Don Yenko and Yenko Stinger
By Charlie “Bud” Doerge
In 1957, Chevrolet racer Don Yenko set up his own tuning shop in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania. Starting in 1965, Yenko’s shop began turning its attention to Chevrolet’s new, rear-engined car, the Corvair. Yenko saw both performance and racing potential in the Corvair and after improving on nearly every system in the car—including engine tweaks that could raise its output to 240-hp—Yenko had transformed the pedestrian Corvair, into the “Yenko Stinger.” Over the next two years, Yenko would build 185 Stingers, many of which saw action on tracks across the U.S.
Don Yenko and the Yenko Stinger is one of those labors of love by a died-in-the-wool enthusiast. Yenko owner and author Charlie Doerge has taken his 25 years of research and obsession with the Stinger and compiled all his knowledge and stories into one 270-page, black-and-white book that will surely stand as the definitive work on these unusual racecars. Doerge not only traces the history of Yenko and the development of the Stinger, he also tracks the racing history of the Stinger and provides a comprehensive registry of the known survivors and their whereabouts.
While the topic may not be of interest to everyone, if you’ve ever had an interest in either Yenko or the Corvair/Stinger, this limited edition, self-published book will be a must have.
Available for US$39.95 (+s&h) at www.yenkostinger.com or be email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Reviewed by Casey Annis
Life Is a Highway
Edited by Darwin Holstrom and Melinda Keefe
A star-studded group of writers have contributed work to this compendium of stories about the many aspects of the automobile and the human activities in which it plays an integral role. Some of these writers are accomplished automotive journalists with familiar names like Ken Purdy, L.K.J. Setright, Tom McCahill, David E. Davis, Brock Yates or Ted West, while other tales come from best-selling authors such as Jack Kerouac, Stephen King or Hunter S. Thompson, and yet others arise from such unlikely sources as J. Edgar Hoover and Rowan Atkinson.
One of the best is from Chris McCall, a driver’s license-less New Yorker who tells of learning to drive for the first time in a GT350 Mustang at California’s Willow Springs Raceway, with instruction from the SCCA’s John Timanus. The other tales range from short to long, humorous to instructive, biographical to fantastic, and most readers will surely find something that suits their fancy. This is, however, primarily a book of text with only the occasional photograph and a handful of illustrations by Hector Cadematori.
Available for US$25 (£19) at enthusiast bookstores or directly from publisher Motorbooks at www.motorbooks.com
Reviewed by John Zimmermann