A passion for modifying, racing, and just enjoying automobiles is something that has captured the hearts of Americans over the years, including us here at Mopar Connection. Just as sports fans grow to recognize icons and all-time greats of their respective sports, hot rodders, racers, off-roaders, and enthusiasts of all things automotive come to recognize their own icons. Frank Currie was a trailblazer in early hot rods, racecars, street cars, and off-road vehicles alike. After serving in the Air Force during the Korean War, Frank built Currie Enterprises in 1959 as a way to supply rear-ends for Taylor-Dunn Manufacturing.
Shortly after opening the doors of Currie Enterprises Frank’s love of Hot Rods and his background as a Military Aircraft Mechanic gave way to the introduction of high performance axle assemblies for automotive applications. As a testament to the quality rear-ends they produced, Currie products began finding their way into the growing off-road market. Today the Southern California business is still a home to the Currie family and Currie Enterprises has become a household name for gear-heads all over the world.
Frank has become an icon not only for the company he and his wife, Evelyn, created but for his accomplishments in the automotive community. Frank was a part of hot rodding back when drag strips and dried lakebeds were becoming the ultimate high-speed proving grounds. He later went on to compete in the Great American Race, LaCarrera Panamerica, and set records on the salt flats of Bonneville. HIs passion and talent for racing gave way to the success of his family in racing careers both on and off road.
Frank Currie will forever be remembered in the hearts of his family and by automotive enthusiasts. He will forever be an example of an American success story. He made a major impact in the automotive performance world as trailblazer in new technologies and the creator of a company that has helped thousands of people pursue their automotive aspirations. His family will be his greatest legacy and many have taken after his passions to compete in races, club meets, car shows, and events all over the country. His company Currie Enterprises has continued innovating and is the performance standard for street rods, land speed cars, drag, and off-road racers alike.
Below is Franks Obituary released by the Currie Family:
The world has lost an industry pioneer and a great, beloved man. Frank Currie passed away on the evening of 3/2/16 of natural causes in Yorba Linda, California with his family at his side. He is survived by his wife of 61 years, Evelyn, his 4 sons, Charles, John, Raymond and Andy, as well as a large extended family.
Frank was born in Anaheim, California in 1929 and was one of 5 children. He was heavily involved in the early years of hot rodding, building Model A’s and T’s with overhead converted engines. Frank was known early on as the engine conversion go-to-guy. Frank was from a different time and a different generation. A time of innovators and entrepreneurs. A time when building hot rods was actually hard work and information and parts were scarce. He competed at the original Santa Ana Drags as well as lakes racing at Muroc and El Mirage. Being born in Southern California, Frank saw and did everything hot rodding’s early days had to offer.
Frank is a Korean War era veteran where he was stationed in Oklahoma in the Airforce as an aircraft mechanic. Following his service, Frank went to work at Taylor-Dunn Manufacturing in Anaheim, California. This is where Frank met his wife, Evelyn. They were married in early 1955 and immediately started a family.
Frank eventually became the foreman of the Taylor-Dunn shop where he realized an ever growing need for rear differentials to be adapted to the chicken feeder machines that were manufactured at Taylor-Dunn. In the early days it was Ford banjo rearends, then on to early Plymouth drop out rearends and finally to the 9” Ford. Frank became a large supplier of the core rearends to Taylor-Dunn. Property was bought in east Anaheim in 1956 and in 1959, Frank and Evelyn founded Currie Enterprises and moved full time to their own business of supplying the rearend cores.
As the years went on, facilities grew and Frank added tear down, rebuilding, and modification facilities for the rearends he was supplying to Taylor-Dunn. As Frank’s boys grew, he offered them as much piecework as they wanted to do in the shop to earn money for fun things like motorcycles and cars.
In 1985 Currie Enterprises moved again to a larger facility and Frank’s boys took over the reins of the company as Frank retired to build hot rods and Jeeps.
Frank competed in The Great American Race 20 times, winning the overall once and winning countless segments. He also dabbled in the LaCarrera Panamerica 3 years in a row with his ’65 Shelby Mustang. He remains the only person in history to have driven a car to Bonneville, run over 200 mph, and driven the car home. This car, his AA/SR #258, was 1998 Hot Rod of the year. He was a ’32 Ford lover and aficionado to the bone. At the time of his passing, he had two ’32 roadsters, a ’32 3-window coupe and a ’32 Tudor sedan.
Jeeping and off roading was another family passion. From early Broncos and Willys station wagons, all the way up to his last Jeep, an LS powered TJ, Frank was an experienced off roader. He spent many off road trips Jeeping with Tom McMullen in the 80’s and he co-drove with son John in the first BFG Rock Crawling Championship in 1998, where they took a second place finish.
Frank was a member of the California Roadsters car club and had been a member of the Regroupers Jeep Club.
The family asks that any correspondence or sentiments be sent to:
382 N. Smith Ave.
Corona, Ca. 92880