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Those We Lost 2021

by | Jan 9, 2022

Those We Lost In 2021

John Hogan, a UK-based advertising executive who played a key role in bringing multinational corporate tobacco sponsorship to the major racing series in the 1970s, principally in Formula One but also the CART Indy Car series.  Hogan’s death at age 76 was attributed to COVID-19.

Pat Patrick, whose racing team won the Indianapolis 500 three times, twice with Gordon Johncock and again with Emerson Fittipaldi.  Patrick was also one of the founders of Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) along with Roger Penske, which wrestled control of Indy car racing away from the United States Auto Club (USAC).

Howard Liebengood Jr., a racer whose accomplishments included winning the 2000 Motorola Cup ST championship.  Liebengood joined the U.S. Capitol Police in 2005 and took part in the defense of Capitol Hill during the January 6 riot in Washington D.C.  It was reported that Liebengood, age 51, died of his own hand following the siege, compounding the tragedy of that event.

Jerry Wiegert, described at times as an engineer, an entrepreneur, a charlatan and a con artist, who shepherded his “Vector” supercar through the decades without ever having attained sufficient funding nor even modest production goals.  Only a handful of Vectors, if that many, were ever built, but that never stopped Wiegert from promising the moon.

Carter Willey, a hands-on expert in the world of Citroën automobiles as well as other makes less common in the US, including Tatra and Trabant, and even the earliest Subarus sold in America.

Bill Neale, a painter and illustrator whose works appeared often in Car & Driver, Road & Track, and Automobile, and whose watercolors artwork graced posters for races and car shows.  Neale’s work was authentic and evocative without being obsessively realistic nor highly stylized.

Dave Power, who with his wife, Julie, founded J.D. Power & Associates in 1968.  Bestowing product quality awards, the company’s first intended audience was the auto industry, with Toyota becoming one of its earliest clients.  Today the company surveys quality in a vast array of industries.  His wife passed away in 2002, and Power sold the company to McGraw-Hill in 2005.

Remy Julienne, the French-born stunt driver and coordinator who spent more than 50 years in the movie business.  Best-known for the audacious chase in 1969’s The original Italian Job (and for a Fiat commercial), Julienne worked on six films in the James Bond series and more than 220 movies and television shows in all.

Bruce Meyers, a Californian whose creation of the Meyers Manx dune buggy in the 1960s greatly influenced both the automotive world and popular culture.  Working in his Newport Beach garage, Meyers created a simple and appealing fiberglass body to fit on an old Volkswagen floor pan and utilized much of the stock VW drivetrain, suspension and other parts. A surfer, sailor, artist and musician, Meyers embodied both the dune buggy industry and the dune buggy lifestyle.

Norm Kraus, known as “Mr. Norm,” co-owner of Grand Spaulding Dodge in Chicago from 1962 through 1977, where his focus on high performance helped it become the biggest Dodge dealership in the world.  It is widely believed that during the muscle-car era no one was responsible for more sales of Dodge performance vehicles than he.

Murray Walker, for over 50 years a broadcast commentator for Formula One racing.  Murray did his first grand prix commentary for the 1949 British Grand Prix, became the BBC’s full-time F1 commentator in 1978, and retired from full-time commentary duties in 2001.  He continued to be involved in coverage of the sport into his 90s, and died at the age of 97.

Ryu Asada, product designer with Hot Wheels, whose designs were eclectic and whimsical, yet faithful to the real cars which inspired them.

David Bull, founder of David Bull Publishing , responsible for the release of several hundred books in the automotive field worldwide.  More than just a publisher, Bull was in many ways a collaborator with his authors.

Doug Thorley, the first NHRA U.S. Nationals Funny Car champion and a highly successful maker of exhaust headers.  Thorley began his drag racing career in the early 1950s and founded Doug’s Headers in Southern California 1958.  After the altered-wheelbase Funny Car category became an official NHRA class, Thorley won the U.S. Nationals driving his Chevy Corvair SS/X in 1967, the first year that the class was contested at the event.

