Big, brash and brutal – all the things that the vast majority of cars on display at the annual Retromobile in Paris are not.
These are the precise reasons why this bluff and basic competition Chevrolet caught our eye, as it was in direct contrast to the soft, beautiful flowing forms of the many striking Delahayes, Delages et al gracing the vast exhibition halls this year at the Porte de Versailles.
This distinctive Camaro had seen previous action in France, having competed successfully in the 1982 Le Mans 24 Heures (car number 81) alongside a sister car, with the Detroit duo entered by American oil field specialists Strategraph Inc,
NASCAR driver and Strategraph executive Billy Hagen shared the Chevrolet with Gene Felton, a successful SCCA and IMSA racer, with the this Camaro finishing the 1982 endurance race 17th overall, and taking second place in the GTO class. Built by competition specialists Tex Racing Enterprises, using a Dennis Frings chassis, this Camaro was run by Hagen from 1982 until the 1984 season.
In addition to running at Le Mans, this big bruiser won the inaugural GP Miami IMSA GTO Grand Prix in February 1984. The car also won its class at the Sebring 12 Hours where it finished eighth overall, and took a class victory at Daytona too.
Following a major restoration, the Chevrolet has now been returned to its original Le Mans livery, including the sponsor stickers for Strategraph, plus Jean Charles Chevrolet, the dealership in Paris that still remains in business today.
Photography by Tom Shaxson