CSRHoF

Don Siewert Bio

 DON SIEWERT INDUCTED INTO THE CANADIAN STREET RODDING HALL OF FAME.

 

The Canadian Street Rodding Hall of Fame was created in 1993 to commemorate the 25th Anniversary of the Canadian Street Rod Nationals. At that event, held in Moncton, New Brunswick, the first 25 members were inducted. Don Siewert became the 42nd member of that exclusive group at the 2009 Induction Gala in Waterdown, Ontario.

 

The Don Siewert story is a long one and goes back to 1935 in the small farming community of Morin, Alberta. Life on the family farm was not a part of Don’s boyhood dream. So after graduation from high school he enrolled in what was then called the “Farm Construction Program” which resulted in Don obtaining his journeyman’s ticket as a licensed motor vehicle mechanic.

 

In his early 20’s he moved to Calgary and immediately found work using his skill and knowledge repairing all types of vehicles and heavy equipment. At that time he also started playing with cars, a ’33 Chev Coupe was quickly followed by a ’35 Ford pick-up. That truck was his indoctrination into the world of hot rodding as he swapped the stock V-8 60 for a more powerful 255 cubic inch Mercury.

 

Always looking to improve and to learn more, Don moved from mechanical repairs to auto body work and eventually received his license in that field as well.

 

Cars were becoming a big part of his life, he dabbled in drag racing and in 1957 he built a full custom Mercury to showcase his body work skills. That car turned heads everywhere he cruised. Don’s head was turned when he met Marilyn, they were married in 1960.

 

Several of the hot rod magazines of the day covered sport cars and they caught Don’s interest so he switched from the lead sled Merc to a brand new 1960 MGA Coupe. The little MGA didn’t last too long as son Mike came along in 1961, followed by Robert and Barbara.

 

Throughout the 60’s, Don became involved in restoring cars and trucks. His main vehicle was a 1919 Ford Model T Runabout. He was an active member of the Alberta Pioneer Auto Club for over 10 years serving as president and tour chairman. During those years he rescued a number of project cars including a 1930 Ford Roadster which was put into storage as Don focused on career, home life and raising a family. His car hobby was limited to family vehicles that he rebuilt in his backyard garage for his own use or for friends in the ever expanding car community.

In the 80’s Don got immersed in street rodding. Son Mike had just returned from California with the urge to build a ‘fun vehicle’ like a mini- truck or hot VW. At Don’s insistence that fun vehicle just had to be street rod. So together they found a basket case ’28 Ford Roadster and got to work. Over the following four years father and son built the car from the ground up. Don likes to have his signature on the cars in the parts he designs and builds. His passion for problem solving and handcrafting adds to the looks, drivability and performance of the roadster.

 

Shortly after the street rod was completed Mike relocated to Mississauga, Ontario. When Don and Marilyn visited in 1987 they borrowed the roadster for a trip to Ottawa. That drive hooked Don on street rodding. Once back in Calgary he pulled the 1930 Ford Roadster out of 20 plus years of storage and got to work. 10 years later he hit the road in his own street rod. 10 years may seem like a long build but during that time he also rebuilt a dozen early Mustangs and did bodywork on the side to fund his projects.

 

The little roadster is driven. It is equipped with a bored and stroked Flat Motor, rolls on 16’ wire wheels and sports a home designed and cast Duval style windshield frame. It sits right and is a real neat retro ride.

 

The summer of 1998 saw Don, driving his topless roadster, son Mike in his Roadster and a group of fellow Foothills Street Rod Association members making the drive to Bonneville. Once on the salt, Don became obsessed with the atmosphere, the back yard engineering and the ingenuity of the builders. As the group roamed the pits over the next few days, Don could often be heard saying, “We can do this, we can do this”.

 

So began another quest, to race at Bonneville, the fastest place on earth.

 

Back in Calgary Don got a ‘28 Ford Roadster Pickup and started right in on the project. In 1999 noted engine builder Ken Gilmour came on board and serious progress was being made. The big break however, came in 2001 when Don took Ted Allan to the salt. Between the Bonneville experience and Don’s enthusiasm, Ted caught ‘Salt Fever’.

Allan, an experienced and talented race car fabricator and proprietor of ‘Allan Rod and Custom’ became a partner. A host of others got on board to lend their expertise, time and money to the shared project. The combined efforts of this group culminated in 2002 when the Roadster Pickup called ‘North of 49’ hit the salt at Bonneville for Speed Week.

 

At Bonneville they proudly fly the Canadian flag and welcome everyone to their pit to experience the salt. North of 49 has become well known and respected for their hospitality, the atmosphere they create and the friendships they foster. Don is the catalyst, the prime promoter and the driving force of the group. He shares owner/driver privileges with Ted Allan and they are surrounded by a large crew who are infected with his enthusiasm.

 

While Ted focuses on setting a B Street Roadster record with the race truck, Don is more focused on having fun and providing a racing experience for the crew members, fellow street rodders and his high school students. With his retirement in 2000, Don became an auto shop teaching assistant, first in auto body and then in mechanics. He continues in that role today, encouraging, educating and influencing the next generation of gear heads.

 

In 2007, at the age of 72, Don ran the truck to its best ever speed of 210.5 MPH. The high from that pass kept his spirits up as the following month he began the fight for his life against Non Hodgkins Lymphomia. Later that year Don returned to work with his kids at the high school. Seven rounds of chemotherapy had put his cancer into remission.

 

During his battle with the disease Don kept busy by continuing to plan North of 49’s future and working on his latest street rod project, a hemi powered, track nosed, T roadster that should hit the street in the summer of 2010.

 

Around Calgary, Don is affectingly known by his nickname “ FOFIT” an acronym for Fastest Old Fart In Town. His reputation and skills are well known and respected by street rodders and racers everywhere. He continues to use his expertise and experience to encourage, educate, enthuse and influence others.

North of 49’s 1928 Ford Roadster Pickup competes in B Street Roadster class at Bonneville.

Don Siewert’s 1930 Ford Roadster sees lots of miles and features a bored and stroked flat head, deuce grille, 16” wire wheels and a home designed and cast Duval style windshield frame.

Don Siewert (left) receives the commemorative award from Chairman Jim Cowan (right) acknowledging his induction into the Canadian Street Rodding Hall of Fame.