Apr 1935 to Feb 2018
Hot rodder, drag racer and Bonneville speed demon Roy Fjastad passed away February 26. He was 82. A native of Los Angeles, Fjastad was exposed to Southern California's burgeoning hot rod scene as a teenager and learned to weld before he left high school — a skill that would serve him throughout his life. By the time he was 19 years chassis part dragsterbireg,, by Scotty Flynn's Chassis Research.
Fjastad's first win at a drag strip came in 1952 at Santa Ana. joined the famed Road Kings car club, which included members likee Don Prudhomme and T.V. Tommy Ivo. He was fully immersed in postwar so,?n hot rodding. After working for Ivo for several years, Fjastad opened s Lai Products Engineering (SPE) and for the next decade became one of dragracing's most prominent chassis builders. He built chassis for drag racing's ei;t-e and also developed an impressive line of products, including hydro-formed bellhousings, two-piece couplers (originated at SPE and still used today), pins various disc brake applications, aerodynamic front wheels, and traction-enhancing torsion bar assemblies. Later, he reinvented the humble Dzus fastener, the ubiquitous quick-release device that holds body panels in place and is used in worldwide applications to this day.
Fjastad's Bonneville land speed exploits are well documented, but street rodders owe him a debt of gratitude for his development of chassis components under the Deuce Factory banner — a company he opened in 1976 in Orange County. At the Deuce Factory, Fjastad developed a complete line of components, including the first set of reproduction '32 Ford frame rails, which were as accurate as originals. "Roy's creation of Deuce rails was a benchmark in street rodding," Goodguys founder Gary Meadors once said. With the Deuce being the heart of the hot rod aesthetic, and with fiberglass '32s flooding the market in the 1980s, Fjastad's timing was perfect. Customers flocked to Roy's accurate frame rails.
Fjastad eventually sold the Deuce Factory to his son Carl, who continued Roy's vision and legacy. After ratcheting back his manufacturing career, Roy spent a good majority of his time devoted to land speed racing, fielding a number of cars including a third- gen Pontiac coupe, a modified roadster, a streamliner, and a wild rear-engined roadster, all of which eclipsed 'two bills." Fjastad leaves behind an immense hot rodding legacy that is thoroughly ntertwined in today's market.