Limited run Corvette promises 800 horsepower worth of awesomeness

Back in the day when muscle cars dominated the American auto consciousness, the name Steve Yenko was regarded as a wizard of performance modifications. As the man who ran Yenko Chevrolet of Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, Yenko oversaw an aftermarket division that gave birth to the Yenko Camaros, considered today as one of the most sought-after Camaros among enthusiasts of the pony car. Yenko Chevrolet’s run was brief, though, as the company stopped making customized Camaros in the early 80’s, and it wasn’t until 2009 when the name returned to the spotlight with the announcement that General Marketing Capital Incorporated (GMCI) announced its ownership of the Yenko trademark. Fast forward to today and the name “Yenko” has officially returned, albeit on a different model altogether. This, ladies and gentlemen, is the 2017 Yenko S/C Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport, a heavily modified Corvette that comes with upgrades galore, none more impressive than a new engine output of 800 horsepower and 750 pound-feet of torque.

The modifications themselves are about as extensive as it’s going to get and the company behind the build of these cars – Specialty Vehicle Engineering – says that the whole custom package for the Corvette took six months to develop. Ultimately, the final product is what you see here and it’s modified looks serve as a nice preview of what’s now lurking under that vented hood.

Unfortunately, a difficult and time consuming build like this one means that SVE isn’t making a lot of them. Only 50 units of the Yenko S/C Chevrolet Corvette are going to be built and those who are interested to get one will have to shell out an extra $46,000 for the modifications alone. That cost is on top of the 2017 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport’s starting price of $66,445. Do the math and that adds up to $110,445 for an 800-horsepower Corvette Grand Sport that bears the name of the iconic Camaro tuner.

Fair deal?

Continue after the jump to read more about the 2017 Yenko S/C Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport.

What makes the Chevrolet Corvette Yenko special

2017 Yenko S/C Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport Exterior
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It’s understandable to look at the Yenko Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport and focus immediately on the kind of performance upgrades Specialty Vehicle Engineering gave to it. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves just yet. First order of business is to look at the cosmetic modifications of the Yenko Corvette Grand Sport.

They’re not much compared to what other special edition or tuned Corvettes in the market have, but they do help in establishing the car’s overall identity. Most of the features are of the cosmetic variety, particularly the Yenko logos throughout the body of the car and the vinyl Yenko striping along the sides of the coupe’s body. Similar painted striping can be found running down the car’s center section. These additions not only give the Yenko Corvette Grand Sport its own unique look, but just as important, the details help harken back to the old Yenko Camaros, creating a pretty sweet combination of nostalgia and modern-day looks.

Like I said, the exterior upgrades are subtle, at least when you compare it to some past Corvette SEs that have also been released in recent years. One of them, the Corvette Z06 C7.R Edition, looks just as alive as the Yenko Corvette. It came with Corvette Racing’s iconic yellow-and-black livery and a more toned down aerodynamic package than the C7.R race car. The yellow-and-black, two-tone treatment does extend to the black wheels with yellow accents and Corvette racing logos, as well as the yellow brake calipers.

2016 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 C7.R Edition High Resolution Exterior
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Note: photo of the Chevrolet Corvette Z06 C7.R Edition

On the tuning front, there have been a few tuners who have worked on the Corvette in the past few years, including Callaway and BBM Motorsport. The former, for instance, developed a body kit that featured a more pointed, shark-like front end, while the latter’s upgrades largely revolved around new vinyl wraps and a new front spoiler.

2016 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 By Callaway Cars Exterior
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2016 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 by BBM Motorsport
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Note: side-by-side photo of the Chevrolet Corvette Z06 by Callaway and the Chevrolet Corvette Z06 by BBM Motorsport.

Now that we’ve tackled the exterior of the Yenko Corvette Grand Sport, let’s take a look at the interior of the sports car and see what modifications can be doing in that section. Well, there’s not a lot to go by here, but for the purposes of being thorough, the cabin does feature “SYC” and “Yenko” stitchings on the sports seats, steering wheel, and door handles. That’s about it.

On this end, the interior of the Z06 C7.R Edition carries a little bit more personality, even if the interior is largely blacked out. The good news is that all that black is accompanied by yellow accent stitching, an exposed carbon fiber trim, and suede microfiber on the Competition Sport Seats, instrument panel, steering wheel and shifter.

