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Fall 2015 353


July 11, 2015

When the Cobra/Shelby hobby was

in its infancy, Chuck Gutke realized

that repairing Cobras was a bit more

than the average owner could do by

himself. This was before the word

“restoration” had gained the meaning it

has today. In 1977 he started Cobra Re-

storers in Kennesaw, Georgia and al-

most overnight became very busy

repairing and rebuilding Cobras. This

was back when finding replacement

parts was something that would give

Sherlock Holmes pause. In the inter-

vening years, more and more Cobra

to specialty shops like Cobra Restorers to

produce show-quality examples that they

could drive with pride. When vintage rac-

ing gained popularity, Chuck was in the

right spot. The first large sanctioning body

on the east coast was SVRA (at that time

the Southeastern Vintage Racing Associa-

tion) in Florida. Chuck began competing in

CSX2373, which he had acquired after its

restoration costs had exceeded its owner’s

budget. It was a good advertisement for his

business as well as being an enjoyable

hobby. Chuck campaigned the car in most

SVRA events in the 1980s and early 1990s.

Cobra Restorers continued to thrive and

was soon doing hot rod work as well as

Cobra and Shelby restoration and race


Chuck was always a SAAC supporter

and in the club’s early days served as a

Georgia Regional Representative. He

helped plan and run a number of large re-

gional events at Callaway, Georgia. He also

served as the club’s Regional Rep Coordi-

nator for a time.

Chuck was born in Wheaton, Illi-

nois in 1938. He was an Eagle Scout and

after attending the University of Miami,

he joined the Marines where he was a

helicopter mechanic. He served a tour in

Vietnam as a helicopter door gunner.

After graduating from college he took a

job as a professional water skier at Cy-

press Gardens. He also flew helicopters

and fixed-wing aircraft. In 1994 he was

honored as the pilot with the most

Angel Flight missions in the U.S. (Angel

Flight is an air ambulance service for

patients unable to fly commercial.)

In the last couple of months his

health began to deteriorate and he was

diagnosed with lung problems. There

was no cure and after being stabilized

with only 25 percent lung capacity, he

was moved back home in hospice care.

He maintained contact by email with a

group of friends and never once com-

plained about his health problems. He

continued to be upbeat and in good spir-

its. He passed away quietly. He was 76.

When replica Cobras became popu-

lar a lot of enthusiasts who wanted one

didn’t have the expertise or interest in

building one of their own. They turned


July 27, 2015

Dean was the original owner of

6S326 and had it until 2014 when he

had to sell it due to failing health. He

was an active member of SAAC’s New

England Region. He purchased the car

at Harr Ford; it originally had an auto-

matic transmission but he swapped

that for a four-speed in 1979.

He graduated in 1965 from the

Worcester Polytechnic Institute with a

master’s degree in civil engineering. He

worked as an engineer at Alden Re-

search Laboratories in Holden, Massa-

chusetts until he retired after almost

forty years.

Dean was a commander in the Navy and served

in Vietnam. He passed away after a long battle with

the twin demons of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

Dean was 73.