1968 Yenko Racer

(EBAY) Vehicle Description 

This 1968 Corvette was raced by Don Yenko and Kim Mason in the 1980 24 hours of Daytona. It has been a race car since 1970 and raced competitively in the biggest races of the day against all of the major Corvette race drivers of the 1970s and 80s.

The car was purchased from the original owner in 1969 by Frank Brown (from New York City) as a 1968 Corvette coupe, born on April 6, 1968 in British Green with beige interior. It had a 427 engine, an M21 transmission, a 4.10 axle ratio, and F41 suspension. The Corvette was taken off the road, completely disassembled and rebuilt as a full race car in 1971 by Frank and two friends. It was then raced competitively in SCCA, EMRA (Eastern Motor Racing Association), and IMSA races throughout the eastern half of the country by Frank Brown with Ed Lowther, famous for his Cobra race success, as a co-driver at a number of venues. (Ed is well known by racers of the day. In a seminar at the recent Boston NCRS convention, Jerry Thompson said that Ed Lowther was probably their greatest competition during their Dow Corning race days.) In 1978, Kim Mason, a Manager for Yenko Chevrolet, bought the car and he and Don Yenko raced it throughout 1979 and 1980, including at the 1980 24 hours of Daytona – car number 16. (Results of the race can be found on the Internet by searching on International Motorsports Association and going to the classicscar link for the old results – not to the current IMSA web site.) A picture of the car with Yenko driving at Mid-Ohio is in the December/January, 1981 issue of Corvette News. The car was raced competitively by subsequent owners into the 1990s. It has a log book dating to 1972.

Pictures of the car as it now exists are shown below. During the years the Corvette wore several different paint schemes and numbers. It was refurbished in the 2001 to 2004 period and appears as raced by Kim Mason and Don Yenko in 1980 – with the later model, removable front end installed by Mason.

In 1970, Frank Brown had an L88 engine built by Bill King (Michigan). The car raced with the L88 until the early 90s when the engine was pulled and a small block full race engine was built and installed. (Kim Mason says that the L88 engine that the car had when he bought it - the same one they used for the 24 hours of Daytona - was so powerful, it would spin the wheels within the tires.) We believe the car originally came with an L71 engine (and are not representing the car as an original L88), but we cannot explain why “L88” is written on the inner firewall under the dash in white grease pencil. (The L88 heads from the original engine built for the car – and used by both Brown and Yenko - have been magnafluxed and are available as well as a re-sleeved 454 engine block, L88 intake, and other L88 parts but are not being offered as a part of this auction. Extra wheels and tires are also available. If wanted, a separate negotiation is possible.) A notebook with the car details the changes and upgrades made by Mason/Yenko after buying the car. (Suspension, transmission, etc are still as raced by Mason/Yenko.) The car is being sold with the full race small block installed and operational – with very few miles on it since being built. The tires are new race Goodyears. The car was last run at Nelson Ledges in 2006 at one of their “fun days”.

The car is medallion eligible for SVRA and can be vintage raced, but should probably be kept in its original race configuration as a piece of Corvette history. The car was shown at the Race Car Reunion at Carlisle in 2004. All of the original owners and drivers of the car (except for Don Yenko) are still alive and are available for discussion about the car. The first driver, Frank Brown, and his two friends who built the car met us at Carlisle in 2004 and shared a lot of stories about their racing days. The history is documented with pictures and memorabilia from the days it was raced.

Race participation is verified by the IMSA results published on the Internet (see above link). Some of the races where the car participated in IMSA events are:

· 1973 – Pocono, Mid-Ohio, and Indy IRP (Frank Brown, Ed Lowther)

· 1974 – Mid-Ohio (Frank Brown, Ed Lowther)

· 1975 – Lime Rock – Rounds 8 and 9 (Frank Brown, Ed Lowther)

· 1980 – 24 Hours of Daytona (Kim Mason, Don Yenko)

The Log Book* shows SCCA participation as follows:

· 1972 – SCCA Drivers School (Frank Brown)

· 1975 – Lime Rock, Pocono (Frank Brown)

· 1978 – Lake Erie Regional, Nelson Ledges, Steel Cities Regional (July, Aug and Sept) (Kim Mason, Don Yenko)

· 1980 – 92 Many others (G. Michael Tiani, Charles Powell)

* Log book # 071-047 shows the car as AP and was issued 9/16/72. 

We do not yet have records of the EMRA races other than the memories of the owners.

The pictures shown in this listing start with the car as it looks today; when it was first raced as number 22; as it progressed through various paint schemes and numbers; the Corvette News picture as raced by Yenko and Mason as number 16; the car as raced into the 80s; the log book; and finally at the Race Car Reunion at Corvettes at Carlisle in 2004 with the 3 guys who built the car in 1970. We have many pictures of the car being raced during its early years, records of the car’s history, and many stories of its racing experiences in the 70s.

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