One of Three Stage II 1981 Yenko Turbo Z Camaro Heads to Mecum

If you thought the Yenko legacy ended in 1970 with the release of the LT1 Nova-based Deuce, you would be wrong. The Yenko moniker had one last hoo-rah before Don Yenko sold the franchise in 1982, and you’re looking at it. This ultra-rare 1981 Camaro Turbo Z is a Yenko car with low original miles on the clock, and one of only three stage II examples that were ever made. It’s heading to Kissimmee to cross the Mecum auction block in a few days as one of the rarest cars going up for sale during the event.

This car represents the final collaboration between the legendary road racer and Chevrolet, in addition to being one of the rarest Yenko cars around. That wasn’t the original intention, however, there were supposed to be 200 1981 Yenko Turbo Z Camaros made, but only 19 actually made it through.

Unlike some of the car’s Yenko predecessors, these Camaros were built to cater to those who wanted a well-optioned ride with loads of upgrades from the dealership. Different from the previous Yenko Camaros is, this one is equipped with a turbocharger and water injection, a special Yenko fuel heater, and is 50-state emissions compliant. The unfortunate side effect of being all-state legal is that it runs nearly 3-seconds slower in the 1/4-mile over the standard 350ci Z28 engine. Backing the engine is a Turbo 350 automatic transmission that feeds into a G80 Posi with 3.08:1 gears.

Appearance wise, the biggest change is the IROC spoiler upfront, and special Yenko graphics and badges. It also has a Yenko Turbo Z plate in place of the where the radio would be if it had one, and the rest of the Yenko II upgrades includes leather seats and leather wrapped steering-wheel, Stage II Koni shocks and modified stabilizer bar, wheels with gold anodized center, and white-letter radial tires.

Mecum Highlights:

  • Found at lot S60.1
  • Matching numbers Turbocharged 350 CI engine
  • Automatic transmission
  • Low mileage
  • 1 of 3 Yenko Turbo Z Stage IIs ever produced
  • 1 of 19 Yenko Camaros produced in 1981 which was last year of the original Don Yenko conversions
  • COPO Connection Certificate
  • Original build sheet

Shawn Henry is a Texas native who has spent the majority of his career building and selling F-Bodies and Corvettes. Now studying journalism, he is taking a new direction with his love of performance vehicles.

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