ATLANTA - Bob Akin died late Monday night of complications from injuries suffered last Thursday during a testing accident for a historic sports car race at Road Atlanta.
Akin crashed in a 1988 Nissan GTP ZX-Turbo during testing for the Walter Mitty Challenge. He was airlifted to Grady Memorial Hospital after the accident.
Akin, who won the prestigious 12 Hours of Sebring in 1979 and 1986, was a standout in sports car racing in the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) during his professional driving career. He also made six starts in the 24 Hours of Le Mans with a best finish of fourth in 1984. He won the IMSA World Endurance Championship in 1986
He started racing in 1957 in dragsters, then switched to road racing in 1959. He retired from driving in 1961 to concentrate on his business, but returned to racing in 1973. He won the IMSA World Endurance Championship in 1986. Mr. Akin was also a member and former president of the Road Racers Drivers Club.
He is survived by his wife of 42 years, Ellen Akin of Pocantico Hills, NY, his children Susan E. Akin of Sleepy Hallow, NY, Robert M. Akin IV of Manhattan Beach, CA, and Johanna Akin Stolecki of Cortlandt Manor, NY; his brother William D. Akin of Montauk, NY, and three grandchildren, Conor Mook, 8, Ian Mook, 6, and Emily Stoelcki, 3.
Bob Akin was born on March 6, 1936, in North Tarrytown and was raised in Sleepy Hollow Manor. He was educated at Hackley School in Tarrytown, NY, and received a BS and MBA from Columbia University.
He spent his professional career at Hudson Wire Company in Ossining, NY, a manufacturer of advanced technology conductors for applications ranging from aerospace and medical. The company was founded in 1902 by his grandfather, Robert M. Akin, and was operated by the Akin family for three generations. Mr. Akin joined the family business in 1955 while still in college, became president of Hudson Wire Company in 1974, and continued in that role through his retirement in 1995, having organized the sale of the company to Phelps Dodge Corp. in 1989. He was a member of the Electrical Manufacturers Club.
Akin had a life long passion for auto racing. His familiar #5 rode a series of Porsche 935 and 962 prototype race cars, all of them red, carrying such distinctive sponsorships as Coca Cola, Polo Ralph Lauren, Paradyne, Domino's Pizza, Yokohama, and of course, Hudson Wire.
Following his retirement from Hudson Wire Company, Akin devoted his time to the management of Bob Akin Motorsports, which specializes in the restoration and race preparation of historic race cars. He was a writer and frequent contributor to Road & Track magazine, and did on-air commentary for Speedvision, TBS and ESPN.
Akin was a member of the Board of Trustees of Hackley School for 30 years, beginning in 1972, and served as Board President from 1980 to 1990.He was also a long-time member of the school's Alumni Association board of directors, serving as its president in 1971-72. He was awarded the Hackley Medal of Honor for distinguished service to the school in 1990. In the 1950s, Mr. Akin was also a competitive sport fisherman, and a member of the Montauk Yacht Club team that won the United States Atlantic Tuna Tournament for three years in the late 50s.
Saturday, May 4, 2002
Kisco Presbyterian Church,
Mt. Kisco, NY
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that contributions be made to the:
Robert M. Akin Memorial Fund at Hackley School
293 Benedict Avenue
Tarrytown, NY 10591
Motorsport.com extends their sympathy to Mr. Akin's family.