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1969 Chevrolet Camaro SS396 Built by Dick Harrell at SEMA 2013

Classic Industries displays its recent purchase from Barrett-Jackson

By , Photography by

Unique Camaros are a dime-a-dozen at SEMA in Las Vegas, Nevada, but that doesn’t mean their stories aren’t worth telling. While we walked the 2013 SEMA show floor last week, we stumbled upon this 1969 Chevrolet Camaro built by Dick Harrell in the Classic Industries booth. What we noticed first were the signatures on the hood, the one-off emblems, and traction bars. This was definitely an F-Body worth stopping to take a closer look at.

Built by “Mr. Chevrolet,” Dick Harrell, for the Flying Dutchman funny car crew member, John Penso, this 1969 Chevy Camaro SS396 saw a lot of America. The car was originally sent to Harrell to be modified; it was then driven from Harrell’s shop in Kansas City, Missouri, to Penso’s home in California. From there, the car raced as a sleeper for years. The “Built by Dick Harrell” emblems stayed in the glove box to fool fellow racers, and the stock hood SS396 hood was replaced with the current Stinger hood when it flew-off at high speeds.

Originally a SS396 car, the Dick Harrell treatment was given to this 1969 Chevrolet Camaro to beef-up its ability to race. An iron-block, 427ci engine was dropped between the fenders with a ZL1 camshaft. The rearend was given 4:56:1 gears to help it hook, and traction bars helped it grip. The fuel tank and fuel neck-filler tube were relocated to the trunk. Flared wheel openings helped stuff larger tires under the car. To finish the customization, the car was painted Candy Blue.

This 1969 Chevrolet Camaro SS396 had one rough ride over the years. Allegedly, the car traveled to Hawaii and further, before being proven it was indeed a Dick Harrell built Camaro. Once the documents were in order, it came back to the mainland and underwent a frame-off restoration with the installation of Classic Industries parts. The Dick Harrell Camaro was purchased at Barrett-Jackson in Scottsdale, Arizona, during a 2013 auction. Founder and CEO of Classic Industries, Jeff Leonard, bought the car and will keep it in his collection. We’re certainly glad to see it in the right hands.

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75 comments
Dean L. Thomas
Dean L. Thomas

not real thrilled about the hood. love the blue. my nova is ascot blue.

John Foist
John Foist

It is truly an iconic car that some people are unfortunately not aware of! Absolutely beautiful.

Frank Kelly
Frank Kelly

Didn't read all comments but that was my 1st reaction to the hood also, a vette scoop. And a Mustang scoop is much nicer also. JMHO

Frank Kelly
Frank Kelly

Sorry but such silly choices, anyone that wouldn't choose the 427ci big-block should stick to their bicycle. Sorry JMHO

Craig Maiorana
Craig Maiorana

I dont think they had the hood up because of the signatures on the hood ... if you would like a shot of the engine William Schmitz let me know and ill take one when i go to the warehouse

Craig Maiorana
Craig Maiorana

This car is anything BUT ...just another camaro ... its a street monster built for knocking the dust off of anyone who dares take it for granted ... and built by one of the baddest aftermarket tuners of the day

James Vickers
James Vickers

ok love car not color yenko hood ok rims rock but back rims too small for 427 need deep dish and l-60s

Tracy Freel
Tracy Freel

1969 Chevy Camaro is my favorite car!! love the color.

Rod Launer
Rod Launer

I like all of it, I graduated in 1969, this was state of the art back then, it's still bad ass.

Nick Varnalis
Nick Varnalis

It's Camaro. I seen a hundred of these at every car show I go too. big deal.

Frank Coronado
Frank Coronado

There is nothing mustang on this car!! GM all the way....learn your cars before you talk about them...

Craig Maiorana
Craig Maiorana

Has nobody ever seen an a&a fiberglass stinger hood ? .... corvette? .... i dont see mustang

Don Drury
Don Drury

The hood looks like a Mustang

Douglas Hollen
Douglas Hollen

Everything!!! A Graet part of the American muscle

Michael Hitt
Michael Hitt

Love the hood, but have to go.with the 427 big block.

Matt Cash
Matt Cash

Everything except the sting ray hood

Arnold Garden
Arnold Garden

a camaro with a mustang style hood on it interesting

Adam Hair
Adam Hair

A Corvette hood on a Camaro looks silly. But overall I like it!

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