We have lost a “Modern Legend”. Today, a large group of people gathered at a memorial service today to honor the life of Gary LeFever. He passed away one week ago on October 13, 2016. He can probably best be remembered by his white and red RAJO powered Model T speedster. It was an icon at many Model T events in the Midwest.
The RAJO powered speedster started out with a Roof 16-Valve but when it proved inadequate, he switched to a BB RAJO. From that point on, he began refining his car into one that would win the Tulsa Hill Climb eight times. It also could be seen at the Speedster Trials in Nebraska and even as far away as Evansville, Indiana, where it beat Model T’s, Model A’s, and Chevrolet speedsters; plus a Dodge Turbo-charged Diesel, a Hummer, and a Sheriff’s Patrol car! The event in Indiana even caught the eye of the Paul Harvey and was the subject of one of his famous “The Rest of the Story” radio programs.
The BB RAJO was not Gary’s only foray into Model T speedsters. He built a Twin-Engine Model T speedster with two Model T engines for an in-line eight. While it was not as fast as the RAJO speedster, it can still be considered an engineering marvel. That particular vehicle now resides in Speedy Bill’s Museum in Lincoln, Nebraska.
Gary was inducted in the Speedster Hall of Fame as a “Modern Legend” in 2011. His credits included, “Speedster Builder, Driver, Designer, and Craftsman”.
With the exception of restoring a 1-cylinder Rambler and a couple of Army vehicles, Gary was dyed-in-the-wool Model T guy. He helped put many, many Model T’s back on the road. There was hardly a Model T person in this area that didn’t know Gary. Even if they didn’t know his name, they knew of him. He was held in the upmost regard as the guy who could fix whatever ailed a Model T.
We have Kings of countries and the King of Rock & Roll, but Gary, will probably always be known as the King of the Hill.
Very sorry to hear this Verne. I really enjoyed meeting you and Gary a few years ago. He was a fabulous craftsman and a really nice guy.
He was a cool guy! I was at the seminar in Hutchinson, Kansas where Steve's photos were taken. On another trip John Steele and I stopped by his place on a tour of the area with Verne. It was amazing all he had in that little shop and what he was able to turn out.
Verne, thanks for posting this and please pass our condolences on to the family.
Thank you Verne for a great Eulogy.
So sorry to learn about your friend passing.
Thanks for all of the nice comments about Gary. I will see that his family gets to read them.
Gary was very active in the local Horseless Carriage Club. We are really going to miss him at our events.
Anyone who drove a RAJO equipped Ford must have been one hell of a great guy. God speed Gary!
Thanks Verne, Gary was a great guy and will be missed.