A Few of Your Thoughts About Tom
Form the Visitors of the Vault and from the contributors of South Jersey Dirt Racing's Message Board
Photo from Rick Broschard - "Tom Skinner (R) and Charlie Santilli (L) at the Fleming's Pumpkin Run - Fall 2005."
AS A CHILD GROWING UP I REMEMBER GOING WITH MY FATHER TO VISIT TOM SKINNER. MY FATHER ED BROWN WHO IS PROBABLY BEST KNOW IN THE NEW JERSEY AUTO RACING COMMUNITY AS THE OWNER OF THE 21X PINTO DRIVEN BY TONY SISCONE IN THE MID TO LATE 1970'S AT THE ATLANTIC CITY SPEEDWAY. HE ALWAYS HAD GREAT RESPECT FOR TOM AND CONSIDERED HIM A TRUE FRIEND AND MENTOR. MY FATHER ALWAYS SPOKE OF TOM'S VAST KNOWLEDGE OF PERFORMANCE ENGINES AND AUTO RACING.
HE WAS DEEPLY SADDENED TO HEAR THAT TOM HAD PASSED.
IT IS BY CHANCE THAT I CAME ACROSS THIS TRIBUTE PAGE, JUST 2 NIGHTS AGO MY FATHER AND I WE'RE LOOKING AT PHOTOS AND TALKING ABOUT TOM AND THE #659. MY FATHER TOLD ME THE STORY ABOUT HOW TOM CAME UP WITH THAT NUMBER FOR HIS RACE CARS. AS HE REMEMBERED IT, 659 WAS A PART NUMBER OFF A FAN BELT.
WHENEVER WE TAKE A WALK DOWN MEMORY LANE AND TALK ABOUT RACING, TOM'S NAME IS ONE OF THE FIRST TO COME UP.
MY FATHER HAS BEEN LOOKING FOR HIS OLD 21X PINTO, WHICH HE SOLD TO A CONTRACTOR FROM THE JERSEY SHORE AROUND 1980. HE SAID TO ME "I WISH TOM WERE STILL ALIVE, HE WOULD BE ABLE TO FIND THE 21X". IF ANYONE KNOWS WHERE THE 21X PINTO IS PLEASE CONTACT US. YOU CAN SEE A PICTURE OF IT AT:
WWW.ATLANTICCITYSPEEDWAY.COM ,THEN CLICK ON "TRACK PICS", THEN CLICK ON PAGE 2, IT IS IN THE TOP ROW, ON THE RIGHT SIDE.
IF WE FIND THE 21X PINTO, WE WON'T BE ABLE TO LOOK AT IT WITHOUT REMEMBERING TOM SKINNER. HE WILL BE GREATLY MISSED.
TO CONTACT ED BROWN: 561-201-8300 AEBROWN2000@YAHOO.COM
"We have really enjoyed reading all the memories of Tom that people have so gratefully shared with the racing community and 3 wide racing. Today was a very tough moment for all that were present for Tom's Funeral Services. The moment that stands out in our minds the most, is Tony Siscone's tribute to Tom Skinner at his final resting place. Tony ended his message with a special salute to Tom. He, himself, represented all "small time racers" from the area which were deemed to be all of Tom's "close racing family." Upon the final words uttered from Tony's mouth, Eddie Bohn then fired up the 659 Coupe, which was located on top of the original 1953 Chevrolet Race Car Hauler. A loud roar echoed throughout the air and across the cemetery. For most of the mourners this is what triggered the tears of joy and sorrow as they witnessed Tom Skinner hear the one last rumble and flame belch from what he had been so proud of."
"My father Charlie, Tom's dear friend Chris, and I would love to thank all that have shown their support through this tragic time. Please keep these memories alive in your head, and on this site, Tom would want it that way....."
