Frequent Chevy collaborator Specialty Vehicle Engineering has unveiled their 2019 upgrade package to the venerable Corvette lineup. Adding a name like Yenko into the mix requires the courage to match the original vision and will of Don Yenko, who bought 106 Camaros back in the late 1960s and modified them against the expressed direction of Chevrolet’s executive team. The result was a historical series of Camaros with race-prepped Corvette V8 power under the hood — and the 2019 Yenko Corvette hopes to live up to that legacy with a package that rivals the rest of Detroit’s escalating power output arms race.
Specialty Vehicle Engineering adds plenty of exterior goodies to ensure their Yenko Corvette stands out from lower-spec siblings — including the Grand Sport on which it is based and the Z06 it hopes to outclass. The 25 examples will be based on either coupe or convertible Grand Sports, which then receive a unique set of color schemes including a central hood scoop surround that continues onto a stripe down the roof, trunk, and rear spoiler. The buyer’s choice of nine exterior colors is matched by a swooping stripe that extends from side vents just behind the front wheel to the rear spoiler.
Copious badging declares the Yenko Corvette’s supremacy from every angle — reading either 835HP or 1000HP depending on Stage I or Stage II specs. Powder coated wheels feature a color-matched stripe, while an optional ground effects package includes a front splitter and side skirts painted in carbon flash metallic. A rear diffuser in carbon flash metallic, cast aluminum quad exhaust tips with Yenko badging, and the Z06 rear spoiler with an adjustable wickerbill center round out the rear end.
Additional fender graphics, a massive logo on the hood behind its cowl, and Yenko-branded brake calipers are all available, as well.
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Drivetrain & Mechanicals
Much like the original Yenko Camaro that the 2019 Yenko Corvette hopes to hearken back towards, the heart and soul of the build is in its engine upgrades. The Stage II supercharger package ups power to 1,000 horses and 855 lb-ft of torque, more than double that of the Grand Sport. (For context, the Z06 cranks out a matching 650 horses and lb-ft, allowing for Chevy to claim a 0-60 sprint taking less than three seconds.)
All that grunt is made possible by SVE’s custom built 6.8-liter engine — based on the stock 6.2-liter LT-1, with an aluminum block, computer balanced rotating assembly, high flow LT4 cylinder heads, and ARP high strength head and main studs. The supercharger’s displacement, meanwhile, is increased by 20 percent for a 25 percent increase in overall boost. Upgraded fuel injectors, exhaust, and a 10 percent larger throttle body also fit into the mix.
Meanwhile, for customers unable to get their hands on one of the 25 Stage II Yenko Corvettes, there will also be 25 Stage I examples sold. Output is limited to 835 horsepower and 770 lb-ft of torque, however. Many of the upgrades are shared between the two models — and both will be available with a seven-speed manual transmission featuring active rev matching, though an eight-speed automatic with paddle shifting is an additional option. The stock automatic trans receives a proprietary heavy-duty upgrade to cope with so much additional beef, and SVE even offers a 12-month/12,000 mile warranty on the transmission alone.
Further performance-enhancing features include Brembo brakes with carbon ceramics recommended to handle Stage II power that measures 14.6 inches out front with six-piston calipers, Magnetic Ride Control, a limited-slip differential, dry sump oil system, and upgraded sway bars front and rear.
Interior & Tech
Inside the Yenko Corvettes, drivers and passengers are presented with plenty of details to remind them just how special the car they’re riding in truly is — that is, if the whiplash acceleration and supercharger whine don’t cue them in right away. Seats, door sills, and the steering wheel receive badging and stitching, while the center console proudly displays horsepower and torque figures. Both floor mats also receive the Yenko moniker.
Standard amenities on the Grand Sport include a backup camera, head up display, optional microsuede surfaces, and plenty of carbon fiber trim. Competition seats also fit into the mix — checking all the boxes on a Grand Sport from the factory before shipping it to Specialty Vehicle Engineering seems like the most likely route for the 50 lucky Stage I and II Yenko buyers.
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Pricing & Buying
A 2019 Corvette Grand Sport starts at $65,495, and SVE’s full Stage II package runs another $68,995 on top for manual trans orders and $77,995 for cars equipped with automatics. Of course, options packages from the Chevy factory and SVE can easily stack a few more tens of thousands onto that price tag. Production will be limited to 25 Stage I and 25 Stage II Yenko Corvettes, and orders can be placed at Chevrolet dealers currently —no word yet on whether they’re already sold out.
Besides competing with factory-spec Corvettes like the Grand Sport, Z06, and ZR1, both Yenko Corvette models clearly hope to bring the fight to Chevy’s Camaro ZL1, Dodge’s Challenger Hellcat, and the range of upgrade packages available to all from Texas-based tuners Hennessey Performance. While 1,000 horses has become the number to beat, SVE clearly hopes that utilizing the famous Yenko name will help set their product apart.