At RK Motors Charlotte we specialize in high caliber, one-of-a-kind collector cars which have unmatched pedigrees and amazing stories. And one of the many privileges of working here is the amount of exclusive and highly desirable metal that we get to introduce, enjoy and share with you, the enthusiast. This spectacular 1981 Yenko Turbo Z Camaro is one of those rare Detroit muscle cars that many people simply haven’t even heard of. As one of only 19 Yenko Camaros produced for the 1981 model year, it’s claimed to be the final Yenko car sold by the legendary Pennsylvania dealership and supposedly had a short career as a magazine test piece. Presently, it’s a numbers matching, 30K original mile show car which is fresh out of a nut and bolt rotisserie restoration that aligned all of its factory sheetmetal to better-than-new standards. If you’re a hardcore Chevrolet enthusiast who is looking for the ultimate centerpiece to your collection, or a classic car guru who’s been searching for unique investment opportunity, this exceptional F2 Camaro is your ticket!
Included with the sale of this exclusive Camaro is an original window sticker and an original build sheet. Below, I’ve laid out all the standard equipment listed on the car’s window sticker, itemized all the optional equipment from its build sheet and, where applicable, listed sticker prices in parentheses.
1981 CHEVROLET CAMARO 2DR Z28 SPORT COUPE ($8,298.23)
STANDARD ITEMS WITH NO EXTRA CHARGE:
* LG4 5.0 liter (305 cubic inch) V8 with a 4-barrel carburetor
* 4-speed manual transmission
* Power front disc and rear drum brake system
* Computer command control system
* Steel belted radial ply white letter tires
* Hood scoop, and front and rear spoilers
* Special instrumentation
* Front bucket seats
* Floor console
* Sport steering wheel
* Left hand remote and right hand manual sport mirrors
* Special sport suspension
* Front stabilizer bar
* Power steering
* TG Tint
* AU3 Power door lock system ($93)
* A01 Tinted glass ($75)
* A31 Power windows ($140)
* BS1 Insulator package
* B77 Black windshield molding
* B80 Roof drip moldings
* B81 Extra ornamentation delete
* B85 Belt reveal moldings
* B89 Black rear window molding
* B94 Extra ornamentation
* B97 Rear wheel spoilers
* CD4 Intermittent windshield wiper system ($41)
* C49 Electric rear window defogger ($107)
* C60 Air conditioning ($560)
* D80 Rear decklid spoiler
* D88 Z28 stripes
* D92 Door handle tape stripes
* F41 Special suspension
* GU4 3.08 rear axle
* G80 Limited slip differential ($67)
* K19 Air injection (smog equipment)
* K35 Automatic speed control with resume function ($132)
* K73 70 amp alternator
* LM1 5.7 liter (350 cubic inch) V8 with a 4-barrel carburetor ($00)
* MX1/MX3 Automatic transmission ($61)
* NA5 Standard emission equipment
* NB1 Computer Command Control emissions equipment
* N33 Comfortilt steering wheel ($81)
* QGR P225/70R-15 white letter steel belted radials ($00)
* TR9 Auxiliary lighting ($33)
* TT4 Halogen headlamps ($36)
* T63 Headlamp warning buzzer
* T93 Special tail lamps
* UA1 Heavy duty battery ($20)
* UW 24 rear shocks
* U05 Dual horns ($10)
* U14 Special instrumentation
* U25 Luggage compartment lamp
* U26 Under hood lamp
* U27 Instrument panel compartment lamp
* U28 Ash tray lamp
* U29 Courtesy lamp
* U35 Electric clock
* V08 Heavy duty radiator coolant
* Z21 trim group ($76)
* Z28 Camaro Z28 sport coupe ($00)
* Z54 Interior décor and quiet sound group ($67)
* 11L White ($00)
* 12A Silver stripe
* 19R VBB2 black vinyl bucket ($00)
* 19I Black trim
TOTAL OPTIONS ($1,599)
DESTINATION CHARGE ($306)
TOTAL VEHICLE PRICE ($10,203.23)
Virtually every Chevrolet fan knows Yenko Chevrolet in McMurray, Pennsylvania created some of the most badass 60s and 70s muscle cars ever unleashed on American streets. What most folks don’t know is Yenko tried once again in 1981 to perfect one of GM’s best performance platforms, and by most accounts, was wildly successful. Featuring factory air conditioning, a full array of modern conveniences, excellent gas mileage and a 14 second quarter mile time, the 1981 Yenko Turbo Z was celebrated by enthusiasts across the country and even dubbed “The Ultimate Camaro” by Hot Rod Magazine. Unfortunately Yenko’s great intentions, and enthusiast’s great interest, weren’t enough to outweigh the Turbo Z’s steep $11K Stage I and $17.5K Stage II sticker prices; and the result was a complete build that amounted to only 19 cars. By the time this Turbo White Camaro, supposedly the last Turbo Z ever sold, rolled off of the showroom floor it was packaged with a signed production intent letter (pictured) that had been hand altered by none other than Don Yenko himself.
