Goodwin Hannaford, 76, longtime industrial arts teacher and racing engine builder

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Goodwin Hannaford Family photo

Goodwin Hannaford, an industrial arts teacher at Cape Elizabeth High School and well-known racing engine builder and car owner, died of complications from pancreatic cancer on Saturday, his family said. He was 76 years old.

Mr. Hannaford was inducted into the Beech Ridge Motor Speedway Hall of Fame in 2005 and the Maine Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2010.

He was remembered by the Maine racing community this week for his dedication to the sport and his reputation for building powerful engines and championship winners. He has prepared engines for racers such as Homer Drew, Jerry Seavey, Bob Babb, Al Hammond, Dick McCabe, Russ Nutting and many more. Its engines have been used in cars that have won over two dozen league titles throughout New England.

On the March 25 episode of the Open Trailer Podcast on Racing, Hannaford opened up about her early fascination with race cars and construction engines.

“I wanted to build the engine,” Hannaford said in the podcast. “I didn’t care to drive it. Never done. I wanted this engine… to make that kind of noise and be faster and more powerful than anyone else. And that still motivates me today… a big moment. Right now, as blind as I am and as sick as I have cancer, I’m building a hell of a motor here going to Georgia.

Mr Hannaford’s obsession with machines began at the age of 5 when he repaired his mother’s washing machine. As a child he worked on Warren Stuart’s farm and in Stuart’s garage. He learned about farming, cars and a lot about life and self-sufficiency. At 14, Hannaford built his first winning racing engine with Roger Littlefield for a car he owned with Sandy Atkinson.

Atkinson, a former racing driver and longtime friend, spoke of Hannahford’s heritage of building powerful engines.

“I think he knew more about engines, welding and automobiles than anyone on my pit crew,” said Atkinson. “His whole life has been devoted to racing and building racing engines. He was the top of the pile on how he did this.

He ran the Hannaford High-Performance Center at his home in Hollis. According to his obituary, he was an expert on Corvettes, hot rods and high performance vehicles. He has been recognized nationally as one of Chevrolet’s Top Five Mechanical Fuel Injection Experts.

He built at least six engines for Garry Johnson of Hollis, a friend for 30 years. He built one for Johnson’s sons, who own a stock car in Georgia. Johnson said the driver loved it and the car had more power than it had ever had before.

“Goodwin’s work was impeccable,” Johnson said. “He was one of the most difficult people you have ever met. He didn’t do anything unless it was 100 percent correct.

In his early years, Mr. Hannaford raced dragsters with his “Ratso” and “Teacher’s Pet” cars. In 1990 he bought a used modified racing car, 71ME. The car had an orange frame and cage with 71ME on the black body.

For many years, he and his wife, Anne Hannaford, traveled to Claremont Speedway in New Hampshire to race. In the mid-2000s, they teamed up with local pilot Josh Cantara.

Anne Hannaford reflected on their years of racing through New England.

“We are running against people who have two new cars in double-decker trailers, towed by Peterbilts,” she said. “We ran in a big circle of heavy hitters. We would come up with our little U-Haul and drop our 1996 car. They all laughed at us until they saw us on the track.

Outside of the race track, Mr. Hannaford taught industrial arts at Scarborough High School and then Cape Elizabeth High School for 18 years. He taught practical physics as it relates to automotive and industrial studies.

The courses included metalworking, casting, foundry, machine working, metalworking, machine drawing and blueprint, as well as design elements. Its obituary says the students learned life lessons about integrity, respect, inspiration, and a good work ethic. His wife said he had impacted the lives of several of his students.

“He took so many children and helped them,” she said. “There are children he saved, absolutely, from a wrong path in life. He taught the students how to take something and do something with it.

Mr. Hannaford was a member of the board of directors of the Maine Vintage Race Car Association and the Maine State Stock Car Racing Association. He and his wife were founding members of the Valenti modified racing series.

He raised three children from a previous marriage.

His wife reflected on their life together, noting that he was the love of her life. They had been married for 23 years.

“He was my world,” she said. “It has been a wonderful relationship over the years. … He was passionate about everything he did. If it wasn’t going well, anyone could tell you, he would scream and scream and scream. It wasn’t fun all the time, but he loved me all the time. I liked it all the time, until the very end.

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