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The Yenko Stinger – Another look.
Posted by: ral1963 ()
Date: December 06, 2018 12:06PM

This is a first draft and the 1st part to tie the rest of the other posts together. Please read and offer constructive comments for information, info needing added or revised.

The Yenko Stinger – Another look.

It would appear that we could indirectly thank Carrol Shelby’s AC Cobra and Chevrolet for bringing about the Corvair Yenko Stinger. Carol Shelby wanted to build a light, V8 powered car to race in the SCCA. It is rumored that in the early 60s, Shelby approached Chevrolet to see if they would provide him with V8 engines for his new racecar, but they did not want to add direct competition to the Corvette. However, Ford wanted a car that could compete against the Corvette and Ford ended up being the engine of choice for the AC Cobra.


By 1965 the Corvette was struggling to stay competitive against the lighter V8 powered AC Cobra and it appeared there wasn’t going to be any lighter more powerful cars produced by Chevrolet for the time being. Therefore, it only made sense to Don Yenko that he could create his own production race car.

It is apparent that Don saw potential with the new 1965 Chevrolet Corvair. He took the relatively light, stiff, well-balanced mass produced Corvair and with a few tweaks created what he hoped would be strong SCCA contender in E Production against Alfa Romeos, Austin-Healey 100-6, Porsche 912/365s, Triumph TR2s, MGBs, Morgans, and other smaller European cars..


He approached the SCCA with the idea of making a production racecar based on the Chevrolet Corvair. He would remove the back seat to make the car a sedan under SCCA definition as seating for a driver and passenger. He would also make improvements to the engine, braking, and overall performance. His plan was to create a distinct production model of the Chevrolet Corvair called the Yenko Stinger.


The SCCA required a minimum production number of 100 cars to be homologated and classified into a given class as a specific production vehicle. In order to do this, Don had to place a special order for 100 1966 Corsa Coupes with 140 natural aspirated engines and a specific list of options.


This Central Office Production Order was initially planned for 100 Ermine white 140 4 speed Corsas with Marina blue interiors, a special dual master cylinder brake option, and a 3.89:1 rear axle ratio. The turnaround time was tight in order to meet the SCCA deadline. There were not enough blue interiors pre-assembled to fill the order for 100 interiors. Since black was the most common color interior, a large stockpile of black interior was on hand, enough to fill all 100 cars. Based on this, the order ended up being changed to an Ermine white exterior with Black interiors.


Only 50 of the Stingers received the 3.89:1 rear end and the rest received the stock 3.55:1 axle ratio, it is unknown if this was initially planned as a 50 / 50 split or if a delay in getting the 100 3.89 axles resulted in only going with 50 to fill the order in time. Along with these special items, the cars were also equipped with factory fast ratio steering, heavy Duty Suspension, and 4 speed transmissions.




The base Stinger engine started with the stock factory 140hp engine and had a few simple bolt on aftermarket items. The addition of headers, an extra capacity alum oil pan, and individual air cleaners was the starting point for an entry level Yenko Stinger. Additional stages of engine prep started with opening up the engine for head work, increased compression, cam changes, carburetor work, along with other horsepower increasing modifications.


As the stock 140 engine was decent, but underpowered as a competitive race engine the majority of the development on the Stinger ended up being to the engine.


The Corvair Corsa was de-badged, the back seat was removed and replaced with a carpeted panels and the steel engine lid was replaced with a fiberglass deck lid with intake flaps and a rear spoiler. Sail panels to make the car lines look more like a 2 seat body, some identification decals, and a blue tri stripe were also added to meet the SCCA color scheme for production cars from the USA. Once these additional styling and weight reduction items were added, the Stinger was finished and ready for SCCA inspection.


Once the SCCA had approved the Stinger as a production car, they assigned it to D Production class and required any Corvair racing in the SCCA be identified as a Yenko Stinger by the assigned YS Serial tag.


Ideally, D production was not the class Don had hoped for as it would put the Stinger against factory backed Triumph TR-4As, which had won the D Production class several years in a row. It is believed that the SCCA figured Yenko was getting factory support for the Stinger and classified him in the tougher class based on this.


As it turned out, with continued advancement to the Yenko Stinger, it was much more competitive in D Production than first believed. Don continued to produce the Yenko Stinger as a D Production racecar though 1967. Don had basically developed the Stinger to the limit of SCCA class rules and engine output. It would take either revised SCCA rules or a different car to create a car that could further his race aspirations.


