- Written by webmin
Word came to us last week that Herman Lewis, by some accounts the godfather of AMC racing, died February 13 after a bout with pancreatic cancer. He was 73.
Lewis, who told the Register-Herald of Beckley, West Virginia, that he cut his teeth as a racer hauling illegal moonshine in Tennessee, drag raced in Chevrolets until 1968, when he spied the then-brand-new AMC AMX and decided that the two-seat sports car would make an excellent drag race machine. Since then, according to Drag Illustrated, he’s won more than 200 events and set 19 national records in NHRA and IHRA Super Stock and Modified classes, all with the same AMX.
Perhaps more importantly, in 1972 Lewis began developing performance parts for AMC engines based on his racing experience. He’s best known today for his aluminum intake manifolds and aluminum cylinder heads for the AMC Gen II and Gen III V-8. He had also developed an aluminum engine block, though according to his son Bill, he sold those patterns to another company before he died.
Lewis was inducted into the East Coast Drag Racing Hall of Fame in 2008.
According to Bill Lewis, the family plans to place Herman’s famed AMX in Floyd Garrett’s Muscle Car Museum in Sevierville, Tennessee. Herman’s equipment and remaining inventory will likely be auctioned off, though Herman’s shop manager, Red Brock, has expressed an interest in keeping the business going.