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Larry Shephard, 1936-2011


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#1 Mark Wampler

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Posted 04 October 2011 - 10:31 AM

Slot racing has lost one of the premier innovators in design and construction. Larry Shephard passed away on September 30, 2011, in Arroyo Grande, CA, of natural causes. He was 74.

Larry was THE central figure authority in slot racing on the Central California Coast. A long-time resident of Arroyo Grande, California, Larry's work can be found world-wide. His proxy cars are located in many places in Europe. Larry was also well-known for his work in rewinding Pittman five-pole armatures. For locals, Larry is remembered for his outstanding performing slot cars back in those years. No matter who drove Larry's cars back in the '60s, they dominated every race. His enduro cars would outlast every one else back in the day. Larry's articles on scratchbuilding, bodies, and motors can be found all over the internet.

Larry was a gunsmith who worked out of his garage for many years. Linda, his wife, is a retired schoolteacher. They had no children. I asked Larry one time if he had children. He told me he was only kid in the family. One is enough!


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#2 Ron Hershman

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Posted 04 October 2011 - 10:31 AM

RIP, Larry.

#3 TSR

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Posted 04 October 2011 - 10:36 AM

This is quite sad. Larry and Linda had recently completed their dream home and were looking ahead for years of peaceful retirement.

Larry was a true enthusiast, one who made our hobby great.

Rest in peace.

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#4 Cheater

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Posted 04 October 2011 - 10:41 AM

Man, I hate to hear this.

Larry was one of the hobby's consummate craftsmen and designers. Just a nice, nice guy.

Rest in peace, Larry.

Gregory Wells

Never forget that first place goes to the racer with the MOST laps, not the racer with the FASTEST lap


#5 YetiSRP

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Posted 04 October 2011 - 11:10 AM

I never met the man and now I never will.

I wish I knew what to say...
Jim Bandes

#6 Ron Hershman

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Posted 04 October 2011 - 11:11 AM

A true loss.

#7 idare2bdul

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Posted 04 October 2011 - 11:15 AM

I met Larry through the slot car convention at Buena Park. His workmanship was amazing. What came through the most was his love of slot cars. I'll miss seeing him.
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#8 One_Track_Mind

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Posted 04 October 2011 - 11:19 AM

Sorry to hear the loss of yet another one our friends.

Larry and I had done some trading of slot car related items over the years. A true gentleman of our hobby. I will miss those conversations we had, but will never forget how he always made you feel.

Rest in Peace, Larry

My sincere condolences to Linda.

Slots-4-Ever
Brian McPherson

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#9 Neckcheese

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Posted 04 October 2011 - 11:32 AM

Sad news. :-(

I never knew Larry personally, but when interested in vintage (and current) slot cars, his name popped up occasionally and his cars were always impressive and inspiring.

Niels, DK
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#10 Larry Mattingly

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Posted 04 October 2011 - 11:33 AM

I have always admired Larry's work thoughout the years.

His cars always had 'that' look.

May he rest in peace...

The sad news just won't seem to stop.

LM

#11 Rick

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Posted 04 October 2011 - 11:47 AM

RIP, my friend, you'll be missed by us all.

Seems to be a day of bad news today...
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#12 Bryan Warmack

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Posted 04 October 2011 - 11:55 AM

I had the pleasure of meeting Larry on several occasions and recently was involved in the sending of many of his wonderful cars to SoCal as we began to build and race 1/32.

The diversity of the cars was amazing. Some old, some new, some fast, but all unique and VERY interesting. Ranging from trick Eurosport anglewinders to really-complicated inlines with all sorts of odd movement. I'm really glad I had the opportunity to check out just a small sample of his great cars.

I recently sent him some bits and pieces as he said he wanted to tinker some stuff together he had some ideas on and said he would send some pics. Too bad I won't get to see them.

Rest in peace, Larry, as you will be missed.

#13 Old pink can guy

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Posted 04 October 2011 - 12:02 PM

I remember the man's name. RIP.

P, could you please give us a history lesson?

Ken Botts

#14 HarV Wallbanger III

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Posted 04 October 2011 - 12:39 PM

RIP. Larry. You will be remembered...

Barney Poynor
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#15 Bill from NH

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Posted 04 October 2011 - 01:48 PM

Sorry to hear this. Larry was a fixture both here and on OWH. He built some real nice, and sometimes unique, 1/32 scale cars.

It's unfortunate that his photos in the remaining threads that still exist were deleted by him. His how-to articles were quite good. A couple times, while getting ready to move, he sent me some of his surplus materials he thought I could use.

He was a great guy who will be missed by many. :)

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#16 The Bugman

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Posted 04 October 2011 - 02:32 PM

Very sad news.. I got to meet and visit with him a couple times...

He was a very cool guy... a true pioneer in slo tcars...

I'll miss chatting with him here on the blog. :friends:

RIP, my friend.
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#17 Cheater

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Posted 04 October 2011 - 03:07 PM

Like often happens, the pics from the the first couple of 1/32 conventions have been deleted from Photobucket... sigh. (Which is why I prefer posters upload pics, rather than link to them elsewhere.)

