~ Byron's Gasser Madness! ~
~ Rest in Peace ~
~ Ray Kobel ~
Ray Kobel of Hicksville New York passed away March 23, 2008 at the age of 65.
A native New Yorker, Ray became interested in cars very young and began learning his life long skills from his father, a high school metal shop teacher. Ray was an innovator, a "hands-on-can-do-anything-guy", the first in the neighborhood to build that '40 Ford Coupe with flames and that yellow trophy winning Corvette plus many others.
In 1962 at age 20 Ray and a buddy ventured out West to So Cal to enjoy the fun and sun, the hot rods and to find that illusive '40 Willys Coupe. Whether watching the drags at San Fernando or Lions or Irwindale drag strips, or soaking up the So Cal lifestyle, Ray loved it all.
Later after finding that Willys Coupe and getting homesick for New York, he flat towed it solo across the county to later build it into a C/Gas wheel standing winner. He actually worked for Jack Merkel and later proudly flew the Jack Merkel Racing Team banner racing all over the East Coast.
Then he opened his own auto repair shop and eventually went to work for the City of New York Sanitation Department as a transportation supervisor until retirement. Still having that hot rod itch Ray went to work part time for Classic Craft of Long Island busily modifying and fabricating hot rods with his eagle eye and skilled hands, "quality" was his motto. "Just ask Ray, he knows", with his vast auto knowledge and hand skills he was mentor and inspiration to anyone around him.
In 2003 Ray lost his only son Matthew, they were a team in the garage or out racing at the track, let's hope that they are at the drag races together in heaven.
From the streets of Queens where he grew up;
American Bandstand where he had danced; at the east coast drag strips
where he raced; at California's Toluca Lake Bobs where he cruised; to the
many custom car shows he proudly displayed his hot rods; to the backyard
B-B-Q's and dinner tables with his friends; and in the arms of he beloved
family and grandson Kyle, Ray left his mark of quality in our hearts and
minds, he will be missed and remembered always.