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Oldsmobile Performance Pioneer Joe Mondello Passes Away

Joe Mondello, known in the performance aftermarket world as "Dr. Oldsmobile," passed away on April 8 at the age of 74 following complications from surgery.

Born in Los Angeles in 1936, Mondello's love affair with the automobile began at the age of 13 and led to a 54-year career as an engine builder, a head porter and a teacher.

Mondello's mechanical talents and passion for drag racing combined with his experience served him well when Oldsmobile was looking for engine builders to port and polish cylinder heads to increase performance for its newly created Oldsmobile Performance Parts Division. Out of all the shops Oldsmobile tapped to increase power through modified heads, Mondello's heads made the most power. It was his notable work on Oldsmobile V8s that earned him the "Dr. Oldsmobile" nickname.

He established the Mondello Technical School in 1996 to help teach anyone willing to learn the art of performance engine building. Most recently, Mondello was focused on the Quarter Mile Foundation and the "PROJECT 1320" drag-racing documentary.

Read more about Mondello on the Hemmings Blog website.

Those wishing to donate in Joe’s memory in lieu of flowers can do so to two of Joe’s favorite charities:

St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital
P.O. Box 1000 , Dept 142
Memphis, TN 38148
(Make check payable to “For direct care of children”)


Quarter Mile Foundation
6210 Beverly Ave.
Parma Heights, OH 44129