Posted on December 20, 2010
POMONA, CA. – So-Cal Speed Shop Founder and Hot Rod Icon Alex Xydias has been named Chairman of the Board of the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum presented by Automobile Club of Southern California, effective today. He previously served as a board member since the Museum opened in 1998.
“We are very excited and pleased to announce Alex’s appointment as our Chairman,” said Tony Thacker, executive director of the Museum. “His knowledge, expertise and history with the Museum will be a great asset to our organization and we’re certain Wally would be proud.”
In 1946, Xydias opened the So-Cal Speed Shop, the first hot rod parts store in Burbank, CA and established the So-Cal Speed Shop Racing Team. The Team received countless accolades but perhaps none greater than for The So-Cal Special Streamliner, one of the first hot rods to go over 200 mph and featured on the cover of Hot Rod Magazine in January, 1949.
“It's a great honor to be elected as Chairman,” said Xydias. “My longtime dear friend Wally Parks had tremendous vision and passion for the sport. As Chairman, together with the other board members, I’ll strive to continue Wally’s legacy to develop a museum that is vital to the motorsports community.”
In the early 1960s, as the industry shifted, Xydias joined Petersen Publishing and served as editor of Car Craft Magazine and then Publisher of Petersen’s trade magazine Hot Rod Industry News. He also served as director of the Petersen Trade Show known today as the SEMA Show. He is also credited with organizing the SCORE off-road equipment trade show with his then business partner the late Mickey Thompson.
In 1982, Alex was inducted into the SEMA Hall of Fame and in 2008, received the notable Robert E. Petersen Lifetime Achievement Award. In 1997, Xydias and celebrity hot rod builder Pete Chapouris partnered to revive the SO-CAL Speed Shop name and continue its legacy.
Xydias and board members Thomas K. McKernan, Dave McClelland, Peter Clifford, Gary Darcy, Wayne McMurtry and Steve Gibbs will oversee all Museum activities including the planning and growth of Museum exhibits, fundraising and the popular NHRA Hot Rod Reunions. They will guide, support and advocate for the mission and vision of NHRA Motorsports Museum.
In June, the Museum added Automobile Club of Southern California CEO Thomas K. McKernan and legendary NHRA Announcer Dave McClelland to its board.
Photo: Alex Xydias and SO-CAL Speed Shop President Pete Chapouris stand between the SO-CAL Speed Shop coupe and the historic restoration of the Pierson Bros. 1934 coupe displayed in the Museum in 2008.
The Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum, presented by the Automobile Club of Southern California, long a dream of NHRA founder Wally Parks, opened to the public April 4, 1998. Housed in a 28,500-square-foot building on the edge of the historic Los Angeles County Fairplex, the Museum's mission is to celebrate the impact of motorsports on our culture. We collect, preserve, exhibit and interpret the vehicles, stories, and artifacts that represent our affection for, and the influence of, automotive speed and style in all its forms. We are the place to view and learn about hot rods, customs, racecars and speed records, and the West Coast's role as the historic center for their past and present development. The Museum features an impressive array of vintage and historical racing vehicles along with photographs, trophies, helmets and driving uniforms, artifacts, paintings, and other memorabilia chronicling more than 60 years of American motorsports. A gift shop offers a wide variety of souvenir items including jackets, hats, pins, and more.
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