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Folks Of Interest The Condensed History Of Don Tognotti

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Ryan, Mar 4, 2015.

  1. Ryan
    Joined: Jan 2, 1995
    Posts: 18,809

    Ryan
    ADMINISTRATOR
    from Austin, TX
    Staff Member

    Ryan submitted a new blog post:

    The Condensed History Of Don Tognotti

    [​IMG]

    Continue reading the Original Blog Post
     
  2. gnichols
    Joined: Mar 6, 2008
    Posts: 10,578

    gnichols
    Member
    from Tampa, FL

    Sad story... I never knew about the end. Didn't he also have a big involvement in oval track racing? Or was that another guy? Gary
     
  3. 41hemi
    Joined: Jul 2, 2007
    Posts: 931

    41hemi
    Member

    Wow, i never knew about his later days. Sad.
     
    lothiandon1940 likes this.
  4. Jalopy Joker
    Joined: Sep 3, 2006
    Posts: 23,984

    Jalopy Joker
    Member

    Thanks. he is one of those people that did so much that sometimes falls between the cracks. I am a transplant from Southern California to Northern California. I did not know anything about him until moving up here. it is good to remind people of what he did for the world of cars. yes, he was a very early promoter of midget racing in the Sacramento area at West Capitol/Captitol Stadium Speedway. his name continues on in the aftermarket parts division: tognottisautoworld.com
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2015
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  5. Stu D Baker
    Joined: Mar 4, 2005
    Posts: 2,494

    Stu D Baker
    Member
    from Illinois

    Never new "the rest of the story". In a way, I kind of wish I had never read this.
     
  6. The "T" Roadster was the first car I remember from Mr Tognotti mostly because of the acclaim and recognition it received. This is the first time I've seen pics of the FE dragster. What a beautiful car! I always considered the Greer-Black-Prudhomme car the most alluring FE. I may now reconsider that.
     
  7. bowie
    Joined: Jul 27, 2011
    Posts: 2,102

    bowie
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    A very sad ending indeed. The King "T" struck a cord with me very early on, built the model as a kid (not very well). Love the Avenger; but always thought the wheelbase would have looked better a little shorter. The "T" pic's look current, who owns it now? All in all the guy had unique very cool stuff.
     
  8. Obviously a very talented man, I never knew much about his endeavors 'cause Wisconsin was a long way from California back then. I am truly saddened to hear of the way his life collapsed at the end.
    The story does bring up a very serious social question about death with dignity and when/if it is ever right to end it on your own terms.
     
    OldSchoolRodz likes this.
  9. flamingokid
    Joined: Jan 5, 2005
    Posts: 2,199

    flamingokid
    Member

    He will always live on through his cars.I hope his friends and survivors find solace in the fact that his legend will live on in the timeless beauties that he created and in his good works in all aspects of things automotive.RIP,Mr and Mrs. Tognotti.
     
  10. arkiehotrods
    Joined: Mar 9, 2006
    Posts: 5,626

    arkiehotrods
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    [​IMG]
    What kid 50 years ago didn't buy the AMT double kit, featuring Tognotti's King "T" and Wilhelm's "Wild Dream?" One of my favorite kits back then. I knew the story of the Tognotti's tragic end, but it doesn't diminish what he did for the Rod & Custom world.
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2015
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  11. oldcargary
    Joined: May 6, 2010
    Posts: 196

    oldcargary
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from devore, Ca

    One of the best things about growing up in the Sacramento area was going to Tognotti's, didn't know his life ended so bad.
     
  12. Marty Strode
    Joined: Apr 28, 2011
    Posts: 4,284

    Marty Strode
    Member

    Don was also a partner in the promotion of the USAC Silver Crown races on the dirt mile at Cal Expo, Sacramento. The hundred lap races ran from '94 through '99, if I remember correctly. I attended most of them, and they were quite a show. What a sad ending to a great career in race car construction and promotion.
     
    HEMI32 likes this.
  13. Always liked the King T, still the oldest car to win the AMBR, not bad looking for a 102 yo. The Avenger 5w is pure badassness. The Bushwacker/Goldfinger just got that 60s flair. I wish the Green-Voodoo T-bird would be restored, at least it survives waiting patiently.
     

  14. Don Tognotti.jpg
    Donald A. Tognotti
    July 2, 1940 - December 21, 2000
     
  15. Ryan
    Joined: Jan 2, 1995
    Posts: 18,809

    Ryan
    ADMINISTRATOR
    from Austin, TX
    Staff Member

    I remember when he passed there were a number of "RIP" posts on the HAMB. The only post that even mentioned how he passed included a link to the story on an online newspaper. It struck me then... It's just such a sad story.

    What's interesting to me though is how few people really know what happened. The story NEVER comes up when Don's name does. Usually, it's just:

    "Oh man, I love that coupe."

    Or:

    "I built the King-T model when I was kid. Used too much glue..."

