The best part about my job as Director of the Great Race is getting to know the coolest car guys from one end of the country to the other. But with that comes the hardest part of my job: sharing the news when one of those cool guys passes away. It comes with the territory I guess since many of the people I meet are participating in the Great Race in their Golden Years.
John Swindle, who participated in the Great Race twice, in 2014 and 2016, passed away this week after a long bout with cancer, his navigator Skip Hallquist reported. Not everyone got to know John during those two races, but I did. I am always fascinated by people and their cars, and John had some beauties. In 2014, he and Skip raced a 1962 Corvair Greenbrier van. And not just any van – it was the “hippy” van from the iconic Chevrolet commercial and it is the only Corvair van to ever compete in the Great Race. Earlier this year, despite his poor health, John and Skip participated in the Great Race in John’s 1962 Corvair station wagon – probably the nicest one in the world.
John had to drop out of the Great Race in Iowa and drive home to Florida due to his health, but not before he and Skip helped several folks out of the Needles Highway in the Black Hills of South Dakota a few days earlier.
For those who don’t remember, here is a link to John’s Corvair van in the Chevrolet commercial: