SEMA adds four to hall of fameMon, 02 May 2011 00:00:00 -0700
The Specialty Equipment Market Association is adding four names to its hall of fame: Gray Baskerville, Art Chrisman, Chris Economaki and John Towle.
The SEMA Hall of Fame recognizes those who have especially helped foster the growth of the special-equipment automotive industry.
-- Baskerville was senior editor of Hot Rod magazine for 30 years, though his writing is what really secured his ticket to the hall. Baskerville is said to have captivated his readers so well that editors barely touched his copy--even when he made up words.
His dedication and love for cars ran so deep that Baskerville kept his office and continued to write for both Hot Rod and Rod & Custom long after retirement. He racked up 250,000 miles on his beloved 1932 Ford roadster before he passed away in 2002.
-- Speaking of hot rods, Chrisman played such a key role in the movement that it can safely be said he was a shoo-in for the hall.
Chrisman raced against many of the fastest and most famous while working at his father's Southern California car shop in the 1950s. Naturally, he was the first drag racer to exceed 140 mph and 180 mph.
-- A motorsports commentator, pit-road reporter and journalist for more than 70 years, Economaki is essentially the founding father of the American motorsports media. Bringing racing to the media forefront, his voice and horn-rimmed glasses were unmistakable.
-- Towle started his career at Edelbrock about 50 years ago and serves as the executive director for the Performance Warehouse Association. As a member on the SEMA board of directors, he helped bring the PWA and SEMA closer together.
Under Towle's direction, the association created PWA University, which provides education to any person or company in the industry, regardless of membership status.
The inductees will be honored at a banquet in Long Beach, Calif., on July 29. Visit www.sema.org/galatix for tickets and more information.
By Michelle Koueiter