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Sad News Big Willie Passed Away This Morning

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Moldy, May 19, 2012.

  1. GassersGarage
    Joined: Jul 1, 2007
    Posts: 4,727


    I met him around '68, when the racers met at Crenshaw Square at midnight. He sure was larger than life.
  2. Rocky Famoso
    Joined: Mar 30, 2008
    Posts: 3,000

    Rocky Famoso


    ........................................R.I.P. Big Willie...................................

  3. I've only read about about him, but I still feel a big loss. RIP Willie.
  4. R.I.P. MoPar king!!
  5. retiredblue
    Joined: Mar 1, 2010
    Posts: 272

    from california

    I met Big Willie in the early 80's we talked cars and the Army- a true gentleman- He will be missed- my families prayers.
  6. wolfman4u
    Joined: Sep 20, 2009
    Posts: 13

    from USA

    Sorry to hear about losing Big Willie Roberson president of the Street Racers International as I have fond memories of him and the old school fun racing days on Terminal Island Ca that he set up with then LA Mayor Tom Bradley RIP. Please let us know if they The Brotherhood are going to have a service for him. Thank You, Wolfman IOOB MC
  7. gasserjohn
    Joined: Nov 9, 2008
    Posts: 1,219


    Now we know there will be street racing in heaven

    &Tomiko's hotdogs&chili !!!

    Attached Files:

  8. go man go

    Attached Files:

  9. bob t!
    Joined: Aug 23, 2011
    Posts: 209

    bob t!

    R.I.P. Willie. You will be remembered.
  10. racersforcoffee
    Joined: May 20, 2012
    Posts: 2

    from Tacoma

    ...Willie pushed the message of responsible participation and cultural inclusion far past what was acceptable...maybe that's still the case. We could keep his vision alive as a proper tribute...
  11. pdc
    Joined: Nov 25, 2008
    Posts: 346


    Always heard stories but never met the man. When I got a computer I had to find out what I could. Hate to hear this R.I.P. where the streets are gold and straight.
  12. BrandonB
    Joined: Feb 24, 2006
    Posts: 3,240

    from nor cal

    This is an excerpt from an article dated July 2008 in the Huffington Post about the big man and his wife:

    The first time I met Big Willie Robinson, on a warm spring night around 1985, he was standing in the middle of a bunch of Bloods and Crips on Los Angeles' Crenshaw Boulevard. Robinson was not asking, but demanding they take off their gang colors, their red or blue do-rags and pull the colored rags hanging from their back pockets. And any alcohol, drugs and especially weapons had better be stashed somewhere else, not anywhere near the racing.
    And if they wanted to race, they acquiesced. At 6'7", proudly wearing the same Green Beret he did in Vietnam, outfitted in the colors of the International Brotherhood of Street Racers, the group Willie and his late wife, Tomiko, created, Big Willie was and still is hard to miss. (Los Angeles County Sheriff Bill Chaffin convinced his superiors to give him the money to build a race car he could bring to the track and even street races; it sends a message that maybe cops aren't all that bad to a group not used to having positive relations with the local PD.)

    The street, long and straight and perfect for drag racing, was empty of its usual traffic; Big Willie's "volunteer track personnel" had closed off Crenshaw and all its cross streets. A hundred cars, maybe more, and motorcycles were sitting on side streets, owners fiddling with engines and preparing for a night of competition. Most racers drove their race cars to the "event" while others brought them on trailers. Those cars were too loud, illegal and outrageous for public roads. In their trunks or back seats were bottles of nitrous oxide which can produce an instant 100 extra horsepower, on their wheels were slick racing tires and most had wide-open exhaust systems you could hear a mile away.

