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sYc 01-08-2006 07:29 PM

Early Dick Harrell funny cars
As many of you know, several days a go an attack was launched by members of another website, aimed at not only discrediting my funnycar, but no doubt hoping to embarrass myself and the sYc along the way. It was obvious the attack was well orchestrated and pre-meditated, in the planning stages for weeks, maybe even months. Not only did they have someone from their site setup with an anonymous user name to do most of the dirty work (to prevent possible legal action), but they had a couple of “experts” standing by, with scripts in hand. Their evidence consisted of a bunch of photos which A. were hid behind closed doors, and still are, and B. 99% of the photos were of cars other then mine.
In the beginning, I will admit I was slow in responding to their allegations, mainly due to the fact I could not view their evidence. Once I was given brief access to their site, I was ready to respond, and when I did, it seemed to cause confusion in their camp, as even their so called “experts” could not get their stories straight, such as one saying it had a door, another saying it did not.
And as I was trying to explain things, a couple of folks got involved who were missing the point I was trying to make, which made it more difficult for me to explain my side of things. That is why I am starting this thread, to explain my side, without interruption. The thread will not be open, but anyone who would like to discuss things with me are certainly welcome to do so by PM, email or even phone, as several folks did the first time around.
For the past several years I have said that during the 1968 race season, Dick campaigned two flip top funnycars (not counting the Kirby car). Dave Libby and I have discussed this on numerous occasions. The following posts contain the evidence I feel backs this up. Whether you agree with what I am saying in whole, or in part, hopefully it will be both entertaining and informative.

sYc 01-08-2006 07:30 PM

Re: Early Dick Harrell funny cars
The first funny car DH had was a 1967 Camaro, a steel bodied, altered wheel base car, built by Don Hardy, using square tubing under a body in white (basically a shell), The driver sat near the door, as in a normal car, unlike was in the case of “center steer” cars. The car featured an extra long fiberglass nose, with other pieces out of ‘glass as well, such as the rear deck lid.
This car was campaigned by Dick in 1967 and portions of 1968. It began as an injected car, later having the injection setup replaced with a blower. In the majority of pictures it will be wearing its familiar paint scheme consisting of a Red body with a black top, had Yenko on the side and can be easily recognized by the Cragars on the front. After being sold and then repossessed, it wore a yellowish paint scheme.
As was the trend, even though purpose built as a racecar, it still retained many of the attributes of a real car, such as a vinyl roof (fake) and taillights.

sYc 01-08-2006 07:31 PM

Re: Early Dick Harrell funny cars
Now to the fun part, 1968 and the flip tops. IMO, there were three, the red one which I will call 1968-1, the tri-colored burgundy “door car” which I will call 1968-2 and the Jim Kirby car which was a near twin to car 1968-2.

Car 1968-1 started out as an all red car, making its debut, at least in the photos I have seen, at the Winter Nationals in Long Beach, CA in late January or early February, 1968. Looking at the first picture, it appears the car is still somewhat under construction as seen by the lack of a rear spoiler and an unconventional looking parachute bracket. Take special note of no rear spoiler and what appear to be real taillights. Being one of the first one-piece Camaro bodies to be produced, very simple in design, with a few imperfections. This car was to be painted Black over Red as part of a special promotion Fred Gibb and Dick Harrell were working on, and also to mirror the look of the car it was replacing, the ’67 steel bodied car, including black top, door handle and real taillights.

Because so few pictures of this car exist, either in era magazines or photo collections, evidently the car was not raced at many major races. Who knows why? It was reported that early on this car did not handle way, maybe that prompted Dick to have another car built.

Don Hardy, possibly the first chassis for a one-piece Camaro to come out of his shop, built the chassis for this car. And because they were built one at a time, and there were no rules governing the construction of these cars, chassis builders were able to “tweak” each new chassis they built, meaning each one could vary slightly from the last one built by the same manufacture.

sYc 01-08-2006 07:32 PM

Re: Early Dick Harrell funny cars
The next group of photos will still be about car 1968-1, now Black over Red, rear spoiler added, and pay special attention to driver's side door area.

sYc 01-08-2006 07:32 PM

Re: Early Dick Harrell funny cars
In black and white photos, this car (1968-1) will appear to be light a colored car.

Not only does the car on the rack appear light in color, car 1968-1, but also there is no evidence of a door, judging by the interior.

sYc 01-08-2006 07:33 PM

Re: Early Dick Harrell funny cars
Now to car 1968-2, the Tri-colored burgundy car. First of all, text from a couple of period magazines.

sYc 01-08-2006 07:34 PM

Re: Early Dick Harrell funny cars
Now to pictures of car 1968-2, the burgundy car, taking note of what appears to be a molded in spoiler w/vanes and molded in rear taillights, and take special note of the drivers side door area (opening door).
According to Dick, this car cost $12,000.00 and took 8 weeks to build, and since DH had a similar car to drive, Charlie Therwanger would drive the new car. The tri-colored burgundy paint was sprayed by Corky Larson from Phoenix, AZ, on one of the most refined one-piece fiberglass bodies of its day. Judging by the large number of pictures of this car that appear in magazines and photo collections, this car was the one that represented the DHPC at the majority of the major races. Because of the popularity of this car, its appearance, etc, would explain why Kirby’s car was painted to match and why this paint scheme would be used on both the '69 funny car and ZL-1. .

sYc 01-08-2006 07:35 PM

Re: Early Dick Harrell funny cars
Notice how dark car 1968-2 appears in black and white.

sYc 01-08-2006 07:36 PM

Re: Early Dick Harrell funny cars
Now to the Jim Kirby car. In the beginning this car was campaigned by Jim Kirby out of Fenton, MO (St. Louis) with no direct ties to Dick Harrell. Jim was running an injected big black until DH approached him sometime during the '68 race season, offering to give him a blown big block in exchange for painting the car in 'DH colors, which at the time was burgundy. If I am not mistaken, this car has a molded spoiler and taillights, same as car 1968-2.

Even though painted the same as car 1968-2, Jim’s is easy to spot because it will have Jim’s name on the front fenders.

sYc 01-08-2006 07:36 PM

Re: Early Dick Harrell funny cars

Now, how to properly, and easily ID the cars.

And, where the 4 cars are today?

1. The 1967 steel-bodied will have an extended nose, will usually have Yenko on the side and will almost always will have Cragars on the front. Driver seated next to the door. This car is under going restoration in Michigan.

2. Car 1968-1 will either be Red or Red/Black, (in B/W photos light in color), will have a driver’s side door handle but no opening door, real taillights and either no rear spoiler or one added. And of course, at times, a black (dark) top. This car is located in Alton, MO,

3. 1968-2 is pictured below, the body on a Loggee chassis, with the Hardy chassis either used for Dick’s 1969 car or his 1970 car. Look for a opening door, molded in spoiler and taillights, will be some sort of burgundy in color pictures and dark in B/W photos.

4. The Kirby car will resemble the more defined car 1968-2, will be a shade of burgundy in color photos and dark in B/W photos. Will have Jim Kirby on the front fender. This car is in Georgia.

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