The Yenko Name Returns on an 800-Horsepower Yenko Tahoe

Love your Chevy Tahoe or Suburban, but wish had just a bit more power? What about 800 horsepower? Specialty Vehicle Engineering is resurrecting the storied Yenko name from 1960s muscle cars and building new 700- and 800-horsepower versions of the Tahoe and Suburban that you can buy brand new from your local dealer.  

The big bummer? SVE will only make 50 of each Yenko-badged SUV.

What is added to the Tahoe and Suburban?

2023 Yenko Tahoe by SVE | SVE

The 2023 Yenko S/C Tahoe and suburban gets a new aluminum engine block, forged crankshaft and pistons, special exhaust and a supercharger. Together, there are two packages in either 700 horsepower or 800 horsepower SUVs. Options include a sport suspension, body color grille and trim packages, a lowered suspension, and a thicker sway bar for better handling. Inside, the seats get a 1960s-themed makeover, too, with either a hound’s tooth pattern or quilted leather seats, each with Yenko embroidered on them.

Basically, SVE’s Yenko mods turn a Tahoe and Suburban with the 5.3-liter V8 into a 700-horsepower SUV. The 800-horsepower versions come from a modified version of Chevy’s 6.2-liter V8. SVE also mods the GMC Yukon and Yukon XL with the same horsepower ratings, but they don’t get the Yenko name. Instead, they’re simply called the Sport Edition. SVE also modified a 2001 Chevy Camaro to make 1,050 horsepower.

What is Specialty Vehicle Engineering?

2023 Yenko Tahoe in black
2023 Yenko Tahoe | SVE

Specialty Vehicle Engineering, formerly known as SLP, is what is known as a “second stage” vehicle manufacturer. Generally, a second-stage builder is a company that adds on to a base chassis of a vehicle, like a school bus or RV manufacturer, but they can’t sell the vehicle without a manufacturer dealer. SVE was known as SLP for years and it was famous for making performance versions of Camaros and Firebirds that were sold new through dealers. Today, the company makes special supercharger kits and other performance goodies for a variety of vehicles.

What’s so special about the Yenko name?

In the 1960s and 1970s Chevrolet dealer Don Yenko customized cars and made some of the fastest Novas, Corvairs and Camaros of the day for racing. Without getting into all of the special details, they were essentially special-order cars that came from GM with Yenko-specific options. They were often called COPO cars. Many times, Yenko would swap regular motors for Corvette motors and add extras like a fiberglass hood and special wheels. Today, they are some of the most-coveted, most-expensive, muscle cars.

How much power does a 2023 Chevy Tahoe have?

A 2023 Chevrolet Tahoe in white on a road.
2023 Chevy Tahoe | Chevrolet

The 2023 Chevy Tahoe and Suburban, as well as GMC’s the Yukon and Yukon XL, aren’t lacking for power. The standard 5.3-liter V8 makes 355 horsepower. The mighty 6.2-liter V8 makes 420 horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque, which matches the available diesel for torque. Though SVE doesn’t give towing figures, GM says the Tahoe can tow up to 8,400 pounds with a trailering package.

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