Harold Pace was a once-in-a-lifetime Texas car guy and a dedicated student of the automobile. He studied his craft with pure passion and was blessed with a photographic memory. These attributes resulted in an encyclopedic understanding of the history of the motorcar, and brought Harold to the pinnacle of his field. Be it Ferrari, Porsche, Jaguar, Aston Martin, Kurtis, Devin, Matra, Hot Rods, Goggomobil or anything else, there simply wasn’t a car-related subject that Harold could not speak on with eloquence, accuracy and delight. What truly set him apart, however, was his unbridled generosity; Harold was an automotive Yoda, always happy to share his wisdom with any true enthusiast who would call upon him.
Harold was a historian and photojournalist in the very best sense. He was brilliant without being boastful, razor sharp without being cutting and hilarious in his one-off witty (and sometime self-deprecating) way. He was a voracious reader but unlike most academics, Harold took his knowledge and put it to work. He not only mastered the written history, he was also quite skilled in the darker regions of the hobby…beneath the hood and into the running gear. This allowed Harold to live the complete car guy life, driving hard as both an author and racer.
As a young man Harold was active in the SCCA and was his “team’s” driver, mechanic and crew chief. He later vintage raced, most often in a car he had restored or built from the ground up. In the 1980s he built a fantastic Bocar XP-5 and followed this up with a beautifully constructed Devin SS. His most recent project was a 1927 Ford Track Roadster and he built it starting with a rusty body and frame rails. Just two months before his passing, Harold realized one of his big dreams, racing this hot rod across the salt flats of Bonneville.
Harold was a tireless advocate of great journalism. He believed in honest and well-researched writing and never delivered anything that would compromise his authenticity as a journalist. His photographic eye revealed not only artistry, but a deep appreciation for the “heart” of his subject matter. His prolific career produced freelance pieces for nearly every major automotive journal including Car & Driver, Automobile Quarterly, Excellence, Forza, Classic & Sportscar, Hemmings Motor News, Bimmer, Auto Italia, Kit Car, Vintage Racecar, Muscle Car Milestones, Corvette, Motor Sport, Rodders Journal, The New York Times, and many, many others. He was a contributing author for the and received the Cugnot Award of Distinction from the Society of Automotive Historians. He also co-authored Vintage American Road Racing Cars.
Cars were everything to Harold but at the same time they were absolutely nothing when compared to the true love of his life, Shelley his wife of 26 years. I have seen few couples who shared their kind of togetherness and adventure. In addition to Shelley, Harold is survived by his mother Lois (Ashburn) Pace, his uncles Bill and Don Ashburn, and many others from the Ashburn family. To them and all his many friends in the industry, Vintage Racecar extends its deepest sympathies.