Mark Pieloch: Don Yenko and the Muscle Car Mystique

Mark Pieloch is a longtime fan of Don Yenko and the vehicles he created during his 25 years in the performance modification marketplace. Yenko is known throughout the automotive industry as a leader in creating outstanding sports cars for auto racing and for use on public roadways. He began his second career in 1957 when he opened a shop catering to Chevrolet owners and dealerships and providing high-performance replacement parts and modifications for Chevy vehicles. Mods available from Yenko’s shop included steering enhancements, bodywork and upgraded engines. His technicians also performed transmission upgrades and installed aftermarket positraction, a limited-slip differential that provided improved traction on uneven terrain.

It was Yenko’s work with the Chevrolet Camaro, however, that brought him national attention and acclaim. When the Camaro was initially released in 1967, Yenko immediately began replacing the 6.4-liter engine with a 7.0-liter big-block V-8 lifted from the Corvette. This engine was capable of generating 430 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque, making it one of the true powerhouse engines in the marketplace at that time. Big-block V-8s were extremely popular among performance-minded buyers, and Yenko did a booming business in these modifications. He also worked on Novas and Chevelles and created a category of sports cars known colloquially in the automotive world as Yenko Super Cars.

Don Yenko’s legacy lives on in the Pieloch Classic Car Collection and continues to have an impact on the collector car market to the present day. Car enthusiasts like Mark Pieloch continue to honor Yenko’s memory by preserving the elite cars he created for future generations to enjoy.