We go back over 40 years
to investigate the Yanko
Chevelle. Therefore, its
427 cubic inch engine has
a solid lifter camshaft
giving the V8 a choppy
idle that throbs out its
With its 11:1 compression
ratio and using fuel as an
afterthought, a hit of the
throttle and the engine is
ready to do what it was
designed for and does best.
When punched off of the line, the 427 vibrates the entire car and the machine lunges
forward. The 4-speed Hurst shifter is a bit vague but the first to second gear change
lays down the second set of smoking black rubber marks. The tires of which would
be gone in short order if the driver lets the engine power for too long a period of time.
Off the throttle, the aggressive 336 degree duration cam makes pronounced
deceleration rumble and an occasional protesting backfire. And despite having
what is considered crude 1960s technology, the Yanko ‘Rat’ engine provides
an impressive top-end charge that is hard to match even by today’s larger mills.
As always, large cubic inches and pushrods deliver unique motoring punch!
And what about the myth surrounding the Yanko Chevelle? Motor Trend
Classic set the record straight by saying, “The myth is Don Yanko’s dealership
installed a special 425-horsepower 427 big-block into the 1969 Yenko Super Car
(sYc) Camaros and Chevelles. While the 1967-1968 Yankos were “transplant”
cars – meaning Yanko physically swapped in new engines – the 1969 Yankos
(excluding Nova) were not. Chevrolet actually offered a little-known internal
ordering program called the Central Office Production Order (COPO). This
order enabled the factory fitment of certain non-ROP (Regular Production
Order) engines. Available for the Chevelle in 1969 was option COPO 9562
along with option COPO 9561 for the Camaro. Although the COPO numbers
differed, the result was the same – a Tonawanda built 427-cubic-inch big-block
Chevrolet V-8 rated at 425 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque.”
Many people thought that the engine was specially built for Yanko, however, it
was actually a 1966 Corvette 427 V8 installed in Chevelles and Camaros
and shipped to the Yanko dealership located in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania.
The engine was originally available as an RPOL-72 option in the Corvette,
It had a cast-ion block, heavy duty forged crankshaft and rods, an 11:1
compression forged aluminum pistons, 0.520-inch lift solid-lifter camshaft,
cast-iron “rectangular-port” cylinder heads, cast-aluminum duel plenum
intake manifold, and a Holley 780-cfm “mechanical secondary” four-barrel
carburetor. Furthermore, a heavy duty flywheel, a 11-inch diameter clutch,
and a Harrison heavy duty radiator where included.
As there is more to the myth, be sure to check back for part two of:
1969 ‘YANKO’ Chevelle: and the myth that surrounds it.
Have an auto question or comment? You can email it to me at
Kbusch3@verizon.net. Kyle Busch is the author of “Drive the Best
for the Price…” www.DriveTheBestBook.com