Original story and photos by Hot Rod Magazine
977 Mile Camaro Drag Car Uncovered! Dave Siltman’s 1969 Chevrolet Camaro turned out to be a drag car named Shangri-La; buying it off a friend’s brother and restoring it back to its former glory.
“I opened the picture frame and out falls an old photo, a little bit hazy. You can tell it’s real old. On the back of the picture is a little yellow sticky note that says, ‘This is what the car looked like when I got it from Bill Izykowski in the fall of 1969.'”
Dave Siltman was stunned. The photo was as much a rare find as the car and a window into the past. He could make out “Super Paranoia” lettering on the car. He sat mesmerized and studied the old photo for a minute or so. The photo also revealed the car’s Super Stock class: SS/H.
“I hit pay dirt. I knew exactly what it was.”
Dave’s quest for this 1969 Chevrolet Camaro began more than 10 years earlier. He would kid his friend, Jerry Bandy, about buying the low-mileage Camaro Jerry’s brother owned.
“I’d see Jerry two to three times a week. He owns a used car dealership in Pennsylvania, and I’m a wholesale manager for a new car dealership. I attend car auctions four days a week.”
Dave kept asking if the car was for sale. He didn’t give up. Finally in February 2015 Jerry said yes, his brother did want to sell his Camaro.
Already, Davehad a pretty good idea the Camaro had been a drag car named Shangri-La.
On a cold Saturday in February, Dave drove two miles down a gravel road to a farmhouse in southern Pennsylvania.
When Dennis Bandy opened the old garage, Dave was in for a pleasant surprise. He saw the back end of a ’69 Camaro painted in Dusk Blue with a semi-flat black rear panel, “like a Super Sport should be.”
Uncovered, the car was “very, very dirty” with a bunch of “stinkbugs all over it.”
Dave describes the body as “the best I’d ever seen other than Skip’s orange one,” referring to Skip Lecates’ Camaro we featured in Rare Finds (“Time Capsule Z/28,” Nov. ’14).
The interior, likewise, was “phenomenal.”
Under the hood, the 396 big-block wasn’t original, typical for an old drag car.
“Is this the Shangri-La car?” Dave asked.
“From everything I’ve been told, it is,” Bandy said. He had purchased the Camaro at one of the big Carlisle shows in 2005.
“All he knew was he had a real nice 1969 SS396 Camaro.”
Excited, Dave made his offer. Bandy wanted to think, so they didn’t have a deal right away. Dave could do a little more research.
The two men negotiated a deal on Monday. Dave picked up the car, including the old picture frame. He wouldn’t have messed with the frame except the glass was cracked. The old picture fell out, and Dave tracked down Bill Izykowski and began piecing together the car’s history. Izykowski raced Super Paranoia one summer, then sold his ride because he took a job as a driver for Joe Scotto and Paul Blevins.
Barry Curran was the second owner. He raced the SS under the name Shangri-La for two years.
Curran sold the car with no engine or transmission to Mike PaDula, who had Ron Hammerly from Hamburg, Pennsylvania, do a custom paint job.
PaDula sold the Camaro as a roller to Bob Moon, who also raced the car as Shangri-La, but now with a different paint scheme.
In 2005, Dennis Bandy bought the car painted Dusk Blue. Bandy scarcely drove the car, running the odometer from 800 odd miles to 977.
Dave Siltman is a true drag racing enthusiast. He plans to put the car back to the way Izykowski raced the car in Super Stock.
The engine is not matching-numbers, but an era-correct 396. The original four-speed has been replaced with an automatic.
Dave’s plan is to collect all the correct vintage Super Stock parts before taking the car apart. He’s already gathered many of those parts, including a Muncie four-speed, Sun gauges, a bolt-in rollbar, the correct shifter, Cragar wheels, Hooker headers, and more.
<img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-2107" src="http://blog.rickscamaros.com/wp-content/rickscamaros/uploads/2015/08/cam-7.jpg" alt="cam 7" width="600" height="399" srcset="http://blog.rickscamaros.com/wp-content/rickscamaros/uploads/2015/08/cam-7.jpg 600w, http://blog.rickscamaros.com/wp-content/rickscamaros/uploads/2015/08/cam-7-300x200.jpg 300w" sizes="(max-width: 600px) 100vw, 600px" />
To help in his quest, Dave showed his rare find at the York Reunion, in York, Pennsylvania, where by plan Bill Izykowski joined them.
Dave also talked to Bob Moon, who ran the Camaro as Shangri-La at Gainesville and the U.S. Nationals.
Meeting the people involved racing this car many years ago is a huge part of the fun. This Camaro is loaded with history.
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