It is with great sadness we report that hot rodder, collector, Goodguys supporter, merry prankster and friend to thousands Ed Hegarty has died. Ed was one of those shining lights you hear about. He lit up a room with his boyish looks and wicked sense of humor. He had many nick names. “Junkyard Ed,” “Your Ol’ Uncle Ed” and the “The Deal Father” were the most common.
A San Francisco Bay Area native, Ed Hegarty was involved in the hot rodding scene on so many levels and knew EVERYONE! He was trading cars at age 13 – always wheeling and dealing with a smile. He was in on the ground floor of street rodding’s surge in popularity and remained active with street rods, hot rods and customs until his death. Some of the highlights of his collection included the AMBR-winning “Deuceari” Ferrari powered ’32 roadster as well as the historic Ohanesian–Bertolucci 1940 Mercury among many, many others.
A lot of people knew Hegarty from Deal Auto Wreckers and salvage yard in Richmond, California. The place was appropriately named as Ed was certainly the Deal Father. When he wasn’t at the salvage yard or spending time with his beloved girlfriend Carla or his family, Ed was doing something involving cars, hanging out with his car buddies or attending a circle track race. He was obsessed with Sprint Car racing and literally attended thousands of sprint and midget races over the years. His favorites were the Chili Bowl, The Knoxville Sprint Car Nationals, Turkey Night and the Gold Cup up in Chico.
He was also a proud member of the 200mph club. He and his partner Dave Dozier raced the Dozier & Hegarty streamliner many years up at Bonneville and was happy to let our founder and Chairman Gary Meadors drive the Chrysler flat-8 powered ‘liner to a speed of 233mph in September of 1994. The Dozier & Hegarty ‘liner later became the first hemi-crate motor streamliner to go 300-mph plus.
In addition to all his rodding exploits, Hegarty had a knack of grinding on others to get their projects going and in that respect was a great ambassador for our hobby. “Ed was a constantly grinding on guys to get their project cars on the road,” recalled Goodguys Chairman Gary Meadors – a Hegarty confidant since the early 70s. “He’d sell ‘em some parts –a fender, a hood or whatever then follow up with a phone call kicking ‘em in the ass to get things done. He helped a lot of guys get their cars on the road over the years and was as unique a character as you’ll ever meet. He was truly one of a kind.”
He was fond of calling people saying “Hello this is your psychiatrist Dr Hegarty speaking”. He was one of those gregarious guys that never met a stranger. When one of our Goodguys staffers was seeking romantic advice a long time ago, Hegarty deadpanned “When you meet the ladies, don’t do too much talking but do tell them how much you like kids.”
Vaya Con Dios Deal Father…
You touched so many lives.