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I just got word from reliable sources (Bob Foren, his brother-in-law) that US rally legend Gene Henderson has passed away. He had been on dialysis for quite some time.

Probably his most significant career highlight was winning the 1972 Press On Regardless in a Jeep Wagoneer when it was a WRC event, becoming the only US driver to win a WRC event. As well as being a regular in the US rally championship for a number of years, he also ran many adventure rallies such as Alcan, and for many years operated his business Competition Limited.

I regret that I did not get to know Gene better (I was on his team for the 2000 Alcan rally), but I am honored to have known the man.

Ben
 

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Very sad.

We will never see the likes of Gene Henderson again in North American rallying.

It is amazing to realize that, when we look at the AWD cars in today's WRC, Gene was the person who started it all.

RIP, big man.

Doug Woods
 

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your other left, you idiot
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I rallied against Gene back when he and Guy were both running Jeeps, and then AMC Eagles. He was a truly formidable competitor. We bought our first real rally parts from Competition Limited. But you sure did not want to run up against him in his day job.

We will miss you, big guy.

And I'll bet he is working on a really fast TSD up there, right now.

godspeed Gene.

press on (and he certainly did),
 

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Condolences to the family. Another great name gone.

Can't see me in your mirrors?
I must be in front of you!
 

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Rallied against Gene starting at Moonlight Monte in '70. Bought a gazillion Halogen light products, X and Z gears, various hardware, etc. from him for probably 20 years. Saw him last at Sno*Drift '04....did we see him there this year? Can't remember....happens that way to old farts.

Actually I ran against him at the '72 POR. If you think his was a wild ride, I'd love to see an "in-car" of Erhardt Dahm's car! If I remember correctly, very little glass in tact on that car when it got back to Alma.

He stewarded 100AW back in about 1980-81 sometime. A formidable force in MidWestern Performance Rally.

Bad year......Nagel, now Hederson. Cherish your old farts...pick their brains....they know all the tricks (and I'll bet Jon and Gene are setting some right now)

Kim DeMotte
Official Old Fart, etc.
 

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3/14=my 42nd rally anniversary
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Very sad news indeed. Gene was a great guy - here's a pic I snapped of him at Ojibwe in 2002

http://realautosport.com/pics/Beetle/OFPR2002/GHenderson.JPG

My fondest memories from the time I spent in the Detroit area nearly 20 years ago was the impromptu rally brunches Gene, Dougie, John Crawford, Uncle Joe, Dick Cole, Dr. Dan Gilliland, all their wives and several others of us attended from time to time at a country club restaurant near Pinckney. Lots of friendly banter, rally lies and great food on a quiet Sunday morning. I miss that ...

Here's a shot of (l to r) Gene, John Crawford and Uncle Joe Andreini (bent over) at Gene's Pinckney home/HQ. It was the very first stop we made on the way to shake down the CMC Motorsports Shadow I had just completed in early 1987.

http://www.realautosport.com/pics/CMC/Genejohn.jpg

Godspeed to the consummate rally man, Gene Henderson.

Halley ...
I wanna be invited to Jake's low water bridge christening ...
http://www.realautosport.com
 

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just another old phart
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Gene was maybe the first (certainly one of anyway) to make a business from his involvement in rallying. As college kids introduced to the rally bug in Toledo, we always looked forward to taking a trip up to the last house on Leland Court off of Telegraph in Dearborn. It was always fun to ogle the Cibies and other real rally stuff, get a new odo cable or two, a wheel unit, one of Gene's correction boxes (still have two of those in my garage) and get to hear the stories. Thanks for the memories and the opportunity to have met you, Gene. God speed!

Kent Gardam

And, Kim, there wasn't an unbent body panel left on Erhard's Wagoneer after he was turned loose on the 3rd night of POR to try to catch Tom Jones 240Z (if'n I remember correctly). Fun times.
 

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Oh man - he was still running Competition Limited when I got into rally, and he patiently answered all my newbie questions. Then just last week I wrote about his 1972 POR victory for Inside Track (in a larger article about rally cars) and stopped and thought for a moment the significance of his contribution.

CAS100 and straight to heaven, Gene.

ACP
Flirting with the laws of physics.
 

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Debbie and I knew we were getting the best from Gene
everytime we competed against him.
Even when Deb's brother did the navie work for him.
He was fair and fun and truely enjoyed the sport.

I believe Gene was one of the founding Rallligators,
of which I am proud to be as well.

He will be missed by many.
 

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Very sad news indeed, first John Nagel, then Gene. I was on Gene's TSD Rally Team, "ompitition Limite" in 1969 and was always glad to visit with Gene when he came to STPR, LSPR, etc.

He will be missed. Gene was the man who started the AWD Generation in WRC. Those Moby Dicks (Gene and Erhardt) were something to see.

My sincerest condolences to Mark, Juanita and the rest of the Henderson Family.


David Weiman
rallydave at pobox dot com
 

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3/14=my 42nd rally anniversary
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The folloiwing letter, from Gene's son Mark, is making the rounds and based on his desire to get the info spread from "coast to coast to coast and Canada" I am sharing it here:

Everything in bold below is a direct cut & paste from Mark's letter.

