?

Comments

  1. Rw

    Bad Mah.

  2. bob

    It is just a corvair ,over size go cart

    Like 4
    • Rick

      Bob, look at what the Stingers raced against and check the prices

      Like 12
      • Michael Garner

        Considering how few of these are around, and not a knock off or tribute, this could bring a good chunk of change when it’s completed. I’d love to have this project.

        Like 4
    • Steve Clinton

      bob,
      You’re showing your bias, or knowledge (or lack of).

      Like 25
    • Eric

      SCCA Champion in its division. Head out to a vintage race track to see what 240 Horsepower can do when it only has to push 2100 pounds.

      Like 16
  3. Mike Stillwell

    Where to begin…. Not all Yenko Stingers came with Fiberglass Decklids and Sail Panels. Some (estimated 12) 1966’s, including 2 of mine were sold with no exterior changes at all. There were approximately 190 Yenko Stinger tags issued. The 115 number is for Chevrolet COPO cars, but several others built converted at Yenko Chevrolet on non-COPO tubs.

    Like 5
  4. BlondeUXB Member

    Russ… is this for sale or are we just admiring the dust on someone’s dead relative’s car ?

    Like 9
    • Robert W Sweatman

      It’s mine and it’s for sale

  5. wayne Turner

    you can call this a overpriced go cart if you want. obviously, you don’t know much about corvairs.Yenko. if this car is real.
    it can bring a ton of money. this is a part of GM history you won’t come across often. maybe you should do some research. these cars can sell for upper 50S easy.

    Like 12
  6. mike

    Wonder why it has a roll bar installed?? These were nice cars.

    • bobhess bobhess Member

      A lot of these cars were raced in the ’60s and ’70s and this looks looks like one of them. SCCA required the same exact roll bar, seat belts, fire extinguisher, and fire proof suit and helmet for the driver. Several of the original cars are being raced at Vintage races today. We autocrossed our ’65 Monza and won a lot more events than we lost.

      Like 20
    • 19sixty5 Member

      The roll bar could have been installed at Yenko, they were available, or added by a previous owner. When the current owner updates with the Yenko tag number, we will be able to piece together the history of the car.

      Like 3
  7. Rw

    Really Mike do a search on Yenko Corvair.

    Like 18
  8. Cman

    That’s a valuable car. Pinnacle for Corvairs.
    I love to get my hands on it.

    Like 2
  9. Just Plain Bob

    That car needs to be back where it belongs: In the hands of a vintage racer. We get two or three on SVRA weekend at The Glen. If you’ve never been, I highly recommend it.

    Like 18
    • Tina

      Mike, It probably raced with SCCA and CVAR (Corinthian Vintage Association of Racers). Definitely a valuable car.

  10. Dominic

    Russ, I live in Barberton. Shoot me a message sometime!

  11. SMS

    This goes beyond a bucket list car. Remember watching one of these, a setup 240z, and a 914-6, going at it hammer and tongs at Laguna Seca. Was a track day and there were plenty of Porsche GT 3s out there getting their butts kicked by these three.

    Would love to have one

    Like 17
  12. Stan

    Coolest Corvair 👍

    Like 17
  13. 86_Vette_Convertible

    I remember these, along with other Yenko vehicles. It deserves to be on the track with wind in the hair.

    Like 10
  14. Vair Nut

    I grew up with Corvairs, and my Dads shop was graced with a few of these in my teens. The extra 100 HP really was a hoot!

    Like 11
  15. alphasud Member

    I saw the Facebook link was taken down as soon as I saw the posting. Don took delivery of 100 cars to modify. There is a book published that lists the known whereabouts of the remaining Yanko Corvairs. I was hoping the Facebook post would indicate which number of that run was found. Besides the first 100 or 100 series cars there was a 200 and 300 series. Those were cars that were brought to Don for his high performance mods of various stages. The first run of 100 is considered the most collectible and valuable.

    Like 10
  16. Frank D Member

    Reminds me of a Fitch Corvair. Fitch build race parts for Corvairs. If I recall his car had the two blue stripes on the car with a wind deflector, air dam or spoiler on the back.

    Like 4
  17. MrF

    All Corsas has 4 carbs. Pretty cool.

    Like 1
    • Todd

      No, all Corsa’s didn’t have 4 carbs, only the 140 hp engines did. My Corsa has one carb, and a turbocharger. 180 hp.

      Like 12
    • Rick

      Or a turbo

  18. Perry Taylor

    My buddy and I rolled his mother’s 1968 Corvair down a hill into a hogshed. The car was totalled but we proved Rhalph Nader wrong as we were unhurt. I recall that the hog farmer sued his Moms insurance company for distressing his hogs! It was a Corsa model with four carburetor and a 4 speed.

    Like 6
  19. Joe Haska

    Very interesting, I knew none of this history, thanks for sharing.

    Like 1
  20. RC Graham

    The cleanup should involve minimal destruction of the patina. The paint looks strong enough for a buff out. If that heinous steering wheel is original, it needs to stay (maybe some coal oil on the chrome). This is a fabulous collectible.

    Like 4
  21. Wayne

    I had no issues with my sisters Gen I Corvair and I bought a ’64 Spider Turbo.
    BUT, the Gen II cars are in a class all their own. I would love to won one some day.

    Like 3
  22. 19sixty5 Member

    There are still a few Yenko’s being raced to this day in vintage racing circles, and still very competitive. Some are originals, some are re-body’s from racing mishaps. They were uber competitive in SCCA D/Production back in the day.

    Like 2
    • RC Graham

      That was when racing was really racing. The 180 horse turbos were really fun. There is very little more depressing than a 1967 L-88 Corvette, restored to perfection and trailered to the occasional show. Such as waste. That’s why I’m such a fan of ‘tribute’ cars. Rare and valuable means never driven. These Yenko’s just hit the sweet spot. It’s real and it’s fast. Let’s hope it’s driven, too.

      Like 4
  23. Larry

    There was a lady from pittsburgh who was a friend of Don Yenko’s. She started racing a C1 corvette. Don convinced her to drive a stinger. . I watched numerous times. Porche,Jaguar,Triumph, etc. had there hands full. She won a lot. Donna Mae Mims was a car person to the end. Every day car was a Corvette. On passing she requested to be buried in the Vette but they could not get an agreement, but the Vette was in the home with her. I was there. If you ever see a Vette with a mural of Marylin Monroe on the hood it was hers.

    Like 2
    • Clarence Zahrobsky

      DMM was not buried in her corvette but was viewed at the funeral home in her vette.

  24. #YS100

    Where’s all the rodent poop? :-)

  25. Joel Sherwood

    Please update with car number! Thanks

  26. Rick

    In the mid 70’s some friends and I took my Crown V8 to Limerock with the Corvair Club.
    The only car that bested our track time was a Stinger! It would corner much better.

    Like 1
  27. Clarence Zahrobsky

    a bud of mine worked at yenko bodyshop and his job one day was to remove all the gm badges from the 100 corvairs that were going to be turned into stingers.

    Like 1
    • RC Graham

      I wonder whether he was buds with the guy over at Shelby American who had to knock of all of the 1969 door plaques, and change them to 1970’s.

  28. David Raezer Member

    There was recent activity on the Yenko. It was purchased by a Corvair enthusiast ad the number reveal will be coming soon. I will post it when the club finds out.

    • alphasud Member

      The identity of this BarnFind Stinger has been revealed. It is car number YS-014 and was found in its original spec. A true find that has been purchased by a Corvair enthusiast who will bring this car back to its former glory.

      • Robert W Sweatman

        😁

  29. Robert W Sweatman

    😁

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