Vintage Air founder Jack Chisenhall will receive the 2011 Robert E. Petersen Lifetime Achievement Award; it was announced on Wednesday by the Hotrod & Restoration Trade Show, in conjunction with the Petersen Automotive Museum.
Chisenhall will accept his award at the Hotrod & Restoration Trade Show's Grand Opening Breakfast on Friday, March 18, 2011, in Indianapolis. He will then sit down with Car Crazy TV host Barry Meguiar for an interview and storytelling session.
"The Robert E. Petersen Lifetime Achievement Award is truly the highest honor in our industry," Hotrod & Restoration Group Publisher Travis Weeks said. "The award honors someone that has changed and helped shape our market, as well as someone that has a lifelong passion and commitment to the hot rod industry. I can't think of anyone who fits that description better, and is more deserving of this award, than Jack."
Chisenhall is credited with creating a whole new market sector and making year round hot rodding possible after he started Vintage Air in 1976. Chisenhall had found that there were very few specialty parts that could be used to air condition hot rods and, while working in partnership with his brother Gordon and friend Milton Jones, Chisenhall laid the plans to build some basic street rod air conditioning products. After being met with positive feedback from street rodders who needed these parts after he took them to the 1976 Street Rod Nationals, Chisenhall bought out his partners and expanded his business several times, including an expansion in 2001 in which Chisenhall moved his company to a 44,000-square-foot manufacturing facility.
In 1995, Chisenhall raised eyebrows when he ran 219.585 mph at Bonneville in his street-driven 1953 Studebaker with the air conditioning on to demonstrate the reliability and performance of his company's air conditioning systems. He was later recognized with the Pioneer Award from the Mobile Air Conditioning Society for his innovations in the automotive air conditioning industry.
"Jack is knowledgeable, hands-on, humble, bright, passionate and devoted," said Buddy Pepp, Director of the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles. "He is truly deserving of the Robert E. Petersen Lifetime Achievement Award. Jack Chisenhall is a class act, just like the high-quality products his company manufactures."
Chisenhall was one of the founding members of the Street Rod Manufacturers Association (SRMA), which later became the HRIA SEMA council. He was instrumental in establishing the original SRMA winter trade conference, which later became the Hotrod & Restoration Trade Show.
"Both the man and his products are revered for being so cool and so dependable," said Barry Meguiar, longtime host of the show's Grand Opening Breakfast.
The Robert E. Petersen Award has been presented annually since 2002 to recognize the true pioneers of hot rodding. Past recipients include Wally Parks, Alex Xydias, the Ford Family, and last year's recipient, Jack Roush. For more information, go to www.hotrodshow.com.