Bob Tasca Sr., an automotive enthusiast, Ford dealer and drag racing innovator, passed away Jan. 8, at the age of 83. An automotive businessman for more than 60 years, Tasca achieved fame as a record-setting automotive dealer and as an internationally known designer of high-performance racecars. Tasca Sr. is credited with helping create the Ford Thunderbolt drag racing car, and bringing the Cobra Jet 428 engine to NHRA in the 1960s.
“Bob Tasca Sr. had three important aspects to his life – his family, his friends and Ford Motor Company,” said his grandson, Bob Tasca III. “Those were the touch points in his life and for that we're thankful. We are grateful and privileged to have had so many years with him, and it's hard to say goodbye.
“My grandfather has touched so many and he will live forever in the hearts of people around the world. It was his time to move on. I think he held on and fought the fight for as long as he could fight it, but clearly his passing doesn't mark the end of the impact and influence that he'll have on this world, that's for sure.”
Tasca Sr. and his Rhode Island Ford dealership team created their own engine, the Cobra Jet 428, from parts found in the Ford service parts catalog. Tasca's Mustang Cobra Jet racecars were often taken to the drag strip where they defeated the competition, creating a demand for the Cobra Jet 428. Tasca Sr. is credited with having coined the phrase, “Win on Sunday, Sell on Monday,” because that was exactly what he did. Tasca Sr.'s dealership modified Mustangs on Sunday, won races, and sold those same cars in his dealership on Monday.
Bob Tasca Sr. is also credited with helping make Ford products better than when they left the factory. His influence at Ford, as a quality consultant, resulted in years of Ford performance. Every one of Tasca Ford dealership's vehicles was driven 200 miles by a Tasca before it was delivered to a customer as part of Tasca's “de-bugging” plan. Tasca Sr. was also instrumental in the advent of short-term leasing, which made automobiles affordable throughout the world.
Tasca Sr. developed a tight bond with Henry Ford II during the 1940s and two men held mutual respect for each other as automotive pioneers. Ford II viewed Tasca Sr. as one of his most trusted advisers in the automotive industry. Ford Motor Company asked Tasca Sr. to train more than 150,000 Ford employees and dealers, and he was the key force behind the “Quality is Job 1” initiative. In his life, Tasca affected an entire generation of products and sales techniques from his dealership in Rhode Island.
“I want to thank all of his friends through these last couple of years,” said Tasca III. “He's had some health issues and we're so grateful for the network of people who really become part of our family and we want to thank them for their support and prayers. Many people from Ford Motor Company and the NHRA series loved being around my grandfather, and I know he loved being around them. We're grateful for all of the support and friendship that we've built, and just want everyone to know that Grandpa is in a better place right now.”