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These “Day 2” muscle cars have some quick stories to tell

The Muscle Car and Corvette Nationals (MCACN) puts its best foot forward every year. For 2019, Bob Ashton and his hoard of henchmen brought something for enthusiasts to appreciate and educate with the Day 2 Invitational.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2020/02/10/these-day-2-muscle-cars-have-some-quick-stories-to-tell
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Is the Hugger Orange COPO a Day 2 muscle car though? My understanding of a Day 2 muscle car is that it had additional upgrades from a dealer. By that logic, a 69 Yenko should be, but a 69 COPO without any additional dealer work should not be because it left the factory that way. I think the author was light on details as to why that particular car counts as a Day 2. On the surface, I would argue that it isn’t. Details on what was done to that car would have been better than the same old song and dance everyone uses to explain the COPO program…

Correct me if I’m wrong but wasn’t it Motion Performance that came up with the “ZLX” term, and didn’t that originally mean, or refer to, the #990 cast iron cylinder heads that were open chamber Hi-perf heads like the aluminum #074’s, but a lot cheaper?

This story reminds me of a good friend who was able to have a 1968 Chevrolet Bel Air 2-door stripper built from the factory with the same L72 425 hp 427 installed in the COPO Camaros the following year. As I recall, the factory only touted the milder 385 hp version of the 427 as being available in it’s full-size cars for 1968, but my buddy found a dealer who was able to get his car built with the more potent L72 motor.

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I have run into a couple of those sleeper L72 cars at auction and they are awesome. Seems like a good portion of them have a drag racing history to go along with them which just adds to the cool factor.

“Today, vintage vehicles with period mods—“Day 2”—are a rare twist to the factory stock status quo.”

Doesn’t have to be dealer-prepped.

But take a look at the 1966 brochure:

The rest of the cars make sense to me, the first Camaro not so much. COPO is a factory offered thing, how is that a mod if it left the factory that way. I would’ve led with the period mods that were done after, and barely touch the COPO program. If you don’t know what that was by now, I feel like you’ve been living under a rock. If there was more to that car that was special, I feel like we deserved to know more details. Just my $0.02

The engine of the car is irrelevant to what makes a Day 2 car. But what you can see in the photo are tire and wheel upgrades (affecting stance). I was never able to catch a photo of the engine but it too featured aftermarket upgrades because, as mentioned in the story, it was a street racer for most of its life.

Cool! What about that history? I feel like there was so much more to the story left on the table here! We all know what a COPO is. Tell us why this COPO is better than the others! THAT is a story we need.

The story is a synopsis of the Day 2 display at MCACN. I’ve included a little history about the respective car per the owner. The COPO being “better than the others” is not pertinent to the story.

“…there were no other four-and-a-quarter pony car available from the factory until this came along.”
I assume by “pony car” you are referring to General Motors only, because one could purchase a 1968 Mustang (coupe or sportsroof) with a 428 “FE” engine. Pontiac also got scary close with the 400 in the '68 Firebird. Oh, wait. Were you referring to the horsepower rating? Hmmm…

Few are aware that the first Yenko COPO car was the Corvair Stinger. I owned YS042 back in the 70’s, and can attest that unlike the big-engined cars designed to go fast in a straight line, the Corvair in Stage 2+ was a nearly unparalelled road car, for an American car. It went reasonably well in a straight line, given the small displacement of its engine. Mine, a 4-carb with a lumpy camshaft and other improvements, ran about 200 hp or so, but the car was lightened from stock, and so could punch well above its weight at the Stoplight Grand Prix. It took a pretty small block V8 to get a jump on it.
But it was on the open road that it showed its mettle. A bunch of the roads in the western MN lake district saw some memorable summer drives with me chasing 911 Porsches of the time. It could catch them, but usually couldn’t pass safely. But few could get away from me. I could walk away from most of the other cars.
Part of the handling performance was due to Yenko’s interesting take on how to fit a wide rear tire to the stock wheels. He would take two 5.5" wheels, cut them off-center and reweld them back together, which could then take a wider-than-stock 13" racing tire. I had a set of those for one summer, and their performance was phenomenal. From outside the car, everything looked fairly stock. The wheel wells didn’t need to be enlarged to fit the road course wheels.
The fiberglass engine and luggage compartment lids helped with that. Putting the spare tire and mounting the battery in the front greatly improved balance on the road. The two magnetic engine compartment lid openings improved air cooling at speed. The front air dam and rear spoiler eliminated the sight of a bunch of the 65-66 Corvairs going nose-high down the superslab, especially after ill-informed owners removed the front air dams on the 66 models.
With the headers – both the original Yenko headers and later the IECOs – the engine sound was really good.
I enjoyed driving it, especially since most people who saw it at the time simply presumed it was just another custom car, and nothing really special.
Alas – the car got sold with the divorce in 78. I understand it’s still out there, now living in Arizona if the Yenko Stinger registry is correct.
Nice memory of a really good car.

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[quote=“tthomas960, post:12, topic:32389, full:true”]
“…there were no other four-and-a-quarter pony car available from the factory until this came along.”[/quote]

The exact quote was, “Before 1969, there was no four-and-a-quarter pony car available from the factory—until this arrived.”

And yes, I was referring to horsepower.

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Thank you for the clarification. Excellent article!

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Thank you, Sir!

(and for some reason I need 20 characters so…!)

I guess there wasn’t a single Day 2 FoMoCo product there?

I guess there wasn’t a single Day 2 FoMoCo product there?

Nope