Wednesday, August 26, 2015

RIP Chuck Koehler

I just heard that Chuck Koehler has died.

I didn't know Chuck well, but he was a vigorous and knowledgeable presence on the Crosley Gang Yahoo group, and he also sold his own handbuilt Crosley hop-up gear including dual carb set ups and tube headers.  Chuck served as the Crosley Auto Club's treasurer, taking over at a particularly dark period in the club's history, when its finances had gone into the negative.  By all accounts, Chuck  is a big part of the reason that the club is back in the black and doing well.

I'd only been in touch with Chuck a few times over the years when he offhandedly mentioned that he had once owned the original body molds for the Fibersport Crosley-powered sports cars.  I called him immediately, and discovered that Chuck had owned the molds, a Fibersport car, and had been in touch with Bill Mays, part of the family team that had built and campaigned the Fibersports.  He was generous with his memories and we bonded over our mutual fascination with the Mays and their racecar company.

Cut to a year or so later and Chuck announced that he had purchased a 'lost' Fibersport - in fact, a car that I'd been actively trying to track down.  It had been restored in Northern California in the late '80s, sold to someone on the East Coast, and was then out of sight for 20 years.  Chuck found it not far from his home in Pennsylvania - intact, well stored, but with a blown motor that had kept it out of sight all those years.  When Chuck said he was bringing the car to the national Crosley Meet in Wauseon, Ohio, that made up my mind: I booked a ticket that week.

That trip to Wauseon was the only time I met Chuck in person, but we exchanged emails a bit and phoned once in a while, generally exchanging Fibersport info that probably most people wouldn't have cared about.  I even tracked down a vintage photo of what I think may well have been Chuck's Fibersport on the track back in the day.

Dave Anspach, president of the Crosley Club, posted a notice of Chuck's passing on the Crosley Gang site today.  The Crosley extended family has lost another member.

Rest in Peace, my friend.

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