It would appear that once Don shifted his focus from the Corvair to the new 1967 Camaro, he backed away from selling completed Yenko Stinger cars but still allowed individuals who wanted to race their 1965 to 1969 Corvairs to purchase the parts needed to make their Corvair into a Yenko Stinger. Some of these conversions were completed at Yenko Chevrolet and other Stingers were built up by owners via tags sold directly by Don Yenko to make the car a verified YS tagged Yenko Stinger for SCCA racing.

Rick Loving
Corvair historian & chronicler of useless facts
CORSA
Performance Corvair Group
Chicagoland Corvair Enthusiasts

RAL1963@COMCAST.NET
Just south of Chicago IL

Current Ride
63 Sprint Vert 140/4sp

Past Rides
66 Turbo Coupe 180/4sp
60 700 Sedan 80hp PG
63 Monza Vert 102hp 4 spd
63 Monza Coupe 140hp 4 spd
63 700 Sedan 80hp 3 spd
64 Monza Vert 110hp 4 spd
64 Monza Coupe 95hp 3 spd
64 Monza Sedan 110hp PG
65 500 Coupe 95hp 4 spd
65 Monza Coupe 110hp PG
65 Corsa Coupe 140hp 4 spd
68 Monza Vert 140hp 3 spd



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/06/2018 12:13PM by ral1963.

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Re: The Yenko Stinger – Another look.
Posted by: Mike Stillwell ()
Date: December 06, 2018 12:14PM

There were also shops specifically and legally authorized to convert a Corvair to a Yenko Stinger. European Autosport in Waynesboro Virginia was and continues to be one of these authorized shops. Owner Steve Hinton has signed authorization from Don Yenko (circa 1978).

Mike
YS-117

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Re: The Yenko Stinger – Another look.
Posted by: ral1963 ()
Date: December 06, 2018 12:33PM

Thank you, I assume SPAN-Inc would be another. I make the necessary updates to the info.

Rick Loving
Corvair historian & chronicler of useless facts
CORSA
Performance Corvair Group
Chicagoland Corvair Enthusiasts

RAL1963@COMCAST.NET
Just south of Chicago IL

Current Ride
63 Sprint Vert 140/4sp

Past Rides
66 Turbo Coupe 180/4sp
60 700 Sedan 80hp PG
63 Monza Vert 102hp 4 spd
63 Monza Coupe 140hp 4 spd
63 700 Sedan 80hp 3 spd
64 Monza Vert 110hp 4 spd
64 Monza Coupe 95hp 3 spd
64 Monza Sedan 110hp PG
65 500 Coupe 95hp 4 spd
65 Monza Coupe 110hp PG
65 Corsa Coupe 140hp 4 spd
68 Monza Vert 140hp 3 spd



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/06/2018 12:34PM by ral1963.

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Re: The Yenko Stinger – Another look.
Posted by: Mike Stillwell ()
Date: December 06, 2018 01:16PM

I will ask Steve Hinton. Mark G may also know what other shops were authorized. European has only done one car to date, Steve’s YS-310. Larry Claypool owned 309 for many years. He may have been authorized as well, but I do not have a contact with Larry to check.

Mike
YS-117

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Re: The Yenko Stinger – Another look.
Posted by: jcorvair ()
Date: December 06, 2018 02:24PM

I wonder if City Chevrolet in Hamilton Ontario was authorized, I understand they were the Canadian importer of Stingers.

James
West Kelowna, BC

1965 Corvair, Corsa, Convertible 180/4
2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Turbo
2013 Hyundai Elantra (daughter's future car)
2016 Dodge 3500 Crew Cab 4x4 (for hauling cars, trailers, fifth wheels, quads, etc.)
2013 Victory Car Hauler (enclosed)
2015 Polaris 570 EPS
2016 Polaris 570 SP

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Re: The Yenko Stinger – Another look.
Posted by: yenkomark ()
Date: December 06, 2018 03:36PM

To clarify, Span, Inc. was a sales agent and distributor for Yenko Sportscars...Mo Carter's. City Chevrolet was set up as a Canadian distributor for Yenko Sportscars...

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Re: The Yenko Stinger – Another look.
Posted by: yenkomark ()
Date: December 06, 2018 03:39PM

All of this info has been detailed both in Charlie's book and,my book, first published in 2006, "The Yenko Era "

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