Frank Wall of Tecumseh, Ontario was inducted posthumously into the Canadian Street Rodding Hall of Fame on September 11, 2010 at their annual gala held in Waterdown, Ontario. Accepting the honour on behalf of their father were daughters Kerry, Melissa and son Andrew. A packed house of family, friends and street rodders from across Canada were moved to tears as the audiovisual presentation walked everyone through Frank’s incredible life.
Cars of all types, but especially hot rods and customs, were an integral component of Frank life. In addition to building his own street rods, he helped dozens of others with their projects and after retiring from corporate life he opened Wall Fabrication in Windsor a shop that did it all. His outstanding abilities were noticed by top General Motors designer Larry Erickson of “CadZZilla” and “Aluma Coupe” fame. When Erickson’s father gave him a rust free 1955 Buick Special, he wanted the car to make a statement so he had this personal project shipped to Windsor, Ontario’s Baillie Customs. Jim Baillie contracted all the chassis and fabrication work along with engine, wiring and air conditioning to Wall Fabrication. Frank spent over two months building the Buick into an award winning custom. That project, along with the major media coverage it generated, really put Wall Fabrications on the map and verified Frank’s reputation as an outstanding car builder.
But cars were only one of Frank’s building talents. In 1974 Frank and friend Rick Robinson started the Windsor Area Street Rods and Frank was named the first President. Under his leadership Windsor Area Street Rods grew and prospered hosting many events, car shows, charity runs and even hosting the Canadian Street Rod Nationals. The club continues today, a lasting legacy to the solid foundation that Wall was instrumental in developing
Frank believed in giving to others, not only did he insure that the Windsor Area Street Rods support a number of charities; he took that attitude to his job where he chaired the United Way campaign.
With the Windsor Area Street Rods the charities they supported included: Spina Bifida, the Cancer Society, the Children’s Aid Society and the Essex County Community Living Organization. Not content to just support charities with cash donations, they participated with the Windsor Star Newspaper’s “Christmas Toy Drive” and delivered the toys for needy children in street rods!
In March 2005 Frank was diagnosed with AMYOTROPHIC LATERAL SCEROSIS – ALS, a degenerative condition commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.
Later that year the street rod community came together in a fund raiser to help Frank and his family. He was overwhelmed and brought to tears as more then 400 friends packed the Legion Hall in Windsor that December. The money raised that day helped provide some of the special medical aids Frank would require.
Throughout his long battle Frank did not want sympathy; he wanted to focus on the positives and get out and do things as long as he was able attending events and shows in his wheelchair.
The Windsor Area Street Rods chose ALS as their charity and worked hard to raise funds and awareness through activities and volunteer work. Frank was appreciative of their efforts and proud of their accomplishments. With their help and the assistance of ALS Canada and the incredible support of family and friends Frank was determined to see some good come out of his misfortune.
He was inspirational and right to the end of his battle he wanted to be treated just as “one of the guys”. He believed that laughter truly was the best medicine and he certainly laughed ….a lot.
Frank Wall passed away on February 11th of this year. Not only is he remembered for his passion for all things automotive, the cars he built, the club he formed, the business he created and for the street rodding hobby that he loved and nurtured.
But also for his generosity and his unselfish support and assistance for all of those who need help. He leaves a legacy beyond the street rod community