Sabine Schmitz, best known for her role on the TV’s Top Gear and a highly accomplished racer.  Schmitz grew up quite literally at Germany’s Nürburgring, where her mother owned a hotel in the village of Nürburg. As a young girl, she got to meet many famous drivers who stayed at the hotel and at age 13 decided that her life’s ambition would be to race at the daunting track.  She attained that goal, not only racing but winning, including victories in the 24 Hours of Nürburgring in 1996 and 1997.  Schmitz was claimed by cancer at the too-young age of 51.

Jack Johnson, a highly talented, successful, and popular dirt-track racer who, in a 43-year career, won 428 races at 35 different tracks in ten states and two Canadian provinces, claiming numerous track and series’ championships along the way.  Johnson’s specialty may have been extra-distance races, upwards of 200-laps in many instances, as well as events run on one-mile tracks where we was victorious five times.

Craig Morrison, a second-generation automotive enthusiast who joined Art Morrison Enterprises (AME), the aftermarket business founded by his father, and who became the recipient of high-profile show awards and SEMA achievement awards.

Steve Stapp, a genuine American character from the midwest world of Sprint Car racing, who enjoyed his greatest success as a car owner and fabricator.  As a driver he broke A.J. Foyt’s track record at Terre Haute in 1960; as an owner he won several United State Auto Club Sprint Car championships.

Charlie Glotzbach, a driver who began his racing career on the short tracks of Southern Indiana before eventually reaching the NASCAR Cup Series.  In stock-car racing’s highest level he won four races, recorded 38 top-five finishes and 50 Top Tens in 124 starts over 18 seasons. Glotzbach was a two-time runner-up in the Daytona 500, finishing second in 1969 to LeeRoy Yarbrough and second again in 1972 to A.J. Foyt.

Richard Parry-Jones, who spent 38 years at Ford Motor Company, rising eventually to became a product development vice president.

Rebecca Schindler, a self-described “SheCanic” at the Girls Auto Clinic, a woman-owned and run automotive repair shop near Philadelphia, and founder of GEARGIRL, an automotive consulting service.  Among Schindler’s many passions were air-cooled Volkswagens.

Bill Whittington, who, along with his brother Don, became a fixture in American sports car racing in the late 1970s and early 1980s after they teamed with Klaus Ludwig to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1979.  The brothers also each qualified five times for the Indy 500 during this period, but their cars seldom had any evident sponsorship and the popular rumor was that ill-gotten gains financed the operation.  Sure enough, in the late 80s both brothers earned prison time for income tax evasion, money laundering, and marijuana smuggling.

Bobby Unser, a multi-time champion of the Pikes Peak Hill Climb, a three-time winner of the Indianapolis 500, and twice the national champion.  An outspoken character, Unser had a natural gift not only for driving but for understanding the dynamics of a car, coupled with bravery and determination.  In his career he claimed 35 IndyCar race victories and qualified on the front row at Indy nine times.  Unser was part of an multi-generational racing dynasty, with the Unser name accounting for nine Indy 500 victories.

Andre Ribiero, a three-time winner in the Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) series and a participant in the 1995 Indy 500.

Max Mosley, president of the FIA from 1993 to 2009 and a key figure in Formula 1 racing for 30 years.  An attorney by training, Mosley raced before hanging up his helmet and co-founding March Engineering in 1969.

Jack Ingram, winner of more than 300 races and five NASCAR championships, and who earned the nickname “Iron Man” for the tremendous number of races he competed in during the 1970s.

Bob Jenkins, Indy 500 and NASCAR broadcaster who, along with his NASCAR and IMS work, anchored ESPN’s “Thunder” series broadcasts of USAC Sprint Car and Midget races, and was the host of “SpeedWeek” on ESPN.  He also lent his distinctive voice to several motorsport-related video games and could be heard in the films Days of Thunder and Talladega Nights.

Adrian Hamilton, a classic car dealer and son of 1953 24-Hour race winner Duncan Hamilton. Nicknamed Hammy, he played a leading role within the classic car market for over 40 years.

Mose Nowland, an engine builder at Ford for 57 years, responsible for such engines as the Ford V8 that powered Jim Clark to victory in the 1965 Indy 500, the power plants of the GT40s that won the 1966 and 1967 Le Mans 24-hours races and, in association with Ernie Elliott, the V8s that helped make Bill Elliott “Awesome Bill” in NASCAR in the 1980s. He also worked with Bob Glidden on developing NHRA Pro Stock engines.

