If it had anything to do with going fast and came out of Southern California, Phil Remington not only likely had something to do with it, he also likely was instrumental in its success, which is why the hot rodding and performance worlds are mourning Remington’s death on Friday at the age of 92.
Remington’s fabrication skills almost seemed to come natural, and he employed them to great effect early on, building hot rods to race on the California dry lakes in his teenage years before World War II. If it hadn’t been for a motorcycle accident after the war, we may very well remember him today for his prowess at the wheel; instead, he quit racing after the accident and focused on developing his skills to the point where he could shape or create just about anything out of metal.
Those skills led him to work with – among many others – Emil Diedt and Lujie Lesovsky, building Indy cars; with Sterling Edwards, building Edwards’s well-regarded sports cars; with Lance Reventlow in his effort to dominate sports car racing with the Scarab; with Carroll Shelby to develop the Cobra; with Ford to develop the GT-40; and for the last 40-plus years with Dan Gurney at All-American Racers. Shelby called him one of the most indispensable people at Shelby American and “one of the finest craftsmen in the world” while Pete Weismann, who worked on the Ford GT-40 project with Remington, noted that the GT-40 “would have been an unbelievable failure” without him.
“He is a marvel, an old salt, and an inspiration to young and old,” Gurney said of Remington on the occasion of his 90th birthday. “I know, it is a cliché, but when they made old Rem, they threw away the mold.”
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