MILWAUKEE, Wis. - David Uihlein, founder of the Harry A. Miller Club and dedicated historian and champion of race car designer Harry A. Miller, can be credited with "forever preserving an important period in the heritage of vintage racing," said Dana Mecum, president of the Harry A. Miller Club.
Mecum was speaking on the legacy of Uihlein, who passed away on Friday, January 29, 2010, at his home in Mequon, Wis.
"David's consummate passion for the automotive designs of Harry A. Miller and his seemingly endless energy in promoting that excitement will be missed by legions of enthusiasts worldwide," said Mecum. "I feel honored to have known David, thankful to have gleaned from his vast knowledge of automobiles and humbled to serve as president for this esteemed group. We take pride in recognizing his vision and will continue our work to ensure the Harry A. Miller Club succeeds in its mission of enjoying and honoring all vintage race cars."
The 2010 Miller Club Meet will be held in Uihlein's honor on Friday, July 9 and Saturday, July 10 at The Milwaukee Mile. According to Mecum, "The Club will continue to hold its events at The Milwaukee Mile because of its historical significance as the oldest continuing race track and because Miller cars were specifically designed to run on its one-mile oval. Our event just wouldn't be the same if it was held anywhere else."
David Vogel Uihlein, born in Milwaukee on July 27, 1920, was an avid collector of antique cars, especially 1930s Indianapolis 500 race cars, which led to his founding of the Harry A. Miller Club. This group of more than 250 race car owners and enthusiasts sponsors "Millers at Milwaukee," a national show held at the historic Milwaukee Mile. Since 1995, the annual event draws collectors and aficionados of antique race car engine designer Harry A. Miller.
In addition to collecting, Uihlein also restored a number of his classic cars, and his work on a 1925 Bugatti - a gift to his wife - won him a blue ribbon in 1989 at the Concours D'Elegance in Pebble Beach, CA.
"Uihlein's enthusiasm for automotive history found him serving as a wonderful mentor for many fellow car enthusiasts," said Mecum. "He took pleasure in sharing his knowledge, and his stories on the background and history of all the cars he restored served as an inspiring and informational education to others who shared his passion."
A man of many enthusiasms, Uihlein's passions extended beyond automobiles, as he also collected and restored boats, airplanes and duck decoys. He was also an ardent naturalist and outdoorsman, and was the founder and president of the Milwaukee chapter of the Ruffled Grouse Society and active in his support of Ducks Unlimited, the Trout and Salmon Foundation and the Nature Conservancy, among others.
A businessman by trade, Uihlein acquired the Banner Welder Co. in 1949 - which is still thriving today - after formal training, education and on-the-job experience at the Schlitz Brewing Company, the U.S. Brewers' Academy in New York City and the University of Wisconsin. Uihlein also purchased and ran the Oshkosh Brewing Co. in Oshkosh, Wis., from 1961 to 1969.
His strong focus on community service found Uihlein serving on a number of corporate boards, including appointments with the Schlitz Brewing Co., Briggs and Stratton, Allen-Bradley Co. and First Wisconsin Bank. His active philanthropic pursuits benefited a variety of health related organizations and educational institutions. Uihlein also proudly served in World War II as an ambulance driver for the American Field Service in Italy, Austria and India.