James Garner, actor, car enthusiast, and Mazda spokesman has passed away at the age of 86. He will be missed.
In the 1966 movie Grand Prix, Garner played a Formula 1 racer driving for the fictional Yomura team, which was closely based on Honda’s F1 efforts.
Mr. Yomura himself, based on Soichiro Honda, was played by Toshio Mifune of The Seven Samurai fame. This led in turn to Mifune being made team captain of the debut race of the BRE Hino Samurai team in Japan.
20 years later, he would become a spokesperson for Mazda, but in the US, not Japan, like so many other American actors.
One of my favorite actors from my youth. Grand Prix, Rockford Files, The Great Escape, he had a lot of good work.
Gonna go cry now…
I am impressed he stayed married to his wife from 1956 – that is not how Hollywood rolls. He drove the 1977 Indianapolis 500 Pace Car the first year I attended the race – a 1977 Oldsmobile Delta 88 Coupe.
Farewell Mr Garner – you entertained us and delighted us, but most important you were one of us; a car fan.
May you rest in peace and meet our Sir Jack Brabham again when you get to the great garage in the sky.
He’ll probably be racing Steve McQueen and Paul Newman as well.
Cheers to a great life and career, Mr. Garner. I enjoyed your body of work, and held you in a higher regard for your love of the automobile. As stated above, wherever you are, give our regards to Steve and Paul!
Another one of our cool friends gone.
(Rest in peace Sir.)
RIP to a great man. I haven’t seen that many of his works, but I loved Grand Prix. Think I’ll check out The Rockford Files. Those old Mazda commercials are so awesome! I want that 626 Turbo.
A TRUE Hollywood legend, great guy with a quick sarcastic wit, former Polaroid spokesman(both my parents worked there) and TOP NOTCH race car driver… did ALL his owYon driving and driving in the Rockford Files(known for the Jim Rockford turnaround… used by all law enforcement and FBI today).
You will be missed, Jimmy. Now, go drift a few roads with Paul Newman… who loved to race Datsuns. lol 🙂
*own racing and driving. Oopss
I LOVED my 86 silver Mazda 626GT Turbo coupe… I bought it in 1997, while just going to work with a friend. I stopped and asked if it was for sale, they said, “Yes, and it has a brand new turbo. ” I bought it for only $250 dollars, it was mint… I got it at a good price, because they had 6 cars. lol
I used to smoke 5.0 Mustangs and Iroc Camaros like nothing. I raced a guy piping me with a 92 Lincoln LSC 5.0… he was left at 2 lights, with a stunned look on his face. LOL
Great car, but the slave cylinders were problematic and shifting into reverse was difficult at times. I traded it for an 86 Camry 5spd… although, peppy it was no match for the 626GTs powerful turbo. I know STUPID.
I now own 8 80’s-early 90s classics… 3 JNCs. THIS car is one, I wish I still owned. I would love to find another, but they are rare. 🙁