Engine Builder & Drag Racer Joe Mondello Passes Away at Age 74

Apr 9, 2011

Joe Mondello, best known for his work building and designing engines, in addition to an accomplished professional drag racing and business career, passed away Wednesday at the age of 74.

Mondello had worked on high-performance cars and engines since the 1950s. According to a blog  posted on Hot Rod magazine’s website, Mondello’s passion for all things mechanical, and particularly improving cylinder head airflow, led him to a 54 year career as an engine builder, head porter and later, a teacher.

During his long career, Mondello worked with some of the most notable race teams and fellow engine builders during the 1960s-2000s. Mondello was known as “Dr. Oldsmobile” for his highly successful developmental work on the Olds V-8 engines, said the article.

Mondello was responsible for developing the Posi-Flow Combustion Chamber design, as well as many GM heads designs, which were used by some of the industry’s most-legendary drag racers, including  Dean Moon“Big Daddy” Don Garlits and Mickey Thompson.

Modello’s long list of accomplishments also included the establishment of the Mondello Technical School in 1996, where he taught professional performance engine building and head porting design first in Paso Robles, California before moving the school to Crossville, Tennessee.

During the last years of his life, Mondello devoted himself to the Quarter Mile Foundation and the PROJECT 1320 documentary.

He had begun to work on a 555 cubic inch World Products Big Block Chevy engine that would be raffled for benefit of the Foundation, and was planning two additional engines.

Services were held on Friday in Crossville, Tennessee. In leiu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to Mondello’s favorite charities: St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital P.O. Box 1000, Dept 142 Memphis, TN 38148 (mark check “For direct care of children”) Quarter Mile Foundation 6210 Beverly Drive Parma Hts., OH 44129

For more information on Mondello and his career, click here.