It’s tradition to look back at the end of each year, both in joy for what we’ve accomplished and in reflection for those who are no longer with us. As in years past, the list of those in the hobby who’ve died in the past 12 months is a lengthy one, and though they’re no longer with us, their memory lives on in what they’ve accomplished over the years. http://blog.hemmings.com/index.php/2013/12/27/looking-back-on-a-few-we-lost-in-2013/
If it involved going fast in the postwar years and originated in Southern California, chances are good that fabrication guru Phil Remington had a hand in it. Over the span of his career, Remington was involved in everything from racing hot rods on dry lakes to building Indy cars, Lance Reventlow’s Scarab, Carroll Shelby’s Cobra and even Ford’s GT-40. Remington died on February 9, age 92.
Many of today’s professional racers spend an entire career within the confines of a single motorsport, but Florida’s Art Malone was anything but a one-trick-pony. His career in motorsports began with racing stock cars on local dirt tracks, but when longtime friend Don Garlits was burned in a crash, Malone stepped in to drive the Swamp Rat I. Malone was the first to lap Daytona in excess of 180 MPH, and the last to campaign a supercharged Novi in the Indianapolis 500. Malone died on March 29, age 76.
. An artist who painted with a pinstriping brush and sculpted with a shaping hammer, Dean Jeffries is probably best known for his creation of the Pontiac GTO-based Monkeemobile, the oddly asymmetric Mantaray, or Chili Catallo’s 1932 Ford three-window coupe, as seen on the cover of the Beach Boys Little Deuce Coupe LP. A former employee of George Barris (with whom Jeffries had an ongoing feud), Jeffries also painted the “Li’l Bastard” nickname on James Dean’s Porsche 550, and painted the first Cobra for Carrol Shelby. Jeffries died on May 5, age 80.
As the former owner and CEO of Checker Motors, Markin grew the company’s portfolio to include an interest in Great Dane Trailers, insurer American Country Insurance Company, and a metal stamping company that supplied the Detroit Big Three. It was this diversity that allowed the company to stay afloat, even after the last Checker Cab was built in 1982. Ultimately, the near-collapse of the domestic auto industry in 2008 eliminated much of Checker’s business, and the company filed for bankruptcy in early 2009. Markin died on May 30, age 82.
. In the mid-1960s, Walt Arfons, his half-brother Art and Craig Breedlove were the biggest names in land speed racing on the Bonneville Salt Flats. Walt Arfons is credited with creating the first jet-engined dragster, and with brother Art (with whom he had a tenuous relationship) campaigned a dragster known as the Green Monster. Later, with Goodyear sponsorship, Walt Arfons would campaign a series of cars called the Wingfoot Express, while brother Art ran against him in evolutions of the Green Monster land speed record car. For three days in 1964, Walt Arfons held the land speed record of 413 MPH, before it was recaptured by his brother, Art. Walt Arfons died on June 4, age 96.
. Few patrons of the Chun Mee Chinese Restaurant in Delano, Minnesota, knew that proprietor John Chun had a past that involved working as a designer for Shelby American. Credited with styling the 1968 Shelby G.T. 350, and with designing the now-iconic coiled-cobra logo for the brand (used with minor variations to this day), the soft-spoken Chun later worked as a designer for Chrysler and for Tonka Toys. Chun died on July 6, age 84.
. For decades, the unwritten prerequisite for running the Ford Motor Company was a surname in common with the founder, Henry Ford. In 1977, Henry Ford II terminated Lee Iacocca, appointing Phillip Caldwell to the vacated position. One year later, Caldwell was named president, and in 1980, he became the first chairman of the company outside of the Ford family. Under his watch, Ford would launch such memorable vehicles as the Fox-platform Mustangs, the 1983 Thunderbird and the Pinto replacement, the front-drive Escort. Caldwell died on July 10, age 93.
. An iconic Southern California television pitchman, dealership-owner Cal Worthington elevated the act of selling cars to an art form. Typically clad in Western attire, complete with cowboy boots and a 10-gallon hat, Worthington would introduce his dog Spot in nearly every pitch. One time, Spot was a hippopotamus, another time Spot was a gorilla, or a chicken, or a lion; in fact, the only consistency to Worthington’s beloved ads was that Spot was never a dog. Worthington died on September 8, age 92.
. When Eiji Toyoda joined the Toyoda Automatic Loom Works in 1936, the textile equipment manufacturer had already produced its first automobile, the AA. As Toyoda rose through the company ranks, there was even talk of a joint venture between Ford and Toyota; however, World War II prevented this from occurring. In 1950, Eiji Toyoda was sent to the United States, to learn the manufacturing methods behind Ford’s successful River Rouge plant. His observations (and ideas for improvement) would later form the basis of the Toyota Production System, or kaizen (change for the better) manufacturing. Toyoda was instrumental in bringing the Japanese brand to the United States, and later established new manufacturing facilities (such as the former NUMMI plant in California, a joint venture with GM) around the world. Toyoda died on September 17, age 100.
. Best known as the stuntman or stunt coordinator behind such car-guy movies as Smokey and the Bandit, Cannonball Run and Stroker Ace, Hal Needham’s resume included participation in over 300 movies (10 of which Needham directed) and 4,500 television episodes. His early years were spent in poverty, as the son of a sharecropper in the deep South, but Needham would go on to success as a paratrooper during the Korean war and later, as Hollywood’s best-known stuntman. In his 30-year onscreen career, Needham reportedly broke 56 bones, twice suffering fractures to his spine. Needham died on October 25, age 82.
Other notable deaths in 2013 included fuel-injection pioneer Stu Hilborn
, Indy 500 mechanical genius George Bignotti
, former Chrysler executive Stephan Sharf
, author A.B. Shuman
, Tucker collector David Cammack
, Edsel designer Roy Brown
, Crane Cams founder Harvey J. Crane
, F1 driver and Le Mans champion Jose Froilan Gonzalez
, photographer Jae Bueno
, racing driver and team manager John Coombs
, hot rod innovator Fred Carrillo
, Vanishing Point director Richard Sarafian
, Auburn Cord Duesenberg Club founding member Bob McEwan
, and motorsports manager Ken Gregory
entirely from Kurt Ernst at http://blog.hemmings.com/index.php/2013/12/27/looking-back-on-a-few-we-lost-in-2013/
PS, holy moly... Kurt doled out some incredible cool praise when he included Jae Bueno among these giants of industry and innovation