The car’s one and only owner had been following the progression of the Turbo Z program very closely. And when he heard production numbers had dwindled to a fraction of Yenko’s original goal, he decided to take a trip to the showroom in hopes of picking up a future collectible. According to the salesman, this particular Turbo White car was the last Turbo Z the dealership would build or sell, and only still sat on the showroom floor because it had been a magazine test car and public relations showpiece. After some light negotiation, a few signed papers, and some firm handshakes the proud owner took possession of one super rare F2 Z28 that he would immaculately preserve for the next 30 years. When it was finally time to sell, Pair-A-Dice Rods and Kustoms in Zanesville, Ohio was contracted to complete a highly detailed, nut and bolt rotisserie restoration which used 2011 technology to rebuild the car to concours condition. And the result is a 25,553 mile piece of automotive history which is ready to be rolled into a museum or trailered to an exclusive Chevrolet show!
Unlike its 60s and 70s forefathers, the 1981 Yenko Camaro wasn’t equipped with vaguely placed vinyl stripes and large plastic emblems; but thanks to bold call-outs and striking aerodynamic enhancements, it doesn’t take much more than a passing glance to realize this isn’t just any old Z28. At the front of the car, a correctly painted plastic grille hangs a tri-color “Z28” emblem between clear front headlights, parking lights which mimic the look of earlier second generation Camaros and an optional Yenko Stage II competition air dam. On the front of that air dam, a “Yenko Turbo Z” call-out perfectly complements tri-color striping which flows over the car’s exaggerated front wheel spoilers. And at the top of that grille, a functional hood scoop, which modernizes the cowl induction look the Camaro Z/28 pioneered 12 years earlier, is branded with Yenko-exclusive “turbocharged” decals. At the back of that hood, pristine factory glass is bordered by original code B77 and code B89 stainless black window trim which is as straight as the day it left the factory. And at the sides of that hood, the car’s clean fuselage keeps extraneous trim to a minimum with only chrome flip up door handles, knife-edged front fender louvers and large “Yenko Turbo Z” call-outs breaking the cadence of its slick white paint. Behind those call-outs correct B97 rear wheel spoilers visually balance a standard D80 rear decklid spoiler that’s branded with a fourth “Yenko Turbo Z” call-out. And at the back of the car, an optional blacked out rear valence hangs a bright blue “Z28” emblem between clear, tri-colored tail lights and a straight and pliable rear bumper.
In traditional Yenko fashion, this Camaro’s attractive exterior accents are just a modest preview of the explosive performance lurking just beneath its hood. Pop the glossy white lid and you’ll find an original, completely rebuilt and highly detailed 350 cubic inch LM1 V8 which wears a correct 14010207 casting number and a February (B) 27th (27) of 1981 (1) casting date. Air for that big engine flows from a chrome, open element air cleaner to an original Rochester Quadrajet carburetor which rides on top of an original Turbo International turbocharger. Below that turbocharger, a fresh coat of traditional GM Corporate Blue paint coats the block from its Yenko branded valve covers to its original oil pan; and fully restored exhaust manifolds send spent gases into a factory replacement, single-pipe dual exhaust system. Fires are lit by a correct Delco-Remy HEI distributor which sends spark through blue Max Protection plug wires. Cooling is provided by fresh hoses which snake to and from a heavy duty radiator. And charging is provided by new V-belts which spin a new Delco AC compressor and a rebuilt alternator behind a heavy duty seven blade clutch fan. Interestingly, the car was sold to its one and only owner with a bypassed smog pump which, according to the salesman at Yenko, was a direct result of magazine testers wanting to achieve the engine’s true performance potential. So naturally, when it came time for the restoration, the car’s belt system and omitted smog pump were returned to their exact showroom configuration. Aesthetically, the car’s clean satin black fenders and firewall present exceptionally well with details like new decals, a correct fan shroud and full hood insulation providing a factory fresh appearance. And mechanically, the boosted V8 is a smooth running powerhouse which has been immaculately maintained throughout its entire existence.