Dear Rallist: One of the current founding fathers of rally passed quietly today (4-6-05) at approx. 9:30 am. Gene Henderson was in ill health recently and after falling at his home a month ago. He passed while in the care of Oakwood Hospital here in Dearborn. He was on a DNR at the time of passing. The night before last was the last time I had a good conversation with him and we had talked about the MoonLight Monte this past weekend. When we last spoke, I told him I loved him and said goodbye not knowing that this might be the last time to speak to him while he was alert. I saw him last night but he was not with us in mind and I again told him I loved him and said goodbye. It was was this morining while at work that I received the call that I was expecting that the world of rallye as we know it had shuttered and shook with disbelief that he was no longer with us. Rallye life will go on, but it will not be running like a finely tuned rallye car for a little while. My mother is getting better and will be moving into Dearborn in a few months near me and my wife and my brother and his wife. I am thinking about a memorial party later in the summer or fall in his honor at a banquet hall. This will be a pay benefit type of a food and drink thing with lots of stories to be told and I would like to have it recorded on tape with sound. I am already getting offers of help with this party. My Dad (I think) touched a lot of lives of rallist through the years and I think he brought a lot of good and changes to the sport both PRO and TSD. Who remembers the "Whitmore Lake Concord" (rules changes meeting held at the best western motel in Whitmore Lake,Mi in the year 2000) when we had 40 of the top guns of rally show up to make rule changes in TSD? Who remembers my dad coming up with the club called "Friends of P.O.R." and the jackets and hats that were passed out and the newsletters? Who remembers "Competitive Line" newsletter he pumped out each month talking about all the current rallies here and abroad? Who remembers the "Volvo Viking" car club which became the "Ralligators, Inc." that he was a senior and founding member of? Who was the one who wanted to preserve the name of "P.O.R." by running a drag race with service vehicles on the eve the "Marquette 1000" in 1976 in order to keep the POR name in force so that the SCCA could not take the POR name and give it to another region? Who was there to preserve all injustices and keep things on a level keel and let cooler heads prevail during crisis in moments in rallying? Who stayed out of the limelight when praise was being handed out for a job well done. Who talked to novice rallist (as part of his business of course) for long hours to recieve proper instruction on equipment? Who gave of his time freely to help with many PORs and put the rallye on and so many others such as Dawnbuster, Moonlight Monte. Who was the "cop on sight" when we needed to know the "laws" of driving in Michigan when at rallies? Gene wore many hats in the sport of rally racing. I was glad that I prompted the article in "SportCar" that was written recently. I wanted my dad's story told before something happened to him. I'll be in touch. I can be contacted by e-mail and my address here Mark D. Henderson 1563 Walnut Dearborn, Mi. 48124-4023 (313) 441-4521 markdhenderson37 -at- wowway.com PS I will be e-mailing many people with this, but please feel free to pass this on to everyone you know that might have an interest in the news of Gene's passing this day. I would like to see this get coast to coast to coast and Canada all over. Please do this as a personal favor for me. Sincerely Mark D. Henderson (# 2 son of Gene Henderson)


Halley ...
I wanna be invited to Jake's low water bridge christening ...
http://www.realautosport.com
 

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While I?m rather new to US rally in comparison to many, I knew of Gene Henderson's contribution to rally lore long before moving to North America. In Autosport there used to be a section inside the back cover called ?Race of my life? (or something like that) where racers would be asked about their special day. Gene was interviewed for it some time in the mid to late 80?s and talked about POR, being the WRC 4WD innovator and Moby Dick.

I was fortunate enough to get the chance to meet Gene at Ojibwe a couple of years ago and have the opportunity to speak to him a little. I mentioned the Autosport piece, he seemed rather tickled someone had remembered it.

While I never knew him in the same way as many others, rally people are special and the loss of someone who contributed as much as Gene is huge.

Dave
 

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Papa Gene's smiling face was always a welcome sight, be it out on a stage, in the restaurant post-rally, or at a service area...and especially so when that booming voice called your name unexpectedly from behind.

We've lost one of the giants of the sport. His like will not pass this way again.
 

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Trivia Question - Who was the first person to win an FIA rally with a 4WD vehicle?

GENE HENDERSON

I finally have a friend among the rally gods!!!

Rally On Gene

Steve
 

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>Trivia Question - Who was the first person to win an FIA
>rally with a 4WD vehicle?
>
>GENE HENDERSON
>
>I finally have a friend among the rally gods!!!
>
>Rally On Gene
>
>Steve

Who is the only American driver ever to win a World Rally Championship rally? (no nitpicking about names/titles/years, etc).

What is the only US made car(?) ever to win the above?

What rally was it?

What did FIA do as a result?

Finally, what does Gene have to do with all this?

(These are all really easy, folks)
 

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Ok Uncle Joe

I can't remember the year, but Gene won POR with Moby Dick with the Jeep Cherokke. It was one of the years it started in Detroit and was also an FIA listed event.

The FIA went on to ban 4 wheel drive until they allowed Audi to enter the Quattro.

If neccessary I can get out my History of POR tape and give you the years

from the right seat
dave mulder
 

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>Ok Uncle Joe
>
>I can't remember the year, but Gene won POR with Moby Dick
>with the Jeep Cherokke. It was one of the years it started in
>Detroit and was also an FIA listed event.
>
>The FIA went on to ban 4 wheel drive until they allowed Audi
>to enter the Quattro.
>
>If neccessary I can get out my History of POR tape and give
>you the years
>
>from the right seat
>dave mulder

Close enough, Dave (it was 1972). Scott Harvey won in 1971, before it was added to the Championship, in a Plymouth Cricket (aka Hillman Hunter). What a horrid little car. Gene and Scott were teammates in racing and rallying throughout much of the 60s. Their rivalry when they parted company was legendary and intense.
 
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