Master fabricator Phil Remington passed away over the weekend at his home in California. Remington was renowned as one of the finest fabricators the sport has ever seen.
He worked for Dan Gurney’s All American Racers for 45 years, from 1968 through his final days. ‘Rem’ was a superb craftsman who could build anything, combining an artistic flare with deeply practical thinking and an unrelenting work ethic. Into his late 80s Remington continued to work three and four day weeks at AAR.
A native Californian, Remington served as a flight engineer in the South Pacific during World War II. After the war he raced his own Model A Ford Flathead, setting a class record of 136mph on the El Mirage dry lake but a bad motorcycle accident prompted Remington to focus on developing his skills as a fabricator. He built intake manifolds for Eddie Meyer, an Indycar for millionaire Sterling Edwards and also worked for fuel injection manufacturer Stu Hilborn before joining Lance Reventlow’s team to build the Scarab sports and F1 cars.
In 1962, Carroll Shelby hired Remington to get his new Cobra racing programme up and running and ‘Rem’ was a central figure in both the Cobra’s racing successes and the subsequent Ford GT40 project. During this time Dan Gurney became intimately familiar with Remington’s outstanding craftsmanship and rigorous work ethic and after Ford terminated its racing programme at the end of 1967 ‘Rem’ joined AAR working initially on the ‘McLeagle’ Can-Am car. He spent the rest of his life at AAR working as a fabricator and development engineer.
Bobby Unser drove AAR’s Eagle Indycars through most of the ’70s, winning the Indy 500 with the team in 1975. “I’ve seen a lot of fabricators, but Remington was the best,” Unser remarked. “He did beautiful work and he could design anything for you. He built so much good stuff and he was so practical. He really knew how to make something that would work. He would talk to you and never stop working, and he could never tell a lie. That would never happen in his world. He wasn’t capable of lying. Remington was a totally honest man.”
In 2011 the prototype DeltaWing was built at AAR and at 90 years of age Remington was in the thick of the project. DeltaWing designer Ben Bowlby was nothing less than awestruck with Remington. “What an incredibe man!” Bowlby declared. “He could build anything, sort out any problem for you and do it beautifully. I learned something new from ‘Rem’ every day for the six months we worked together at AAR. He was a great man.”
Dan Gurney called Remington AAR’s ‘Rock of Gibraltar’. “He was a marvel, an old salt, and an inspiration to young and old,” Gurney said. “I know it’s a cliché, but when they made old Rem, they threw away the mold.”