    It's as if the news never really hit the global hot rod community... I think this is due to two reasons:

    1. Time erased the sadness and only Don's legacy as a hot rodder remains. His cars have influenced a lot of people.

    2. Don never really got the credit he deserved when he was alive.
     
  16. I still have my original "Hotwheels" King T. But I think Mattel called it the "Hot-heap". Watching someone you love suffering, and there is nothing you can do to help, can, and does, take you to a very dark place.
     
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  17. Green Voodoo
    Joined: May 22, 2007
    Posts: 58

    Green Voodoo
    Member
    from Melbourne

    CCI05032015_0002 (2).jpg Here is the Green Voodoo on the cover of Car Craft Feb 1961 - featured in Car Crafts TOP TEN CUSTOMS issue
     
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  18. Green Voodoo
    Joined: May 22, 2007
    Posts: 58

    Green Voodoo
    Member
    from Melbourne

    Car Craft Feb 1961 - 1955 T Bird - Don Tognotti.jpg Here is the Car Craft -Feb 1961 feature on the Green Voodoo
     
  19. arkiehotrods
    Joined: Mar 9, 2006
    Posts: 5,626

    arkiehotrods
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

  20. Green Voodoo
    Joined: May 22, 2007
    Posts: 58

    Green Voodoo
    Member
    from Melbourne

    I currently have the Green Voodoo in storage awaiting restoration. I have been collecting missing items, but am I still looking for the following key items:

    1. Original Tri Carb 312 Y Block engine removed from the Voodoo
    2.
    McCulloch Tri Power Air Box for Y Block Set Up
    3.
    Customised T- Bird Hardtop which was separated from the car

    These parts may be lurking in someone's barn or garage.
    Any help in tracking any of these parts or substitutes will be greatly appreciated.

    I am also looking for contemporary COLOR PHOTOS of the 3rd and final rendition of the car as featured in Car Craft!

    Most photos currently circulating in books and on the web are of the 2nd rendition.

    The car will be restored according to its 3rd and final rendition as customised by Tognotti & selected for Car Crafts' TOP TEN!
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2015
  21. Jalopy Joker
    Joined: Sep 3, 2006
    Posts: 23,984

    Jalopy Joker
    Member

    Green Voodoo - great to hear about what you are doing. hope that you find the correct parts needed
     
    Stogy likes this.
  22. haychrishay
    Joined: Jul 23, 2008
    Posts: 944

    haychrishay
    Member

    Wow what a sad story, but thanks for focusing on his achievements as they are a great legacy!
     
    Stogy likes this.
  23. I don't remember what year it was, but it was one of our first road trips to a car event for a few small town boys up here in Washington. Before we had kids and grand kids and grey hair lol.

    We went to the Car Craft Street Machine Nationals West in Sacramento. While we were down there we went to Tognotti's Speed Shop. Never could we have imagined a place so cool with so much car stuff.

    I had been a fan of his cars already, and going here was icing on the cake.
     
    Stogy likes this.
  24. I hope and want to believe, that how Don Tognotti passed will be gradually forgotten, like Mickey Thompson, and they will be remembered for their accomplishments to our hobby. Sadly the individuals are slowly being replaced with faceless, conglomerate corporations. And yes, I built the King-T model and still have the Hot Wheels version of it in every color.....
     
    Stogy likes this.
  25. Sad sad ending to a great story.
    How would those eight straight pipes on the avenger sound like?
     
    Stogy likes this.
  26. Hotrod1959
    Joined: Nov 3, 2007
    Posts: 677

    Hotrod1959
    Member

    I use to buy parts at the Tognotti's in Sacramento. Always bought something I didn't plan on buying. Thanks for the story.
     
    Stogy likes this.
  27. y'sguy
    Joined: Feb 25, 2008
    Posts: 364

    y'sguy
    Member
    from Tulsa, OK

    Very cool to know that you have Green VooDoo in your possession. I am always interested in anything 1955 Tbird as this is what I grew up with and still have. I have seen the tri carb airbox before for the blower setup and as you know it is very scarce. The other stuff you mention doesn't seem so scarce as you could easily replace ($$$$!!!) with non original but similar stuff. Not sure what was done to the "customized" hardtop?? At any rate good luck with your endeavor, hope you can update us with progress. There is quite a good network of Yblock lovers out there and I bet an Airbox will surface!
     
    Stogy likes this.
  28. longhorizon
    Joined: Sep 25, 2011
    Posts: 46

    longhorizon
    Member



    Yes. That is a serious and important question. Sadly (and without any disrespect to God or one's personal religion), if we leave it to others, dignity is often unachievable. I find both courage and dignity in his action.
     
    OldSchoolRodz and mkebaird like this.
  29. Rolleiflex
    Joined: Oct 25, 2007
    Posts: 899

    Rolleiflex
    Member

    @Green Voodoo, or anyone else, have any word on the Green Voodoo Thunderbird?

    Would more than love to see this car in the public eye again.
     
    EVL401 likes this.
  30. EVL401
    Joined: Sep 12, 2012
    Posts: 130

    EVL401
    Member

    It’s currently in Australia hopefully soon to be restored


    Sent from my iPhone using H.A.M.B.
     
    Rolleiflex likes this.

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