The specialty-equipment industry mourns the passing of one of its most dedicated and active volunteers, Dick Wells, who died January 18 from complications following heart surgery in November. He was 75.

His contributions to SEMA and influence within the specialty-equipment industry are immeasurable. Wells was highly active in SEMA initiatives throughout his career and helped nurture the industry during its formative years.

He was the first editor of National DRAGSTER when it was launched in 1960 by the NHRA. Soon after, he became managing editor of Hot Rod magazine and later publisher of both Hot Rod and Motor Trend.

As director of special events at Petersen Publishing, Wells was also instrumental in producing the first SEMA Show in 1967 at Dodger Stadium.

Named SEMA Person of the Year in 1977, Wells was inducted into the SEMA Hall of Fame in 1993, received the International Specialty Car Association Founder’s Award in 1994, and was among those honored in 2001 with the NHRA’s Pioneer Award.

Wells remained a key editorial, marketing and historical adviser to SEMA to the end.

“There are only a few folks you can identify as foundation stones in the realms of SEMA and NHRA, and Dick Wells was one of them,” said Chris Kersting, SEMA president and CEO. “His life was all about drag racing, street rodding and the industry behind the hobby. Dick was particularly unique in having held influential positions in race sanctioning bodies, the automotive media and the industry’s trade associations.

“In those walks, Dick made many important contributions and many, many friends. The industry family he so loved is mourning his loss.”

Plans for services have not yet been announced. Additional details will be posted to the SEMA website as they become available.

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