Remembering the Car People We Lost in 2021 – Car and Driver
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Here’s some news no one will be surprised by: 2021 was tough on the automotive world as part of an already difficult year. The rituals plus events we’ve grown used to were all subject to change or cancellation, and our lives in many ways were different from every year before. One thing did not modify, however: we lost people whose lives, directly or indirectly, had an influence on our own. This is where we pay tribute to 16 people—executives, visionaries, designers, leaders, and drivers—who had been important within automotive life. They will be remembered long after we’ve emerged from the current situation.
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Some names are so predominant that it’s easy to forget they were originally attached to a person. That’s the case with J. Deb. Power, who established the particular company that bears his name and is known for influencing automakers in order to build better cars. The particular “Associates” in the company name originally referred to his wife and kids, who helped get things rolling in 1968, asking car buyers about their thoughts on their car’s quality using mail-in surveys. It turns out, requesting people what they think is a good way to find out what others think, too, and the vehicle’s J. D. Energy score still plays a good influential role in how people shop for cars.
You may know it as the dune buggy, but the original little sand racer was called the Meyers Manx, and Bruce Meyers was the man that designed it. A existence full of sailing, surfing and art went into the person who else thought this would be a good idea to take some fiberglass and parts from old Volkswagen Beetles and put them together into something that would scoot over sand to get in order to the out-of-the-way surf spots. Meyers originally intended to just build a few for himself and his friends, however the design was copied all over the world. Legal troubles meant the world has mostly forgotten the Meyers Manx title, but you don’t have to.
Proving beyond doubt that size doesn’t matter when it comes in order to automotive passion, Hot Wheels designer Ryu Asada loved little vehicles and he made others love them because well. A lifelong Honda fan, Asada turned vehicles as different as the particular S2000 plus the N600 into beloved metal toys. For his Hot Tires Porsche 944, he added an easter egg of a stethoscope that you can see through the rear window. It was a tribute to the car that belonged to one associated with the doctors helping him battle cancer.
Modern automotive television would have been much less enjoyable without Sabine Schmitz . Born and raised near the Nürburgring, Schmitz was perhaps destined to become a car person. She started racing young and became the first woman in order to win at the 24 Hours of Nürburgring in 1996 behind the wheel of the BMW M3. Her buoyant presence produced her a natural for TV, and her first appearance on Top Gear within 2004 ended up being one of that show’s most popular ever. She later grew to become a host upon that very program and was known far and wide since the “Queen of the particular Nürburgring. ”
Richard Parry-Jones spent 38 years working in Ford Motor Company, helping change exactly how people, especially in Europe, saw the company. Born in North Wales, Parry-Jones used his engineering skills to improve Ford’s image following the European debut of the 1990 Ford Escort there. Famous for popularizing the idea that a good driver might know almost immediately if the car they’re in has been good or even not—now known as the 50 Metre Test—Parry-Jones eventually became a product development vice president from Ford. After Parry-Jones died due to an accident on his farm in 04, Ford executive chairman Bill Ford called him the “rare talent who left an indelible mark upon Ford and the industry. inch
If you race enough times, you’re bound to get entangled along with some controversies. That happened to Bobby Unser (Al Unser Sr. ‘s brother) in the particular 1981 Indy 500 , when stewards decided Unser had passed other cars while under a yellow flag. Decades later, Unser and second-place Mario Andretti (who had been, for a short while, declared the winner of the race) both nevertheless felt like they’d won. Unser (pictured here with Dan Gurney) did win his fair share associated with unquestioned races, including 10 overall titles at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. Autoweek known as him a true legend.
When you earn over 300 races in your life, including five NASCAR championships, you earn a place within the NASCAR Hall of Fame. That’s what happened in order to Jack Ingram, who earned the nickname “Iron Man” for the tremendous number of competitions he competed in during the 1970s, when NASCAR championships could still become affected by the particular regular weekly race standings. Upon Ingram’s death within June, NASCAR chairman plus CEO Jim France said in the statement that will Ingram “was a fixture at short tracks across the Southeast most days of the week, racing anywhere and everywhere. He dominated the Late Model Sportsman division such as few other people. ” Ingram wasn’t just a winning driver. He was also named the Most Popular Driver in the Budweiser Past due Model Sportsperson Series (now called the Xfinity Series) in 1982.