"R.I.P. Tom Skinner,"Father, Brother, Buddy, Mentor"
"When one mentions Wall Stadium the names Nicol, Skinner and Bohn surface as the fabric of local stock car racing at the shore. When I first entered the Wall pits in 1962 I was well aware of who Tom Skinner was and his accomplishments in the sport. No driver who has followed Parker around the track under yellow will ever forget the experience.
We have lost an Icon in motorsports along with an encyclopedia of knowledge. I was fortunate to have met and talked to Tom for many hours about his past and his views on the sport today through my involvement with G.S.V.S.C.C. I will miss that link to the past but will make sure he is not forgotten. To Charlie , ET and the rest of the crew, you all know how lucky you were to have spent the many years with the Master.
Rest in peace Tom."
"Racing has lost one of its most precious links to the past. Tom Skinner was a walking "book of knowlege" willing to share its pages with anyone who was interested in learning. From the night at Alcyon Speedway when Sal Moschella "scorched the field" with the flames belching out of the 659, to the stellar career of Parker Bohn, Tom's cars left an indelible mark in short track stock car racing. Tom will always be "alive and well" as stories of him and his 659, will be repeated and passed along for years to come by the racing community. Tom, you were amazing! Charlie, we share in your lose."
I am very saddened to learn of the passing of Tom Skinner.
Having gone to Wall Stadium from about 3 years old with my parents, my favorite race car of all time was the 659 coupe! The unmistakeable sound of the car and the flames are a childhood memory that will always be permanantly etched in my brain. There were times we didn't go to the races, and I could sit in my front yard in Herbertsville and know when the
Modifieds were on the track as I could hear Parker backing off in the corners!
When I worked at Wall as the tech inspector, people would come up to me and tell me that someone was cheating by doing something I hadn't heard about. To verify the validity of the complaint, I would take a walk over to the Hoosier tire truck and look for one man to get the answer: Tom Skinner. The man was obviously an engineering genius and always would immediately answer whether the complaint was valid or if the person was just blowing hot air.
He told me a story of someone who had an old Studebaker to run on the Bonneville Salt Flats begged him to use the six-banger out of the 659 a few years after they had stopped racing it here, and he agreed. They called him on the phone and said they were having problems getting it to run at top speed the first day, and from thousands of miles away told them exactly what to do to the carbs to make it run. The next day, they were blowing away a car that Ford engineers had there testing and the Ford guys were very upset at being showed up by his trusty methanol butning six! All the while telling
me this story, Tom was grinning from ear to ear!
Alas, another piece of my childhood has passed, but my memories will always be with me bringing a warm feeling about all the good times I had around racing as a kid!
..."One of my biggest heros. A man who could make stories of racing past burn like the flames that belched out the tailpipe of his racecar, and yet seemed shy and unassuming. He could fabricate anything and knew even more. He was a true pioneer and we are all better for knowing him. I met him as a little boy and as I grew in stature he seemed to grow as well. Tom Skinner was all that to me, always was and always will be. God Speed Tom!"
Rick Broschard (from RICK'S VINTAGE RACING )
"It is amazing that whenever I speak to older people that use to frequent Wall Stadium in the 50's and 60's ALL remember the 659. More amazing are the people who went there once or twice in that era ALWAYS ask "does the 659 still run there or that guy Parker Bohn still aroud?" It is the only car/driver they ask about (not direspecting any others) Definately, that car left a lasting impression on alot of people."
"It is truly a sad day for all of us involved with the old Wall Stadium. From the time he was a car owner to the many years that Tom offered the Hoosier Tires at Wall, he was always a pleasure to work with. As the promotions guy and sponsorship at the track, he always worked great with me and would go out of his way to help the racers. I feel very fortunate to be able to say that he was my friend and I'll always remember the many telephone conversations we had. I am also so very glad that Charlie and the gang were able to get the coupe 659 done so that Tom could enjoy it. He was beaming last November when it was debuted at the Pumpkin Run. Rest in Peace good friend."
