Updated: Jan 25, 2021
AutoWorld continues to bring the ultra-rare cars from the pages of COPO to life, this time releasing a a 1:18 scale diecast of a 1972 Chevrolet Vega Yenko Stinger. The new miniature car is modeled after the Man-O-War Red hatchback that was photographed and highlighted as the feature vehicle for Chapter Ten in the COPO book. That full-size vehicle is one of less than a handful remaining and was sold new at DeNooyer Chevrolet in Albany, New York. It has undergone a full and extensive restoration, resulting in one of the finest examples in the country of how these modified machines would have looked when leaving Don Yenko's dealership.
The limited edition detailed desktop model captures its essence, featuring the same vivid red paint, steerable front wheels and opening doors, trunk and hood.
The four-cylinder engine has the same 'Fly-Eye' air cleaner installed, which was offered through Don's Stinger catalogue of aftermarket parts and one of the way he sought to make the humble commuter go faster. The valve cover also boasts the Yenko crest, which in this application, was not a sticker, but rather a cast part created at the Atlas Foundry. It marked one of Don's most ambitious initiatives to brand his products.
Inside the simple and straightforward cabin, there's the big car's correct bucket seats, woodgrain dash inlay and the floor-mounted 4-speed manual shifter. Around back, there's the generous cargo area the hatchback variant of the Vega afforded as well as the blacked out tail panel and silver Yenko crest, affixed between the taillights.
And, it wouldn't be a Yenko Stinger without the appropriate exterior branding and the diecast has it. There's the appropriate black side striping and lettering and of course, the hood spear, which was different from the treatment that came on the Vega GT. Imaginative Don was always looking for ways to have his stuff standout on the streets.
The COPO Vega story is a seldom heard tale but one vitally important to understand Don's drive to create performance machines that could keep pace with the current trends and automotive climate. Chapter 10 in this COPO book is the most complete body of journalistic work documenting these unique vehicles and now, thanks to this diecast, enthusiasts have another tangible way of preserving and enjoying their story.
The model, part of the American Muscle Series, can be purchased on Auto World's site here. The company also has a two-pack of 1:64 vehicles, featuring this same red Vega, as well a 1968 Yenko Camaro, also featured in COPO.