Goodguys and the entire performance automotive industry has lost a friend as well as an associate with the passing of Wally Arnold. He passed away last week after a brief battle with cancer.
Arnold enjoyed an esteemed career in motorsports serving long tenures with Cal Custom and Eagle One before opening White Eagle Motorsports in Temecula, CA. He was an avid hot rodder, collector and a lover of all forms of motorsport. With his flowing white mane, big smile, quick wit and propensity to kick tires with the best of ‘em, Wally was one of the industry’s real movers & shakers for decades. In the late 80s as Goodguys Rod & Custom Association was just gathering steam with a national network of events Arnold, then with Eagle One, came on board as a one of our first major sponsors, providing years’ worth of Eagle One car care products (remember those black plastic buckets?), goodie bag giveaways and hundreds of Eagle One award picks for event participants.
During the glory years of the Goodguys Vintage Drag Racing Association, Arnold was at every race as a sponsor and supporter. He made a lot of people happy. Goodguys founder & chairman Gary Meadors reflected on his relationship with Arnold remembering, “Wally was with Goodguys as a sponsor & friend almost from the get go. First with Cal Custom then with Eagle One, he was one of our most loyal early supporters and that meant a lot. As soon as we had a direction for our events, Wally was right there with us. He was such a funny guy.
Whenever he was at the Eagle One booth back in the day, that’s where all the ‘players’ were. Kind of the ‘who’s who’. He was funny in that he would never fly anywhere so we didn’t see much of him back east. He was also a great collector – cars, rare motors, you name it – he had it. He never drove any of his hot rods. For him, building project cars and collecting stuff was the deal.
When the late Ed Hegarty, Gil Losi and I would go the sprint car races in Perris – we’d always go to Wally’s place and sit down at his table and B.S. for hours. He knew everyone. Even though he was kind of retired from the industry the last few years, he had all the good scoop. He was one of those guys who had all the news.” Arnold was 72.