2017 Yenko S/C Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport
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2016 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 C7.R Edition
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Note: side-by-side photo of the interior of the Yenko S/C Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport and the Chevrolet Corvette Z06 C7.R Edition.

Okay, now that we’ve gotten the exterior and interior upgrades of the Yenko Corvette Grand Sport out of the way, we now come to the main event.

We already know that SVE was able to achieve 800 horsepower and 750 pound-feet of torque. The question now is how did the tuner get there. For that, we have to start with SVE’s decision to take the Corvette Grand Sport’s LT1 engine and increase its displacement from 6.2 liters to 6.8 liters. From there, the tuner added a 2.9-liter twin-screw supercharger, larger than the 1.7-liter supercharger that comes with the Corvette Z06.

Once those pieces are put in place, the tuner added number of internal engine components, including a forged 4340 steel crankshaft, H-beam rods, forged aluminum pistons, and a set of CNC-ported-and-polished cylinder heads. In keeping with the method of “sourcing” components from other engines, SVE also took the LT4’s fuel system and injectors and added them into the reconfigured 6.8-liter supercharged V-8 engine, helping the V-8 increase its output to the aforementioned 800 horsepower and 750 pound-feet of torque. Do the math and that adds up to an increase of 340 horses and 385 pound-feet of torque from the Corvette Grand Sport’s standard output of 460 horses and 465 pound-feet of twist.

The good news is that the whole conversion from a Corvette Grand Sport to a Yenko Corvette Grand Sport only takes five days, far quicker than the six months it took SVE to develop the engineering process behind the conversion, not the mention the five months that were simultaneously spent on perfecting the quad exhaust finisher casting.

No performance figures were announced, but considering that the Corvette Grand Sport only takes 3.5 seconds to hit 60 mph from a standstill position, the Yenko Corvette Grand Sport should be able to comfortably cover the same ground in less than three seconds to go with a top speed that can exceed 200 mph without breaking a sweat.

Now let’s compare what SVE was able to achieve with what tuners like Callaway and BBM Motorsport managed to get out of their respective projects for the Corvette Z06. Callaway, for instance, followed a similar blueprint by increasing the turbocharger to 2.3 liters from the stock 1.7-liter unit. The component itself is called the GenThree supercharger and like SVE, one of the main objectives of increasing the size of the supercharger was to eliminate heat soak, a common problem attributed to some Corvette models that inevitably leads to some kind of power loss. But Callaway’s program not only helps eliminate that, it was also able to increase the sports car’s output to 757 horsepower and 777 pound-feet of torque. According to the tuner, its program helps the Corvette sprint from 0 to 60 mph in 2.8 seconds.

Then there’s BBM Motorsport, which took a more traditional route towards its engine upgrade, opting instead to utilize a software upgrade in conjunction with a specially designed air intake system and a Capristo exhaust that includes a CES-control system. The result is an output of 690 horsepower and 672 pound-feet of torque, enough to catapult the Corvette Z06 from 0 to 60 mph in “under three seconds.”

For a closer look at how SVE’s Yenko Corvette matches up with what Callaway and BBM Motorsport have done, check out the table below.

Model/Tuner Horsepower Torque 0 to 60 MPH Top Speed
Yenko Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport 800 horsepower 750 pound-feet 2.5 seconds 220 mph*
Chevrolet Corvette Z06 by Callaway 757 horsepower 777 pound-feet 2.8 seconds 215 mph*
Chevrolet Corvette Z06 by BBM Motorsport 690 horsepower 672 pound-feet under three seconds* more than 200 mph*

Note: *estimate

2017 Yenko S/C Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport Exterior
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As mentioned, Specialty Vehicle Engineering is limiting the Yenko Corvette Grand Sport to just 50 models. It is ironic though that while the car itself is being built in California, it can’t be sold in the state because it isn’t certified by the California Air Resource Board. Those who do have some form of interest in the special edition sports car have a chance to see it make its public unveiling at the Barrett-Jackson auction in Scottsdale, Arizona from January 14 to 22.

No announcement has been made on when the public can start ordering the car, so the best way to get a good idea is to contact SVE directly.

For now, let’s take another look at the Yenko S/C Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport and see if it’s worth the trouble of getting one.

What do you think?
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