Charles “Pete” Hagenbuch, who once headed Chrysler’s production engine performance tuning and has worked on many of the company’s most famous engines, died this morning.
Pete graduated from West Virginia University in 1956, and earned an MAE degree from the Chrysler Institute of Engineering in 1958. He worked on the the 426 Hemi, the B/RB-series big blocks, the LA small blocks, the 2.2 turbos, and even the Australian Hemi Six.
In retirement, Pete was friendly and approachable, and volunteered a good deal of his time at the Walter P. Chrysler Museum in Auburn Hills. He participated in a two part interview with Allpar, and answered more questions by email later. He is survived by his wife, Ann, by his children, Cathy, Peter, and Daniel, and by nine grand-children and one great-grandchild.
Services will be held on Saturday at 3:30 pm at the University Presbyterian Church in Rochester Hills, Michigan. In lieu of flowers, Ann Hagenbuch requested that people donate to the Walter P. Chrysler Museum.
Dyno operator Ed Poplawski wrote, “Pete was a great guy to work for…Pete was very hands on involved in all phases of the testing. He always had a plan in place and you knew where you stood with him. He made a point to make sure all our equipment was running and backed me up if any problems came up.”
Burke Brown, who was in charge of the original LX cars’ development, wrote, “I would call him the consummate absolute role model of the dyno development performance engineer. He was all about running the dyno, getting really good data, sitting down and looking at that data, he understood all that stuff really well.”
While with Chrysler, he gained some fame as a slot car builder, and is to be featured soon in a book on the subject.
With the Detroit Auto Show over, it may be worth some time to look at one of the men who made yesterday’s and today’s Mopars possible.
- Pete Hagenbuch (brief biography)
- First interview
- Second interview
- Third “interview” (correspondence)
- Pete’s guided tour of the Walter P. Chrysler Museum
Today, Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne implied that the odds were against the Toledo plant keeping Jeep Wrangler production, despite a recent land purchase and the city’s long history with Jeep in general and CJ and Wrangler in particular. He did say that, if Wrangler was to find a new home, new product would be moved to the plant: … if the economic [...]
Burns Motors has posted two videos of a Dodge Challenger Hellcat doing the quarter mile in 10.48 seconds. These stand in contrast to a video elsewhere which shows a $105,000 Tesla owner jumping the red light at the track to beat a Hellcat owner who was unused to the car, and struggled for traction through the run. The 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT [...]
Patrick Rall took the new 2015 Jeep Renegade off-road and on-road — in both cases, taking a standard AWD model as well as the Trailhawk, which has more ground clearance and skid plates. Though the venue, an off-road vehicle park and various city streets and highways, was chosen by Jeep, Mr. Rall was able to choose his route through the obstacles to get [...]
Rumors from Windsor suggested first that the current “RT” minivan body would continue for some years alongside the new “RU,” and then that it would be dropped as soon as the new designs came out — in Chrysler form only. Sergio Marchionne has thrown some fuel onto the speculative fire, commenting today in Detroit that: Where is Reid [Bigland]? If it [...]