The Yenko Deuce is a car of legendary proportions. On the rare occasion that any one of these 1970 vehicles is found today, it is cause for celebration among those who are passionate about classic American muscle cars. Part of what makes this car so special is the Yenko badge, but it is also the limited number of units made back in 1970 that makes it so rare today.
Don Yenko, a racecar driver, owned Yenko Chevrolet, a custom shop and dealership for creating and selling specially ordered and altered muscle cars in the 1960s and 1970s. He started with Corvairs, but was most famous for his popular Camaro creations. Yenko took advantage of General Motor’s Central Office Production Order, or COPO, program. A loophole that not many were aware of, COPO allowed Yenko to get big engines installed in certain cars on the factory floor. It was a way of getting around GM’s rule banning Corvette-sized engines in other models.
When he created the Yenko Deuce, Don Yenko was making one of the last great muscle cars. Insurance costs and environmental regulations were beginning to make it tough to produce powerful, fast, gas-guzzling cars by 1970. For the Yenko Deuce, he took an unassuming Chevy, the little compact and economical Nova, and put a huge engine in it. The light weight combined with the big, 350-cubic inch engine made for a powerful and impressive street racer. The same engine went into that year’s Camaro Z/28 and Corvette LT1
The Yenko Deuce creation came after the Yenko Supernovas of previous years. Those models included an even bigger engine, but with stricter regulations in 1970, the 350-cid was the best they could do that year. To house the powerful engine in the diminutive Nova required a stronger frame and an upgraded suspension, as well as a new transmission and rear axle. Besides performance, the Yenko Deuce also came with distinctive badges, stripes, decals, and distinctive tachometer on the hood.
Only 175 Yenko Deuces were made back in 1970 and today, discovering one is a rare event. These cars have sold at auction for upwards of $100,000 and even clones are desirable. If you ever get to see a genuine Yenko Deuce, or drive one, consider yourself lucky.