Friday, November 15, 2013

Kjell Qvale dies at 94 -- a key individual in bringing the sports car to America! Who is the girl who won the 1974 Jensen Healey?

Photo taken from New York Times Obituary.  Can anyone identify the girl who won this Jensen-Healey in 1974?

Kjell Qvale, who introduced Americans living on the West Coast to the sports car in the years immediately after WWII, died on November 1. A figure as important to the hobby as Max Hoffman was to those living on the East Coast and Chicago, Qvale entered the car business in 1946, investing $8,500 in a Jeep dealership located in Alameda, CA. After taking a trip to New Orleans where he first rode in a MG-TC, he subsequently became an MG dealer and left Jeeps behind.  Qvale's efforts in promoting the MG in Northern California was so significant that in 2005 the Automotive News stated that MG's popularity as the sports car America loved first was "largely because of one man, Kjell Qvale." Later Qvale added other foreign brands, including Aston-Martin, Austin-Healey, Jaguar, Morris, Bentley, Jensen-Healey, Volkswagen and Porsche. By 1970, he operated  more than 100 dealerships. In building this business, Mr. Qvale overcame difficulties in acquiring capital and in developing a parts supply inventory to support his dealerships.

A promoter of sports car racing beginning in 1949, he promoted the first Pebble Beach race in 1950, and then in 1956 the first events at Laguna Seca.

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