Sunday, September 19, 2021

Dad Number One and His Deutsche-Bonnet Racing Car

A brilliant engineer, my father once tried to explain aerodynamics to me on a cocktail napkin. I wish I’d saved the napkin, because to me every liftoff still seems more magical than mechanical. I feel that way about the amazing life he lived, as well—racing with Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) and investigating plane accidents for the Boeing Company both in the states and overseas. 

The limited time we had together between planes was enriched by his sharing his passions. He took me for a couple of racing laps around Seattle International Raceway in his red Dino Ferrari, flew me to visit him in Japan, and got me a guest passage on a delivery EL AL flight with stop-overs in Europe on our way to experiencing the incomparable energy and history of Israel. On the way over, I got to sit in the co-pilot’s seat of the new 747 and switch on lights while cresting the top of the world. And after celebrating our last night in Tel Aviv dancing to a Welsh band until five in the morning, he managed to find me a bed to catch a nap in on the flip-down seats behind the pilot as we flew to London.

Whether piloting his Deutsche-Bonnet to yet another victory or restoring one of only five Abarth Zagatas ever built, his considerable skills earned him the respect of a multitude of like-minded car enthusiasts and drivers and made him friends all over the world. Dad lived a huge life with such enthusiasm and intensity he was a hard act to follow.


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