Ken Tyrrell, an influential and innovative Formula One team owner. Tyrrell first entered Formula One in 1968 with Jackie Stewart in the cockpit, and ultimately the pair would go one to score fifteen victories and two World Championships.  Among Tyrrell’s innovations was his six wheeler, an F1 car with four small steerable front wheels.  Tyrrell also had a keen eye for talent, signing Didier Pironi, Michele Alboreto, Stefan Bellof, Martin Brundle, Jean Alesi and Mika Salo all before anyone else noticed them.  Tyrrell retired from Formula One in 1998, at age 74.

Doug Freedman, founder of the Carmel-by-the-Sea Concours on the Avenue, a free event that kicks of Monterey Car Week.  More than just a “car guy,” Freedman’s other passion was music. In 1967, as the drummer for The Fly-bi-Nites, he joined his bandmates to cowrite “Found Love,” a song used in 2013 during a hallucinogenic moment in season six of Cable TV’s “Mad Men.”

Robin Miller, a midwest college dropout who became arguably the most popular and influential chronicler of Indycar racing. Miller got his start at the Indianapolis Star newspaper at age 18 and ultimately made his way to ESPN, NBC, and  An unabashed cheerleader for Indycar racing and USAC dirt track racing, Miller was inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America as part of the Class of 2021.

William H. “Bill” Smith, for 17 years the  Executive Director of the Hershey, PA-based Antique Automobile Club of America.  During his tenure and leadership, the AACA grew in size to encompass the AACA Museum and AACA Library and Research Center. He also served as president of all three organizations.

Bob Bondurant, a championship-winning driver and founder of the Bondurant Racing School, which for 50 years stood as the number-one racing school in the world.  The Bondurant school graduated more than 500,000 through the years, among them celebrities including Christian Bale, Paul Newman, Clint Eastwood, Nicolas Cage, Tom Cruise, and more. Bondurant himself was credited as “the global expert authority on driver training and safety.”

Sir Frank Williams, the longest-serving team principal in the history of Formula One racing.  Williams Racing claimed 16 World Championships, both before and after Frank Williams suffered paralyzing injuries in a highway accident.  Due to his health, in 2020 he sold his team to Dorilton Capital.

Bill Kolb, Jr., a die-hard Ford man who spent his entire professional career in the automotive retail business, and building, racing, and marketing specialty cars for the purpose of enhancing retails sales. At several Ford dealerships in and around New York City he used drag racing as a promotional conduit, and later established a unique Shelby dealership within Gotham Ford in Manhattan.  From 1965 to 1970 Kolb sold more Shelby Cobras, GT Mustangs, and GT40s than anyone else in the country.

Al Unser Sr., the second driver to win the Indianapolis 500 four times, and whose 1987 victory at age 47 also made him the oldest driver to win the race.  Unser was part of a racing dynasty that owns nine Indy 500 wins, including three by his older brother Bobby, who died earlier this year, and two by his son, Al Jr. Combined, members of the Unser family have made 73 starts in the “500,” a figure eclipsed only by the Andrettis, with 76.

Donald Hudler, a General Motors “lifer” who served in marketing roles around GM, then was president of Saturn from 1995 to 1999, and later became a GM VP. At Saturn, Hudler originated the idea of the 1994 “Saturn Homecoming” that drew some 38,000 Saturn owners and their cars to Spring Hill, Tennessee, for an immense car-centric party.

Shunji Tanaka, head designer of the original Mazda MX-5, better known as the Miata.

Hazel Chapman, widow of Lotus’ Colin Chapman and a strong contributor to the marque both before and following her husband’s passing in 1982.  Mrs. Chapman yielded power and influence on both Lotus Cars and Team Lotus, first assuming a matriarchal role withing the organization while her husband focused on engineering.

Jesse Alexander, California-born photographer whose images of racing around the world, with an emphasis on Formula One of the 1950s and 1960s, are iconic records of the period.  In addition to F1 Alexander covered such events as the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the Mille Miglia and Targa Florio. In that period of time he also photographed theater and music personalities for the New York Times.