Gary J Ford, a resident on Allentown, PA, and formerly of Pipersville, PA, passed away peacefully on Dec 8th after a brief illness. He was 84 years young.
Born and raised in Taylor PA, Gary graduated early from Taylor High School and continued his education at Lafayette College, where he completed his BS in Engineering in 1959. After Lafayette, he accepted a position as a sales engineer for Moore Products company, a manufacturer of industrial controls products based in Southeast PA.
As a sales engineer, Gary was responsible for opening sales offices in TX and OK before moving to Chicago in the late 1960’s where he met his lovely wife, Virginia, at a travel agency while organizing a surprise anniversary trip for his parents. Gary and Virginia, who he affectionately called “Charlie”, were inseparable until she passed in 2016.
Gary’s career with Moore Products necessitated a move to the Philadelphia area in the early ‘70’s, where he and Charlie would remain. Gary retired from Moore Products in 1993. He then enjoyed a short second career assisting Charlie with her retail ceramic tile stores before finally retiring for good in 2000.
Gary’s true passion was the automobile. An avid motorsports enthusiast from an early age, he witnessed the earliest post-war sportscar races in the US at places like Watkins Glen, Thompson, CT and Bridgehampton, NY, with his childhood friend, Oscar Koveleski. Gary’s first car was an MG TC, which he and Oscar use to take turns racing around Lake Scranton at night. Following his graduation from Lafayette, Gary traded his MG for a brand-new Porsche 356 coupe and soon joined the Sport Car Club of America (SCCA) where he raced both the Porsche and a newly acquired Lotus 7.
After a decade of racing in the SCCA, Gary began to focus his passion on the historical aspects of motorsports and became a member of the Vintage Sports Car Club of America (VSCCA) in 1969. Over the next four decades, Gary restored and “raced” all manner of vintage sports cars which included the likes of HRG, MG, OSCA, Lotus, Cooper, Fraser Nash and Lola. He would remain a member of the VSCCA for the rest of his life and was awarded honorary membership in 2014.
Gary was particularly fond of the boutique British marque, HRG; owning and restoring no fewer than 6 different HRGs, including the desirable HRG “Twin Cam.” He was a long-time member of the HRG Association.
Gary’s motorsports interests focused on more than the automobile itself; he was an avid reader of the history of the sport and of the personalities who brought the cars to life. He contributed content to many books on the subject and, along with Charlie, was a founding supporter of the International Motor Racing Research Center (IMRRC) in Watkins Glen, NY.
While Gary and Charlie chose not to have children, they were never without family. Throughout their lives, they collected countless friends who would become their chosen life-long family. Always the gracious hosts, they could be counted on for a warm bed, great food, a bottomless glass of wine and never-ending conversation.
In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to the IMRRC, a dog rescue organization or a charity of your passion.