Great story, T54. I hope you still have that bike!
I wish I could recall a tenth of the neat stories Phil's related in my presence. Last year while traversing the paddock at Monterey, a member of our group pointed to the wheels on a Shelby Mustang and commented on how much he had always liked them. Phil quietly mentioned that he had designed them. In typical Rem fashion, he didn't bellow it out so that all six or seven of us could hear, but instead said it rather matter-of-factly to the couple of us within earshot. I'll tell you, his accomplishments to the racing world are pretty staggering, but he desires little or no credit and simply looks at it as "doing his job."
Later that same morning, we happened upon the Superformance display, where Pete Brock was showing off his new project, the SPF "Brock Coupe," to a sizeable group of onlookers. The moment he saw Phil he literally dropped everything and rushed over to him, virtually genuflecting in Rem's presence. Coming from a man who designed the original Cobra Daytona Coupe, along with virtually every Shelby racing paint scheme, badge, logo, etc., this was a pretty amazing sight.
Carroll Shelby paid him a supreme compliment a year or two ago at a banquet at the Petersen Museum, during a Cobra display there. In the presence of Dan Gurney and countless other luminaries who contributed to the success of the Cobra, Shelby took the podium and said something along the lines of, "I'd like you all to stand and recognize a man, without whose contribution we'd probably not be here tonight," and then asked Phil to stand up. He reluctantly did so, to a standing ovation, then again in typical style sought the back door at the first opportunity.
Shelby did the same thing last year in the autograph tent at Monterey. They had it set up so that Ford racing personalities were seated, about three per table, in a tent where racing fans could come through and get stuff signed. In that tent were some real legends, including Gurney, Bondurant, Lloyd Ruby, David Pearson, Parnelli Jones, Dick Hutcherson, Sir John Whitmore, etc. Shelby showed up just before the public was unleashed on the tent, in his private golf cart. When he disembarked from the cart he was immediately beset by the media and peons like yours truly, but made a beeline to the table where Rem was seated, and shook his hand.
The memories are not all rosy. Phil was at Riverside the day Ken Miles was killed. He has some awful memories of being in the pits, with Miles' son in attendance, waiting for the J-car to come around again, then seeing the pall of smoke. They rushed to the wreckage of the car, where they sadly found KM's remains. It was not the first time a driver he'd worked closely with had died, but you can tell from listening to him that it hit pretty close to home.
Phil also has some very un-PC stories about the, er, skirt-chasing habits of former employers, which I wish I could share...