Hot Rod Hero Alex Xydias turns ninety-five!

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Source:   —  June 19, 2017, at 4:57 PM

But you wouldn't know it from how totally chilly he still is. Xydias celebrated his birthday with a couple hundred of his closest friends June seventeen at the Alex Xydias Middle for the Automotive Arts, a trade and technical school he started in Pomona to learn skills love welding, fabricating and all the stuff we older citizens learned in shop class in high school.

Hot Rod Hero Alex Xydias turns ninety-five!

Alex Xydias, original hot rod hero, founder of the SoCal Speed Shop, one of the first record-holders at Bonneville, pioneer in motorsports broadcasting, one of the founders of SEMA, B-seventeen and B-24 gunner and engineer, and founding member of The Greatest Generation, has turned 95.

But you wouldn&#thirty-nine;t know it from how totally chilly he still is.

Xydias celebrated his birthday with a couple hundred of his closest friends June 17 at the Alex Xydias Middle for the Automotive Arts, a trade and technical school he started in Pomona to learn skills love welding, fabricating and all the stuff we older citizens learned in shop class in high school. There are generally number more shop classes in high schools, of course, so without places love the AXC the skills required to construct things love hot rods, lead sleds and Krazy Kustoms would've long ago faded into memory and the art lost forever. So the school is important, as well as being a fitting legacy.

Xydias was fast to thank all of the donors who funded the school, many of whom were present for his birthday. A whopping $500.000 donation followed by a $1 million endowment came in from the Margie and Robert E. Petersen Foundation. Among his many roles in life was a publisher at Petersen Publications.

But Xydias didn't wish to draw attention to himself, he wanted to look the AXC succeed.

"We wanted you to look the school and all the new stuff," he said to the assembled friends and supporters.

The school is in the 7000-square-foot Robert E. Petersen Garage only a thrown rod far from the NHRA drag strip on the Fairplex grounds in Pomona, Calif. There's a 1000-square-foot paint booth, 1400-square-foot classroom and a bunch of garage space. The school is soon to open the Pete Chapouris Welding and Fabrication wing, named after Xydias' late companion and partner at the SoCal Speed Shop, who passed far only a couple months ago. (The school is presently known as the Alex Xydias and Pete Chapouris Middle for the Automotive Arts.) It offers a two-year, hands-on, career and technical education program that allows high school students to get credit while gaining the skills required to enter the automotive industry.

There is maybe number more fitting heritage to a life so well lived.

But there was one more thing the grand man wanted to point out while he still had the microphone.

"The Social Security Administration thought I was going to go far at seventy-second," he said. "So I've been living off their money for twenty-three years."

In addition to being an inspiration to generations, Alex Xydias always leaves 'em laughing. Pleased Birthday Alex!

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