Reading articles about Gordon Spice’s life—the racing plus the wealthy-international-raconteur lifestyle—it’s simple to be a bit jealous. Spice received the British Touring Car Championship for six seasons in a row (1975–1980) before winning four more world sports car championship titles in the middle and late ’80s. Right after Spice passed away in Sept, a former rival told Autosport , “He was one of those rare guys which could afford to go race and has been good at it—usually you can pay for to visit racing, or if you’re proficient at this but avoid have the money. He was a good fun guy to be around. ”
Bob Bondurant was race even when he wasn’t around the track. He raced for Ferrari Formula 1 and Shelby and, with regard to 50 many years, taught everyday drivers just how to obtain the most away of their own sports vehicles through the particular Bob Bondurant School associated with High Performance Driving. He also showed actors Paul Newman, Tom Cruise, plus Christian Bale a thing or two about driving. Unfortunately, the school mostly closed in 2018 prior to reopening within 2019 as the Official Overall performance Driving School of Dodge//SRT with the particular help of FiatChrysler, ensuring that their legacy life on.
Longtime Formula 1 team owner Frank Williams could possess passed away decades ago whenever he broke his neck in a car crash in 1986. The work of Dr . Sid Watkins, the “medical savior” associated with F1, kept him alive then , and the team he co-founded, the particular Williams Formula 1 team, continued its success through the 1980s and 1990s plus beyond. The team still races today and, following Williams’s death in Nov, a moment of silence was held just before the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix as a tribute.
For the few yrs prior to his death through a rare type of cancer, fashion designer Virgil Abloh worked with Mercedes-Benz on two design studies, the Project Geländewagen in 2020 and the particular Project Maybach, which had been released subsequent Abloh’s dying in November. The New York Times called him “the most powerful Black professional within the most powerful luxury group in the world” regarding his part as artistic director associated with Louis Vuitton menswear. This individual also began his own label, Off-White.
Speaking to C/D in 2011 , Al Unser, Jr., said their father’s racing enthusiasm led to the entire family getting excited about fast cars, including brothers and all the way down to Ing Unser III. That’s the kind of enthusiasm that directed to ‘s Unser, Sr., winning the particular Indianapolis 500 four times and getting behind the wheel associated with NASCAR and sprint vehicles, among other races.
Donald Wiley Hudler was a General Motors man through plus through, working in the company for 43 years. He or she served within marketing roles around GM including with Cadillac, then was president of Saturn from 1995 to 1999 and later became a GM VP. As the Chicago Tribune related , Hudler originated the idea of the 1994 “Saturn Homecoming” that enticed 38, 000 Saturn owners and their cars to Spring Hill, Tennessee, for a giant party . Later in life this individual also owned Saturn, Cadillac, and Hyundai dealerships in Texas. So, a GM man nearly through plus through.
If there’s one thing that’s close to an universal truth within the automotive journalism globe, it’s that will, no matter the particular question, the answer is always “Miata. ” All of us wouldn’t agree on this if it hadn’t been for Shunji Tanaka, head designer from the original Mazda MX-5 , also recognized as the Miata. The particular MX-5 was certainly the team effort, but Tanaka’s work refining the exterior and interior design have been hallmarks of the car since it debuted within 1989. According to one obituary, his last words had been, “I have no regret in my life. inch
Any fan of That lotus knows the name of its co-founder, Colin Chapman. Every Lotus fan with a bit a lot more depth to their fandom also knows the name Hazel Chapman, Colin’s spouse and a successful race car owner in the girl own right. When Hazel passed away in December, That lotus released a statement calling her “the rock upon which the particular Lotus foundations—since 1948, when the very 1st Lotus car was made—were built. ” The very first Lotus was built in Hazel’s parents’ garage well before she and Colin were married. Here she’s pictured with drivers Elio de Angelis (in the Lotus 93T) plus Nigel Mansell.
Racing photographer Jesse Alexander’s work should be familiar to longtime readers of Car and Driver, considering we worked with your pet in the 1950s. As part of a C/D retrospective published in 2015, Karl Ludvigsen stated Alexander “had a knack for pointing his camera at the particular most crucial action, inch and it was that kind of eye that assisted him shoot what feels like a million races, starting with local events in his home state of California and then continuing almost all around the world.
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