The bottom of this cool old Camaro has been restored to a 100% factory correct appearance and is so clean that you’d think it’s never even seen a layer of dust. The car’s high-winding small block is backed by an original Turbo-Hydramatic 350 3-speed automatic transmission which wears a matching 124749 partial VIN; and the bottom of its body is covered in a smooth coat of GM satin black paint. That stalwart TH350 spins an original GM 10 bolt rear end which is stuffed full of highway friendly 3.08 gears. And those floorpans ride on a fully restored F41 special suspension that, for 1981, added higher rate springs, thicker stabilizer bars and stiffer valved shocks. Standard equipment with the F41 suspension was improved ratio power steering which combines with standard, to the Camaro, power front disc and rear drum brakes to provide excellent stops and confidence inspiring handling. And everything under the car looks functional and solid with details like a new stainless fuel tank and new stainless brake and fuel lines adding some much needed contrast to a sea of correct black components. At the center of the floors, freshly welded single pipe dual exhaust exactly duplicates the car’s original system all the way down to its AC catalytic converter. And at the corners of the floor, 15 inch Turbo White Rally wheels spin beefy 225/70 BF Goodrich Radial T/As around satin stainless trim rings and Yenko decaled center caps.
Swivel open the car’s long white doors and you’ll find a well-maintained black vinyl interior which looks just as good as the day it rolled out of GM’s Norwood, Ohio manufacturing facility. The standard black bucket seats are in excellent shape and feel as if the only seat time they’ve seen is moving the car in and out of its garage. Below those seats, like-new black carpet is protected by custom, color-keyed Yenko floor mats. Above those seats, a new black headliner is stretched tightly from side to side and front to back. And at the sides of those seats, fresh, stainless trimmed door panels hang super straight armrests below chrome door handles and chrome switches for optional power door locks. At the center of the car, a wide black console props a familiar chrome shifter above a satin finished trim plate and chrome switches for optional power windows. At the front of the car, a soft and warp-free dash hangs satin trimmed gauges next to a Yenko installed boost gauge, color-keyed water level indicator and correct radio delete. In front of the driver, a simulated rope steering wheel centers a Yenko horn button atop a black tilt steering column. And at the back of the car, a smooth opening decklid hangs a fresh decal and functioning courtesy lamp above a correct space saver spare tire and a like-new trunk mat.
As with any of our investment grade, one-of-a-kind cars the sale of this awesome Camaro includes a stack of historical documentation. For starters, there’s the original build sheet and window sticker outlined above and an original registration form that’s dated October 7th of 1982. Then there’s original component manuals, original warranty paperwork for the engine, a Yenko tag bracket and a pile of Yenko order forms and correspondence which includes the signed production intent letter. And last but not least, there’s a few vintage Hot Rod and Car Collector magazines which highlight the Turbo Z, a binder of itemized restoration notes and receipts, two CDs of restoration photos and a nice looking display board that you can set out at car shows.
The Yenko literature included with this car sums it up perfectly: “quick, nimble, comfortable, roomy, surprisingly economical… The perfect performance car!” It represented some of the best performance your money could buy in the early 1980s; and currently, it represents some of the best investment grade metal available in today’s red hot muscle car market. Clean F2 Camaros are a rare find. All-original numbers matching cars are MUCH rarer still. One-of-a kind performance cars like this 1981 Yenko Turbo Z are the opportunity of a lifetime!