Danny Eames became one of the "suits" the day he joined driver Jerry Kugel for this advert
The pilot said he was only going to be on the ground for two hours. He had a stop in the Philippines to pick up a load of monkeys. We had to cut the car in two. We cut it behind the door posts and took the whole front end off the car and part of the quarter-panels to pry it into the cargo plane."
Back on U.S. soil, the monkeys had gotten loose and soiled everything inside the plane. They especially took a liking to the Ford. The plane had to taxi to the end of the runway and have the fire department hose everything off before they'd allow the nasty Ford to be unloaded.
Not to diminish the team's accomplishments, they crossed through 17 countries in those 119 days and made a lot of ink for Ford and Mobil Oil in the process.
A youthful looking 92-year-young Danny Eames went after the youth market in the '50s. Both
When Ford acquired Autolite, Danny went to work for the division known for its spark plugs and batteries. He enlisted two of the best engine men in racing: "I hired Art Chrisman to represent us in the drag racing business. I hired Chrisman in 1962 because he was one of the first big-time drag racers, plus he was well respected in the industry. He was excellent on fuel injection and engine tuning. He knew engines.
"Chickie Hirashima was a riding mechanic in the old two-man Champ Car days going back to the mid-'30s. He also knew engines. Hirashima assembled every Offenhauser engine and dyno tested it before it was released from the factory. I knew Hirashima from the Champ Car, United States Auto Club (USAC) circuit.
Danny created an engineering exercise in 1969, the "Lead Wedge" that used 20 Autolite high-performance batteries. It was Ford's path for electric cars. Danny chose Jerry Kugel as the driver because Ford didn't want Danny to drive the thing. Kugel got it up to 141 mph with an average record speed of 138 mph at Bonneville.
(Left to right) Mario Andretti, Danny, Art Chrisman, and Chickie Hirashima. "Mario drove a
There's no question that Dodge, Ford, and Autolite benefited from Danny's creative mind in motorsports. Autolite Spark Plugs surpassed Champion when it came to racing team preferences at the time. When Ford sold Autolite in 1974, Danny retired from Ford. He went to work as a product manager for a parts company in Nevada before moving to Santa Maria.
Looking back Danny has this to say: "You have to stay at whatever you are doing in life. I grew up in the Depression; you grabbed onto opportunities and pursued them. You parlayed one to another. That's what it takes to get somewhere."