Hot Rodding has lost one of its pioneering fathers with the passing of Dick Wells. Wells died late Monday night from complications after heart surgery last November. He was 75.
Originally from the plain state of Nebraska, Wells’ contributions to hot rodding are numerous. He held many different industry positions over the years including stints as editor or associate editor at magazines such as Hot Rod, Motor Trend, National Dragster and others. He is credited with producing the first ever SEMA Show at Dodger’s Stadium in Los Angeles back in 1967 and together with Tom Medley started the Street Rod Nationals in the early 70s. He also served on the NHRA board of directors – a position he held since 1979.
In 2007, he retired from the position of vice president of corporate projects at SEMA, where he also served as executive director in the 1970s.
Wells was honored many times for contributions to the automotive industry. He was named SEMA Person of the Year in 1977 and was inducted into the SEMA Industry Hall of Fame in 1993. He was presented the International Specialty Car Association (ISCA) Founder’s Award in 1994, the Street Rod Marketing Alliance Industry Recognition Award in 1996, and was among those honored with the NHRA Pioneers Award in 2001. Last year, he was inducted into the Nebraska Auto Racing Hall of Fame.
“Dick was the ultimate multi-tasker,” recalled Goodguys President and longtime friend Gary Meadors. “Dick was an outstanding writer, historian and event promoter. I remember being in his office one day when he was talking on the phone, writing an article and folding fliers all at the same time. He was a true Goodguy and a real pioneer for our industry. We certainly appreciate his dedication and leadership.”