How soon: Needed now.
John was always experimenting with better ways to do things. Without knowing the end was near, John was heavily invested in a start-up venture which has left the family without the funds necessary to handle his unexpected passing.
John passed away from Pancreatic Cancer very suddenly and unexpectedly. Always being so healthy and energetic, his passing though quick and peaceful, has definitely left those around him in quite a state of shock and disbelief.
His wife, Lori, is managing the funds to pay expenses incurred
I also learned John was in the Coast Guard Reserves.
John Knepp (1942-2017)
John was born in Salt Lake City and attended the University of Utah. While still living in Salt Lake City in the ‘60s, John Knepp began his ascent in the automotive world when he met Brock Racing Enterprises (BRE) owner Peter Brock. Brock had a knack for spotting talent and he spotted John at the age of 22.
John married his sweetheart Lori on May 18th, 1968 and they moved to El Segundo, CA for the start of John’s career at BRE. As the west coast Datsun factory race team, BRE was known for winning Championships due to their preparation. John was key in that endeavor.
As John explained in a 2010 BRE Reunion interview, “My job was to make everything on the cars bullet proof.” John knew engines, transmission, chassis, pumps, electronics and how they worked together. John started at the front bumper of a car and went to the very back inspecting every component and connection to make sure the cars would have no failures on the track. It worked and John was an integral part of BRE’s success.
When BRE closed in 1973, John carried on his quality work, co-founding Electramotive with Don Devendorf. They won the IMSA GTU Championship in 1979 with a Datsun 280ZX, followed by winning the GTO Championship in 1982.
For over twenty-four years, Electramotive cars dominated national and international racing series. Their success attracted clients in Japan, South Africa, England, Australia, France, and South America.
John relocated the business to Vista, California—moving into a facility that he custom designed. He ultimately formed Engine Control Company in order to focus on all aspects of engine control and instrumentation.
He used his unsurpassed knowledge of racing technology to branch out into several impressive projects that transcended the automotive industry. He developed propulsion packages for experimental aircraft; designed, built, and patented an innovative, low-cost natural gas compressor; and developed propulsion systems for unmanned aerial vehicles.
Ever a forward-thinker determined to improve the world, John became interested in conservation. He began researching, improving, and developing efficient fuel systems and designed innovative strategies to maximize resources. He developed a graywater recycling system; consulted for an innovator of diesel/natural gas truck conversion; and invented self-sustaining systems for high-end, off-the-grid homes.
John was always thinking, always working on the next big idea. As people around him could swirl out of control, John was the rock, the steady force that guided everyone to success. The automotive industry is in mourning as it loses one of its most liked members.
John is survived by his wife, Lori, of 49 years, their children, Jenifer and Robert, two remarkable grandsons, Elliott and Evan and two sisters, Karen and Janet.