"Wow.......another larger than life character in the regional racing scene passes. I only went to his place a few times about 15 years ago. It was an old former factory building in Hammonton. We needed some obscure parts for a Barnes oiling system or something like that which nobody in the known world had in stock. This was before you could find stuff on the internet etc. He took Andy Mull and myself to one of the upper floors where he had laid out on the floor, zillions of unfinished aluminum manifold castings for those 6 banger GMC engines he was famous for along with tons of high performance stuff like braided hose and oil pans and what have you. It was more like a tour of the factory and the history of local racing along with many a side story about the cars on the first floor they were restoring (the coupe for sure and maybe the Vega I believe) I don't think the truck had been restored yet, but it was parked outside the door. Rest In Peace Old Racecar Dude!"
"RIP Tom Skinner. About a year ago I needed information on a master cylinder that quite a few racers used in the 60's. Tom explained to me exactly what I needed and he made a phone call to the local Napa store in Vineland to let them know what I needed as far as a replacement.
Tom,would always go the extra length to help anyone. I will sure miss going to his garage and hearing his stories and seeing the endless stash of racing parts. He had photo albums with pictures throughout the years of his race cars that looked like the pictures had been taken yesterday. It would be nothing to spend at least 2-3 hours in talking with Tom. Especially after he had his dinner!
Tom at times would get frustated with racers and mechanics because they couldn't do alot of their own in house fabrication. I really believe that Tom didn't know how talented he truly was. He had an incredible, mechanical thinking mind that only so many people are gifted with. So,most of us would go to him for whatever advice he could give. His legacy will live forever. That's for damn sure! See you on the other side, Tom."
"A great man has passed on. He did so much for the sport we all love. I spent several long afternoons at his place. He was a family friend and he ate at the same diner we usually went to when I was a child. I learned about life, racing, tires and random stuff. He will truly be missed"
Jimmie Horton IV
"It is a sad ending to a great racing innovator and car owner. Rest in peace Tom you earned it."
Ralph J. Richards
"Tom was The Man. Had the best damn "geeerage" in town, and any help ya needed. He was there ta give a hand. Rest in peace ole buddy."
"Tom was like meeting a legend. That factory was an adventure in itself. RIP"
"Being 12-13 yrs old... 4th turn at wall... BOOM!!! - nuff said!"
You can share your thoughts about Tom Skinner by clicking "HERE".
Tom Skinner (posted June 12th, 2006)
There aren't enough words out there to describe Tom's abilities. People use words like "Genius" and "Master" to describe Tom's ability to imagine, design and create. Tom, shown above in this photo from the Fall of '05 Pumpkin Run, enjoys a moment seated next to the recreated #659 for which he will be forever associated with. (photographer: C.J. Santilli)
Possibly the area's most famous stock car of all time, the 6 cyl GMC powered Tom Skinner #659, driven by Parker Bohn as displayed at last Fall's Pumpkin Run (above left) held at Flemings in English Creek, NJ. (photographer: C.J. Santilli) The #659 in Victory Lane (above right). (photographer unknown.)
Victory Lane at Wall Stadium. (photographer: Charles Taylor)
The Skinner #659 was a frequent visitor to victory lane at Wall Stadium. Shown above as the #65, there's no mistaking the always recognizable Skinner prepared coupe with Parker Bohn behind the wheel.
The memories that we will always have of the #659, with it's unique GMC power... it's unique sound... the flash of flame from the exhaust.... the way the car glided through around the banks of Wall Stadium....all of it was because of the ingenuity of Tom Skinner.
That is what our sport was all about... and our sport has lost one of its best.
In leau of flowers, memorial donations can be sent to The Garden State Vintage Stock Car Club - 438 3rd Ave - Brick, NJ 08724
Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Skinner Family.
Joe Macfarlan and Family
Rick Broschard pays tribute to one of his biggest heroes with a collection of photos and his thoughts about Tom at:
Photo Tribute to Tom Skinner from Rick's Vintage Racing
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