In any event, I can't locate any pictures of Larry on the blog. Anyone have some they can post?

Gregory Wells

Never forget that first place goes to the racer with the MOST laps, not the racer with the FASTEST lap


#18 stumbley

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Posted 04 October 2011 - 03:40 PM

Oh, this is very sad news. Larry was a true gentleman and always willing to share his expertise with others. He will be sorely missed. RIP Larry.
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#19 don.siegel

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Posted 04 October 2011 - 03:45 PM

I can only add my condolences to his wife and family, and all his slot car friends. He was an outstanding presence on the blogs and just seemed to be a very nice guy and great craftsman.

What a shock.

Don

#20 Cheater

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Posted 04 October 2011 - 03:55 PM

You oughta edit out the "seemed to be", Don. :)

Larry was a very, very nice guy and one of the most imaginative builders and craftsmen I have ever encountered in the hobby.

Gregory Wells

Never forget that first place goes to the racer with the MOST laps, not the racer with the FASTEST lap


#21 MSwiss

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Posted 04 October 2011 - 06:52 PM

It's sad to hear.

Larry really was a terrific builder with a good imagination.

Mike Swiss
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#22 Lenny Broke

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Posted 04 October 2011 - 09:22 PM

I'm very sorry to read this news. I've spent many a pleasant hour perusing his work on the net.

My condolences to his family.

Regards,
Alan O'Dea

#23 kalbfellp

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Posted 04 October 2011 - 11:16 PM

Larry was a great builder and I feel I have been lucky to have raced some of his cars in our proxy races down here.

Very sad! Great loss to the slot racing community.
Phil Kalbfell
Down Under Builder

#24 Tex

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Posted 05 October 2011 - 05:45 AM

R.I.P., Larry; we'll all see you again soon enough. Hold a spot at the driver's panel for us!
Richard L. Hofer

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#25 One27ray

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Posted 05 October 2011 - 07:45 AM

I was sad to hear that Larry passed away.

I always followed the things he did on the forums. He was someone you could look up to and was always helpful with emails and comments. Too bad I never got to meet him!!

Ray
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#26 Russell Sheldon

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Posted 06 October 2011 - 09:37 AM

Extremely sad. Larry was a great car builder and a great competitor. Sincere condolences to his family.

Regards,

Russell

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#27 John Gorski

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Posted 06 October 2011 - 09:41 AM

My condolences to Larry's family.

Does anyone have a good picture of Larry they can post?

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#28 Mark Wampler

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Posted 07 October 2011 - 01:29 PM

Larry is best remembered from last year's pic. Both Larry and Linda enrolled in driving schools at Laguna Seca. They were very fond of their 911 Porsche.

Larry 2010.jpg

Larry 68.jpg

Larry March 86.jpg

Larry Laguna seca driving school.jpg

Larry's Porsche.jpg
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#29 Dennis David

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Posted 04 February 2012 - 11:45 PM

I have been involved in many volunteer activities and have been away from this website too long. I was expecting to read about slot cars and am quite distressed to hear this very sad news. When I read about slot cars it's very easy for the years to wash away not thinking that we are all getting older.

I met Larry at a slot car convention in Vegas and found him to be what we would all like to be called "good people". He was very open to helping others and was very modest about his own efforts even though he did such beautiful work. I will always cherish the car he made for me.

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#30 Ecurie Martini

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Posted 08 September 2012 - 02:39 PM

I don't know how I missed this. I came across it in a roundabout fashion from another thread - had to do a search to uncover this.

Sad news indeed. I met Larry at the first Las Vegas slots convention and rekindled the friendship at subsequent repeats of the event. Except for seeing his posts on various forms, we mostly fell out of touch after the first Buena Park meeting because that was the last of the conventions that I attended.

There is, oddly enough, a currently topical specific memory of Larry I want to share. The Eagle that I built in 2004 is still running and is currently entered a proxy race. In part of the thread describing the construction process I complained about the lack of small gears with "inside" hubs that would fit in very narrow chassis. Within two days I received a small package from Larry. It contained a small bronze Sonic crown gear. He had machined off the hub and replaced it with an inward facing one. It made the model.

I look through my photos of the Las Vegas meetings and found this one from the '03 event. By eerie coincidence, this photo of Larry also has our late lamented Professor Fate in the background!

LS.jpg

EM
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#31 Cheater

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Posted 08 September 2012 - 03:33 PM

I know how you missed it, Alan. You don't log in to Slotblog nearly enough to suit me...

It's not that Larry and I exchanged daily emails, or that he posted here at a high rate, but somehow my interactions with Larry were more meaningful, more insightful, more friendly... than the average, way more. I wish deeply that I had known him better but will cherish forever that I did know him... just like Rocky.

You might have some pics of me from the '03 Rad-Trax convention, as I am pretty sure I was there and a terrific memory it is.

To this day, the tipple Mrs. Cheater and I indulge in most evenings is something Larry suggested to us after learming what we previously drank. As usual, his advice was laserbeam spot-on.

