Yenko Stinger: The Corvair That Got Respect

Last Sunday, at the All Chevy Show in Cumberland, RI, I saw a nice example of a Yenko Stinger.  The Yenko Stingers were Corvairs that were heavily modified by Yenko Chevrolet, a car dealer in Cannonsburg, PA, to be very good race cars.  The key figure behind the Yenko Stinger was Don Yenko, who was very active in car racing at that time.   Yenko also sold tuned versions of the Camaro, Nova, Chevelle, and even the Vega.

Yenko Stinger

The Yenko Stingers are relatively rare cars.  The production quantities were as follows:

  • 1966 – 100 cars
  • 1967 – 23 cars
  • 1968 – 2 cars
  • 1969 – 3 cars

I don’t know the year of manufacture of the Yenko Stinger that I saw in Cumberland, RI. 

The Yenko Stingers were Successful Race Cars

On the race track the Yenko Stingers were very impressive.  Yenko Stingers won 10 SCCA Divisonal Championship titles, five Divisional second-place finishes, and two Divisional Championship third-place finishes.

This Yenko Stinger was Tuned to Stage II Level

The Yenko Stingers were sold in five levels of tuning:

  • Stage I – 160 horsepower, recommended for the street
  • Stage II – 190 horsepower, recommended for high speed touring, rallying. or as a dual-purpose racer
  • Stage III – 220 horsepower, for all out street performance
  • Stage IV – 240 horsepower for SCCA Class D racing
  • Stage V – 250 horsepower, illegal for SCCA racing


The Two Rear Scoops Provide Additional Air to the Engine


The Roll Cage/Bar Looks Well Fitted in this Yenko Stinger

I have a very good book on the Yenko cars entitled “Yenko: The Man, The Machines, The Legend” written by Bob McClurg.  The following images come from that book.

The Mini-Lites Look Good on this Yenko Stinger

I believe that most of the Yenko Stingers were basically white, but the car below looks quite good with the inverse paint job – blue with white stripes.

A Very Good Looking Yenko Stinger

While Yenko Stingers are basically race cars, the owner of the Yenko Stinger shown below has paid attention to making the interior very attractive.

Well Maintained Interior of a Yenko Stinger

The Yenko Stingers brought a certain amount of respect to the Chevrolet Corvairs, but the all of the negative press about the first generation Corvairs created an impression about the Corvair that even the Yenko Stinger could not repair.  The Corvair was no longer manufactured after 1969.


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14 Responses to Yenko Stinger: The Corvair That Got Respect

  1. Bruce Gezon says:

    Owned and rallied a 1966 Stage II Stinger for a couple of years but ended up selling it at the end of the 1969 Appalachian National Rally to a bystander. The car was amazing except for its ‘attraction’ to rust. The hole in the rear seat floor was huge.

    • Hi Bruce,
      A Stage II Stinger would make a great rally car. I know that first generation Corvairs did well in winter rallies in Canada in the early 1960s, so a second generation Corvair with the Yenko modifications would be an excellent choice. Too bad about the rust.


      • Bruce Gezon says:

        I navigated the 1965 or 1966 (?) Canadian Winter Rally in a Corvair Corsa. Had a bunch of zeros (timed to the minute if I recall) until we started taking a lot of ice buildup in the front wheel wells due to the iced over road ponds when we kept breaking through to the fluid stuff below. Finally had to quit when we got through the first turn of an S-curve but couldn’t get the wheels turned enough to get us through the next one. Of course there was the added adventure of going blind every time we broke through the ice when the water hit the heater vent from the engine to the windshield. By the time we returned to Erie the next day we still had hundreds of pound of ice in place.

    • John Gray says:

      Do you remember the YS#? Its nice to keep track of them especially if it has been “lost”. I am fortunate enough to own YS063.
      John Gray, Oshawa, Ontario

  2. Perhaps someone in RI could have the license plate “run” and find out the owner of this Yenko Stinger or clone as there are many… I own YS076 Charlie Doerge, Maiden, NC

    • Nick Heller says:

      I checked the plate. It is a 1968 car. Although I don’t know if it’s real. Don’t know what to look for in the VIN.

      • If you checked the VIN tag and it is a 1968, there is not much information there (little is known about 1968 VIN’s). Inside the door on the forward drivers side would be a Yenko tag (if a legit Stinger). Knowing info from the Yenko tag (mounted on drivers front door pillar- visible when door is open), Fisher Body tag (inside engine compartment on right side of rear “rail”- visible when engine cover is open), and the VIN tag (on dashboard- drivers side- visible from outside) would be the best way for me to trace any info…..

  3. Bill Doerge says:

    Charlie Doerge wrote the consummate book on Don and the Stinger. “Don Yenko and the Yenko Stinger”

    • Hi Bill,
      The book that I have is titled “Yenko: The Man, The Machines, The Legend”. As you can imagine it covers all of Don Yenko’s cars. Not as focused as it seems Charlie Doerge’s book is.
      Steve McKelvie

  4. Bob Helt says:

    A wonderful article about a great car.
    Bob Helt

  5. Allen Bristow says:

    I owned an original paint low mileage stage II. YS-19. Truly an amazing car. Regret selling it.


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