Carleton “Carl” Carpenter Ty-Rods Hot Rod Club founder passed away (Credit: Ty-Rods Hot Club logo)
By Lou Modestino
Carleton “Carl” Carpenter passed away September 25, 2014 at his home in Florida surrounded by his wife Billie and close friends.
Carl was a “Entrepreneur” from a very early age. When he was 7 years old, he had approximately 300 rabbits that he raised and took care of. If you remember the old Shopper’s World (Framingham), every Easter there was a glass enclosed display of White New Zealand Rabbits that were for sale.
Those were Carl’s rabbits that he raised from babies and sold during Easter Time at Shopper’s World. He did that for several years and made extra money for himself. As he got older, he became interested in cars, engines, etc. He started to build Go-Karts and put them out near the street on the farm. He was 14 at the time and sold several until the town told him he wasn’t allowed to do that.
In 1952, Carl’s parent’s Farm in Wayland was where Carl and a close group of friends and car enthusiasts originally founded The Ty-Rod’s Club, with Carroll Sleeper as President. The club just had their 47th Annual Old Timer’s Reunion in Bolton on September 7th of this year.
Carl was well known for his race Car, “400 Jr” which he raced through much of the New England Raceway Circuit.
Carl also worked as a Salesman at the Volkswagen Dealership in Brookline where one of his many customers and buyers was Arthur Fiedler of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Later he went on to work at what later became New England Speed Equipment as a Sales Rep and subsequently left and founded his own business, Auto Racing Equipment Company at his parent’s farm.
His business became one of the Top 5 Auto Racing Parts Businesses in the country and Carl became close friends with Mickey Thompson, Vic Edelbrock, Ed Iskenderian (Isky Cams), Joe Hrudka (Founder of Mr. Gasket Company) and many other notables in the auto racing equipment business. His visits also included; “Big Daddy” Don Garlits when he attended The NHRA Gainesville Nationals in Florida each year when he and his wife started coming to Florida in the winters. He was also very fond of NHRA Funny Car driver John Force.
Carl also founded Fiberglass Engineering Co. and produced Fiberglass Dune Buggies in the 60’s. Among one of the first buyers of his T-Bucket designed Dune Buggy was Charlie Long, who was a Patriot’s Linebacker.
One of his wife’s (Billie’s) favorite stories was when Mr. Gasket Company was just getting started. Carl was out in California for a SEMA Show and went to Joe’s (Mr. Gasket’s) house and helped him and his Dad hand pack Gaskets in plastic in his dad’s Garage!
Carl also founded and owned Millbrook Homes, a Modular Home Company, that he ran until be became too ill to continue working. Carl continued with his love of cars and people for the remainder of his life and to this day and his family still owns a Classic Car that we bought new in 1970.
Carl’s passing is a great loss to many friends and that he will be greatly missed and yet, forever thought of and remembered fondly. As Carl’s niece, Cathy, so aptly put it, “Carl had a better attitude when dying then most people do that are living.”
Information for this story came from drag racing historian Gil Coraine and Carl’s wife Billie Carpenter