Honestly, I think about Larry almost every day.

Gregory Wells

Never forget that first place goes to the racer with the MOST laps, not the racer with the FASTEST lap


#32 Mark Wampler

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Posted 08 September 2012 - 03:53 PM

Steve Foster is in process of setting aside a special area in his collection/museum for Larry and his productions. Larry is synonymous with the fastest cars and precision expertise back in the day on the Central California Coast.
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#33 Dennis David

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Posted 10 September 2012 - 12:28 PM

Well-deserving special area for a special person.

Dennis David
    
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#34 CruzinBob

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Posted 18 September 2012 - 09:36 PM

I don't know how I missed this. I came across it in a roundabout fashion from another thread - had to do a search to uncover thiI look through my photos of the Las Vegas meetings and found this one from the '03 event. By eerie coincidence, this photo of Larry also has our late lamented Professor Fate in the background!


Sigh... great sadness. I was there. What great fun. Lots of serious competition and serious theories of slot racing and not too much about life in general... Serious slot stuff!

You all made the Cruzin '05 convention, too. My best ever race party.

Larry was going to help me design the perfect pully-driven 1/32 scale rental car.

Memories of grandeur... :)
Bob Scott
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#35 rvec

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 09:41 AM

On September 30, 2012, the world lost a very good man. Soft-spoken, affable, and down to earth is the way I would describe Larry Shephard. 

I met Larry at a Slot Car Convention in Las Vegas back in 2003 or 2004 and continued to enjoy his company at other conventions. He brought with him a great many of his works of art. I was blown away by the meticulous attention to detail that this man put into his work. When I visited him in Arroyo Grande a few years later, I found out the he was also a gunsmith. 

At that time, he was excited about building and moving into his dream home.  It has been some years since I spoke with Larry – sometime after the Slot Car convention in Phoenix, Arizona in 2005.

A few weeks ago, I was organizing my slot car den and came across a CD filled with images that I snapped at the 2005 Slot Car Convention.  As I was looking for more images of past conventions on the internet, I inadvertently came across this thread about Larry’s passing.
 
I have posted many images of Larry's work on my Yahoo Group page. Sorry, you'll have to join to look at the images.

Rich Vecchio


#36 MarcusPHagen

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Posted 03 January 2014 - 07:29 AM

RIP, Larry.  I've been gone for way too long, and now when I come back, it's to find that you and Prof. Fate are gone.  There's a reason why I put a quote from each of you into my signature years ago: it's because Rocky and you exemplified the sort of man I'd like to be, and had the gift of putting your way of life into words.  Sorry we never met in person.  I'm better for have known you, even at a distance.

 

Marcus P. Hagen


Marcus P. Hagen -- see below, my five favorite quotes: applicable to slot cars & life in general.
[ "Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.". . Daniel Patrick Moynihan ]
[ "Time is the best teacher. Unfortunately, it kills all its students.". . . . . . . . Hector Berlioz ]
[ "There is a very fine line between 'hobby' and 'mental illness." . . . . . . . . . . . Dave Barry ]
[ "Build what you like to build, they are all doomed." . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Prof. Fate ]
[ "The less rules the more fun. Run what you brung." . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Larry LS ]

#37 ViperQQ

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Posted 23 May 2015 - 11:53 PM

RIP, my old friend and fellow slot car enthusiast. It's been one long journey since our racing days, from the summer of 1965, in Pismo Beach (CA). Thank you for all the help, guidance, and competition during those glory years of the '60s. As the resident Pro at Pismo Raceways, I always learned something new from you; and I cherished your friendship, smiles, down-to-earth demeanor, craftsmanship, and the awesome cars you built. I remember our last visit, summer of 2005, when you and Linda were showing me the property (acreage) up in Nipomo; and how you two were ready to move into your new home being built... and looking forward to retirement.  

 

As you know, Steve Foster, owner of the race track in Santa Maria, has an upstairs museum of vintage slot car history. Most everything on display came from Pismo Raceways, including the orange (Monarch) track (which he has in storage) and all those rental cars (which I assembled). Our old friend and fellow racer, Mark Wampler, advises Steve has set aside a section of his museum for your collection of slot cars, motors, and related items to honor your contributions to the sport.


  • Cheater and Bill from NH like this
Greg Lozaga

#38 idare2bdul

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Posted 24 May 2015 - 03:36 PM

By the time I met Larry and Rocky their driving skills had eroded but not their love of the hobby. At Buena Park, Larry spent much of his convention time freshening up cars, not to just display them but to run them and also to share them with others.

 

Both of these guys marked a divide in the slot car community. Some would be horrified by seeing cars of this caliber and condition raced. Rocky and Larry believed slot cars were meant to be driven. I'm in the same group. Just having a car in a box to insure its future worth was beyond me, as was the concept of making a slot car that looked good but was designed to be looked at not run as many of the home set cars I bought turned out to be.

 

Thanks for posting the pictures.

 

I would like decent gears for the Pittman 196s.


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