Bob Stange, founder and owner of Strange Engineering and pioneer in racing part manufacturing, peacefully passed away on Monday, May 22nd, his son Jeff Stange announced. He was 84 years old.
“A life so wonderfully lived deserves to be wonderfully remembered,” Jeff wrote in a statement. “Please know that when we are able, we will be sharing his memories, his achievements, and the magnitude of influence that he has had on this industry. My father loved this way of life that we [chose] in the racing community.”
Bob began welding as a teenager in high school and went to work as a professional welder upon graduating. While working as a welder, the pioneer in race parts manufacturing was also spending time with the company machinists mastering that trade as well.
Stange began competing at nearby Union Grove Raceway in a 1950 Ford Coupe, gradually modifying it as time and money permitted. His friends saw his talent as a welder and began asking him to do rear-end and suspension work on their cars. From there, Stange set up a machine shop in his mom’s garage. As the business grew, he moved and established Stange Machine and Engineering in 1964.
Stange realized in order to keep growing, he would need to advertise and began putting together print ads. A copy editor saw the name Stange Machine Engineering and thought it was a misspelling. Therefore, Strange Engineering was born.
Strange Engineering debuted at the 1973 Winternationals when 14 of the 16 Funny Car qualifiers used its parts. Then in 1983, Team Strange was formed. It consisted of Chris Karamesines in Top Fuel, Austin Coil and Frank Hawley’s “Chi-Town Hustler” in Funny Car and entries in five other categories.
Strange Engineering has more than 50 years of manufacturing experience in the performance industry, from racing axles, rear ends, spools, suspension units, and struts to front and rear disc brakes and billet magnesium blower drives. Jeff Stange now leads the family-owned company.
Strange Engineering has been awarded Manufacturer of the Year several times and was inducted into the International Drag Racing Hall of Fame in 2010 under Bob’s guidance. Stange received the Car Craft Magazine Ollie Award – an award that recognizes people who have significantly contributed to the sport of drag racing throughout their careers. He was also honored as a Car Craft Magazine Hi-Riser in 1973.
Jeff continued to explain that they will provide details on Bob’s services when they are available.
“We ask for privacy for our family at this time, but I want to thank everyone for their calls and heartfelt messages,” stated Jeff. “Each memory you have shared has been treasured.”