Norm Layton, better known around the Internet as “MoparNorm,” reportedly died of a heart attack this morning. Mike Bedwell wrote on the 4540 Motorsports page:
Very sad and with heavy heart this morning. We just found out this morning that my friend and crew chief passed away yesterday ,,,. Norm has been very busy trying to get all the pieces together [from a wreck during an off-road race]... I feel it very difficult to even think of going forward without my friend and crew chief Mopar Norm Layton. ... The picture posted was of him yesterday working on the new fuel cell.
Earlier this year, 4540 Motorsports competed at the famed King of the Hammers race; at the time the group was known as the “All J Racing Team.” Ray Alexander wrote at the time,
Norm Layton is a long time Mopar guy; he owns Sweptline Products and is a sponsor as well. Sweptline restores Power Wagons and modifies Jeeps. Norm was directly involved in the vehicle fabrication, spending 3-4 days per week at All J in Big Bear, California. Every detail about this vehicle resides in someone’s head. There are no schematics, no CAD drawings, no written specifications.
While Mr. Layton was crew chief of 4540 Motorsports, his primary job was owning and running Sweptline Products in California, an off-road customization shop.
“MoparNorm” was also a regular and often controversial contributor to allpar.com, particularly in the forums. In addition to his 32,503 posts on Allpar, which garnered 8,051 “likes” (since the “like” system was started), he wrote two main articles, Dodge at the Los Angeles police car tests and half of Chrysler at the 2011 SEMA show , and explained the “Wrangler death wobble.” The roll cage for the 4540 was used as an illustration in a description of possible Wrangler bodies by engineer Bob Sheaves.
According to a story by Mr. Layton, posted in Chrysler’s weblog, he was born around 1950, falling in love with his father’s 1950 Dodge pickup at the age of three. A formative experience was going to the Jeep dealer with his father, who bought a new 1959 Jeep FC170. The family moved to a Power Wagon in 1964, which he owned until his death. His first Jeep was a 1959 CJ-5.
He wrote, “With the merging of these two great brands [Chrysler and Jeep] my passion for Chrysler vehicles was increased exponentially. This enthusiasm has not been tempered, but rather increased via the 12 Jeeps and 7 Dodges I have owned over the years. My constant promoting of Chrysler products has led to many friendships, and nearly all of my close and extended family members have become loyal owners of Jeeps and Dodges, mainly to escape my constant sales pitches about the greatest vehicles in the world.”
Mr. Layton was a desert racer in the 1960s and NASCAR pit crewman in the 1970s.
Many people expressed sorry over his passing, on Allpar and Facebook.