Ride Of The Week 10/05/2020: Bob Karschner's 1969 Yenko Chevelle Clone
Updated: Nov 17, 2020
"ATTACK OF THE (YENKO) CLONE"
I saw this gorgeous Chevelle in August and was blown away by the attention to detail. My first question to Bob was, "Is it a real Yenko?" The short answer was 'no'. The long answer is what makes this our Ride of the Week! Here's his account of how he found the Chevelle and the process he took to turn it into a tribute to one of Canonsburg, PA's finest!
"It was in January when I went to a small town above Niagara Falls. It was a father-son restoration that never got completed due to declining health. The car sat in a barn for over 15 years. I started the restoration that February right after Valentine’s Day and I was driving it to a Burger King cruise-in in September! I told my wife I needed this summer to finish this car and, bless her heart, she came out to check on me in the wee hours of the morning for about four months to make sure I was still alive! I had the rally wheels on it at first and replaced some chrome and the wheels in the following years. Mind you, my kids are grown and gone so I had the extra time. I know how it gets when you have family commitments to do a restoration like this. It takes a commitment!"
"The car is a true 1969 Super Sport however the drivetrain was not there anymore. I believe it was drag raced and sat a lot because the odometer was at 55,000 original miles. It has a 12 bolt posi-traction, 3.55 gear ratio. All I had available at the time was up 454 big block that I freshened up and put some go-fast goodies in it. I built the engine to run on pump gas so it’s very streetable and pushing over 400 hp in front of a Muncie four-speed. The paint is a factory color called Fathom Green. I looked at a lot of pictures read books about Don Yenko to build this car as correct as possible. I used Original Parts Group in California and Ausley’s Chevelle to get a lot of my parts for the car."
"When I was a teenager I always wanted a '69 Chevelle. My brother had one and I fell in love with the car however I was not able to acquire that one! Then life happens and eventually the opportunity came. 40 years later, I found the perfect restoration project that fit my budget. I am fortunate to have the gifts and skills to do everything on this car myself. Bodywork, paint, engine and drivetrain, interior, electrical; that’s what I do. Being that this was not a numbers matching car I had every opportunity to do what I wanted to with it. It’s my car. So I built this car to honor Don Yenko's supercar legacy. There aren't too many places I go that someone always ask is this a real one. I have to politely say no however it is awfully fun to drive!"
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