    With streets closed and racers ready, Big Willie and Tomiko went about the business of setting-up a Christmas tree (the starting lights at a drag racing strip) powered by someone's donated car battery, laid out some traffic cones to mark racing lanes and start and finish lines and began sending cars, two at a time, down their ¼-mile-or-so of public-street-turned-race-track. The races were on!
    The crowd was by no means all African American, anything but; there were old and young, black, brown, red, yellow and white all well-represented among the 300-or-so people who came to race, to watch or do both. (Big Willie and Tomiko Robinson in top form in the 1970s; they were featured in Sports Illustrated magazine's 40th anniversary issue.)
  13. fab32
    Joined: May 14, 2002
    Posts: 13,985

    Member Emeritus

    RIP Willie.

  14. MUNCIE
    Joined: Jan 24, 2006
    Posts: 2,281


    RIP sorry to hear about his passing.
  15. Weasel
    Joined: Dec 30, 2007
    Posts: 6,693


    RIP Big Willie - you did so much for so many....:(
  16. we were in the announcer's truck at Eagle Field when Stormy Byrd came and broke the news to us. it made for a very somber moment in an otherwise festive day.

    we used to run out at T.I. when i was a kid. it was a HOOT! there was something about a track 15 minutes from the house, in the harbor, with the big ol' piles of coal coke in the background, and cars bouncing thru the top end. the stands were always full of circles of dudes taking bets and cussing up a storm... all kinds of cars and motorbikes.

    i always had a huge level of respect for Big Willie... I mean, here's the face of street racing in LA who was constantly working for facilities to hold organized races.

    we're gonna miss you.
  17. cavemag
    Joined: Jan 8, 2011
    Posts: 210


    A legend and a good man who met his time way too early. R.I.P Big Willie.
  18. snot275
    Joined: May 11, 2012
    Posts: 131


    R.I.P. Big Willie...
  19. bullittrob
    Joined: Aug 31, 2010
    Posts: 41

    from london

    Bummer,.,.,.cant beleve it,.,.r.i.p
  20. pwschuh
    Joined: Oct 27, 2008
    Posts: 2,468


    Hard to believe there would be that level of ignorance on the HAMB :rolleyes:

    God Speed Big Willie.
  21. He was a legend that kept us coming back buying Hot Rod, Car Craft and many other car magazines when I was a kid, just to see if he got another blurb about him in print again. He will be missed by every gear head in the country and elsewhere I'm sure.

  22. mikeallcars
    Joined: Feb 16, 2012
    Posts: 1,316


  23. R.I.P. - heck I thought I heard a pair of Daytona's crankin' up....thank's for all you done...
  24. Randy in Oklahoma
    Joined: Sep 18, 2008
    Posts: 301

    Randy in Oklahoma
    from Oklahoma

    Not for sure if this is the same Big Willie, but I remember a "Big Willie" from LA being in the staging lanes at either Green Valley or Dallas International. ( Early 1970s'??) He had some very mean dogs (on a leash) with him.

    The other racers were giving him a hard time about the dogs, but I personally couldnt see what the fuss was all about. To me, it was all part racing at that time.
  25. damagedduck
    Joined: Jun 16, 2011
    Posts: 2,342

    from Greeley Co

    YES the one & same.
    R.I.P BIG WILLIE,now doing a forever burn out in the sky,
    he will be miss big time!

  26. Jimbacca
    Joined: Jul 17, 2011
    Posts: 243


    RIP Big Willie. Always interesting to read about his exploits and his push to get Terminal Island open again.

    What happened to the Daytona? A little too much acid dipping. Always thought that was a funny line from one of his interviews.
  27. R.I.P Willie..... your efforts at Brotherhood planted a seed with me.I was sixteen and ran my chevelle at your track with the biggest smile ever!Thank you for all your hardwork in keeping racing alive around here.
  28. SuperJim
    Joined: Mar 31, 2010
    Posts: 191

    from Minnesota

    We've spoken with him on the phone (some business dealings) and I wish we could have met him in person. We sent him some free product, and he gave it all away to the local church for the kids. Still a big heart in the big man. RIP Big Willie. You're back with Tomiko now...
  29. 1950-mercury
    Joined: Mar 20, 2011
    Posts: 534


    Rest in peace Willie!!!
  30. trashn'l
    Joined: Jun 26, 2008
    Posts: 243


    Here's to Big Willie! RIP

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