1970 Chevy Yenko Deuce Nova: Unveiling the Mutant Muscle Car

In this episode of Muscle Car of the Week, we delve into the fascinating world of the 1970 Chevy Yenko Deuce Nova. This bright sunflower yellow mutant muscle car holds a unique place in automotive history. In this article, we’ll explore the development, features, and significance of the Yenko Deuce Nova, shedding light on its rise to fame. Let’s dive in!

Rising Insurance Rates and the Yenko Deuce Nova

During the 1970s, rising insurance rates for muscle cars became a significant concern. Insurance companies were imposing large premiums on vehicles with high-performance designations due to the increase in accidents, injuries, and insurance payouts. Don Yenko, along with his team at his Canonsburg, Pennsylvania Chevrolet dealership, recognized this issue and devised a clever solution.

The Yenko Deuce Nova stood out from other muscle cars of its time due to its unassuming appearance. Don Yenko chose the Chevrolet Nova, an economy car, as the base for his high-performance creation. By selecting a nondescript vehicle, Yenko hoped to avoid drawing attention from insurance companies and their premium hikes.

The Basic Hot Rod Formula

The Yenko Deuce Nova followed the tried and tested formula of a powerful engine coupled with a lightweight car. The Nova, originally designed as an economy car, offered a solid build without excessive emphasis on style. It was exclusively available as a two-door post sedan, lacking the sporty convertible or hardtop options.

The lightweight construction of the Nova, combined with a rigid unibody shell and sedan pillar posts, provided a solid platform for a high-performance vehicle. The sedan pillar posts acted as built-in roll cage supports, offering an additional safety feature not found in other cars of the era. Additionally, the Nova shared many suspension, brake, and driveline components with the Camaro, further enhancing its performance capabilities.

The Legendary LT1 350 V8 Engine

The Yenko Deuce Nova was renowned for its iconic engine, the legendary LT1 350 V8. Considered one of the finest first-generation Chevy small-block engines ever created, the LT1 boasted impressive features. Its design included high-revving capabilities, a high-compression ratio, an aluminum intake manifold, a special Holley carburetor, and a performance camshaft. With a remarkable power output of 360 horsepower and 350 foot-pounds of torque, the Yenko Deuce Nova delivered exhilarating performance on the open road.

The heart of the Yenko Deuce Nova, the LT1 350 V8 engine, defined its exceptional reputation. This powertrain was highly regarded for its remarkable characteristics, showcasing advanced engineering and performance-enhancing components. The inclusion of a high-revving design, combined with a high-compression ratio, allowed the engine to generate impressive power. The LT1’s aluminum intake manifold, along with a specially designed Holley carburetor and performance camshaft, ensured optimal performance and a thrilling driving experience. With 360 horsepower and 350 foot-pounds of torque at its disposal, the Yenko Deuce Nova left a lasting impression on the roads.

At the core of the Yenko Deuce Nova’s dominance lay its legendary powerplant: the LT1 350 V8 engine. This engine’s reputation was built on its exceptional characteristics, making it a standout among first-generation Chevy small-block engines. Its high-revving capability and high-compression design set it apart, while the aluminum intake manifold, special Holley carburetor, and performance camshaft contributed to its outstanding performance. With an impressive power output of 360 horsepower and 350 foot-pounds of torque, the Yenko Deuce Nova delivered an exhilarating and unforgettable driving experience.

Impressive Performance on the Street

The Yenko Deuce Nova proved its prowess on the streets with its impressive drivetrain. It was equipped with a heavy-duty clutch and a Muncie 4-speed transmission, ensuring optimal power delivery and control. The combination of a 4.10:1 gear ratio and a 12-volt rear-end contributed to its explosive acceleration, allowing it to achieve impressive mid-13-second quarter-mile times.

Among the limited production of 175 Yenko Deuce Novas, only 122 were fitted with the coveted four-speed transmission, making them even more desirable to muscle car enthusiasts. Furthermore, the eye-catching sunflower yellow color was an exclusive choice for a mere 10 of these remarkable vehicles. The rarity and distinctiveness of these features add to the allure and collectability of the Yenko Deuce Nova.

The Interior

The interior of the Yenko Deuce Nova was designed with a focus on performance and driver-centric features. Stepping inside the car, you would find a cockpit-style layout that enveloped the driver in a sporty atmosphere. The seats were designed to provide excellent support during high-performance driving, ensuring both comfort and stability. With its straightforward and purposeful design, the interior of the Yenko Deuce Nova reflected the car’s muscular character.

The dashboard of the Yenko Deuce Nova featured a clean and functional layout. The instrument cluster boasted clear and easily readable gauges, providing the driver with essential information at a glance. Attention to detail was evident in the choice of materials and finishes, with a combination of durable materials and stylish accents. Despite its focus on performance, the interior also offered some creature comforts, allowing drivers to enjoy their exhilarating journeys in style.

Storage space was optimized in the Yenko Deuce Nova, with cleverly designed compartments for keeping personal items within reach. The inclusion of modern amenities, such as an audio system, enhanced the overall driving experience. While the emphasis was on performance, the interior of the Yenko Deuce Nova provided a comfortable and functional space for drivers to immerse themselves in the thrill of the road.

Overall, the interior of the Yenko Deuce Nova combined practicality, performance-oriented features, and a touch of style. It created an environment that enhanced the driving experience and allowed drivers to fully appreciate the car’s powerful capabilities. Whether cruising down the highway or tearing up the track, the Yenko Deuce Nova’s interior provided a perfect blend of comfort and functionality, making it an exceptional muscle car for enthusiasts.

Rarity and Collectibility

In the present day, the Yenko Deuce Nova has become a prized gem for muscle car enthusiasts. Its value and collectibility have skyrocketed, thanks to its rarity and unique attributes. The Yenko Deuce Nova stands out in a crowd with its distinctive appearance, combining the unassuming design of the Chevrolet Nova with the touch of Yenko’s high-performance enhancements.

The combination of rarity, eye-catching aesthetics, and outstanding performance makes the Yenko Deuce Nova a highly sought-after vehicle among collectors and enthusiasts alike. Its limited production numbers and the exclusivity of certain features, such as the sunflower yellow paint option, contribute to its desirability. Owning and driving a Yenko Deuce Nova offers a truly unique and exhilarating experience, where the power and history of this legendary muscle car come together in perfect harmony.


The 1970 Chevy Yenko Deuce Nova represents a fascinating chapter in muscle car history. Its creation was a response to the rising insurance rates for high-performance vehicles, resulting in the birth of a mutant muscle car. With its unassuming exterior and exhilarating performance, the Yenko Deuce Nova captivates car enthusiasts to this day.

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