1961: Dick Harrell & Grady Bryant - Back In The Day

This story is about two diehard, legendary Chevy drag racers. Each went on to campaign fuel-injected, 427 match race Chevy Funny Cars. Dick Harrell became known as "Mr. Chevrolet" by the mid-’60s.—Doug Marion.

Doug Marion Mar 7, 2013 0 Comment(s)
Dick Harrell Grady Bryant 1961 Chevrolet Impala 348 409 Trophies 1/4

"In 1961, Dick Harrell and I bought new Chevys, a 350hp, 3x2, 348 for A/Stock and a 409 (1-of-142) for Super/Stock. From Carlsbad, New Mexico, we ran at dragstrips in New Mexico, Oklahoma, Arizona, and Texas. The only thing on our collective mind was how to keep winning, plus go quicker and faster. We had no permanent crew. We split all costs 50/50.

Dick Harrell Grady Bryant 1961 Chevrolet Impala 348 409 Engine Bay 2/4

"How do two racers compete—and without tow cars? Easy, we towed the 348 with the 409 using a big, long chain hooked to brackets on both cars. We towed up to 500 miles every weekend. We never crashed or even touched cars. Steering and braking the car-in-tow was not for anyone tired. Many Sundays, we got no sleep. We’d tow home from afar just in time to go to work Monday morning. What a wild time it was. We had years of drag racing experience from the ’50s in tuning and driving and seldom lost.

Dick Harrell Grady Bryant 1961 Chevrolet Impala 409 Engine 3/4

"We’d carry our 4.56:1 Posi third members in the trunk of my car. When we got to the track, we’d use the factory bumper jacks from both cars to raise the rear off the ground so we could pull the axles and swap third members. Come late Sunday afternoon or early evening, we do it all over again so we could tow home with highway gears. At one race, Dick broke his T-10 four-speed, so I yanked mine out for him to use. Then someone else lent me his so I could race. When we both won class, we’d have to run each other in Stock Eliminator. That got a little hairy. We changed transmissions in both cars 12 times that weekend. That wasn’t easy, but we did it to race."

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