Dick Harrell, Drag Racing Legend – 1932-1971
We are proud to salute Dick Harrell, drag racing pioneer and all-around good guy who earned the title of “Mr Chevrolet,” for his profound contributions to the classic car hobby and muscle car culture.
Dick Harrell was born in Phoenix, Arizona and lived there until he was 5 years old. He and his family then moved to Carlsbad, New Mexico, where he resided until 1965. Cars were very much a part of Dick Harrell’s early life. Dick first gained racing acclaim in the Carlsbad area at the tender age of 14 where he became deeply involved with sprint cars. He began tuning and later proved to be a capable driver, racing throughout the Southwest. At age 17, Dick started driving jalopies on a dirt track near Carlsbad. By the early 1960’s, Dick Harrell was a racing champion, setting records left and right in Chevrolet cars that he had re-engineered himself. When General Motors discontinued its racing program in the mid 1960’s, most racers abandoned Chevrolet in favor of Ford and Chrysler models. Undaunted by GM’s decision, Dick Harrell continued racing Chevrolets even without factory support. During this period of time, if a Chevy was competing in a professional drag race, you could bet that Dick Harrell was probably involved. He was relentless against the bandwagon of factory-backed racers, forging his reputation and earning the nickname “Mr. Reflexes” among others, but no nickname was more appropriate than “Mr. Chevrolet.”