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Passing of a Hot Rod Great

Photo: Sherm Porter    Words: Sam Flowers, Avery Finnivan

Don Montgomery passed away on Feb.18 at the age of 88. A legend in drag racing, he raced lakes and strips, wrote many books on drag racing and hot rodding and attended a multitude of car shows with his restored gasser.

Montgomery got his start in car culture right after World War II, as a 15-year-old living around the L.A. area. Soon he was racing a Hudson hot rod, beefed up with a 320 ci Buick engine, at SoCal's dry lakes. His taste for unusual cars continued with a '36 Cord, in which he set a Russetta Timing Association record.

Montgomery continued racing and rodding into the '50s, and was still going strong in the '70s. He took a break to raise a family in the following decade. In the late '80s he published quite a few hot rod and history articles, followed by his first book, Hot Rods in the Forties.

From that point on, he published a whole host of excellent books, mostly focusing on hot rods but sometimes diverging into drag racing. His work inspired many people to try modifying and racing their own cars.

In addition to Montgomery's contributions to hot rodding, he was a truly nice guy, a devoted family man and a genius to boot. He will be missed by all who knew him or of him.