The custom car scene and the industry surrounding it were built on friendships. The cars and trucks are just the paint-covered and chrome-laden catalysts that bring us all together, but none of this would mean anything without the people entrenched in it. We all live and breathe cars, and as a result, many great friendships have been built that will last a lifetime. We are all like a family.
Courtney “Tito” Halowell was a man of many talents. Whether it was making you laugh or making you smile, he had a knack for knowing just what to say and how to say it. He was amazing behind the camera and the keyboard. Courtney was genuine and dedicated, whether helping a young, aspiring editor learn the ropes of photography, or putting his best foot forward to ensure the flame for the hobby of building, owning and showing custom vehicles continued to burn strong for everyone. He had a way of motivating and inspiring you whether you realized it or not. Courtney loved this industry and took great pride in his work no matter where his written and photographic talent landed him. His friendships were Courtney’s most cherished assets, and he had a knack for staying connected to everyone.
His journey with all things with wheels took him from custom truck magazines to motorcycle, hot rod and muscle car magazines, and to the pages of DRIVE! He was a well-rounded enthusiast and professional automotive journalist. It didn’t matter whether it was a hot rod on the ground with a cackling engine or an off-road truck soaring through the sky, Courtney was into it.
He told it like it was and there was never a time I didn’t see him at a show surrounded by crowd that he was entertaining, laughing until they hurt. His ability to be silly and lighthearted brought out the kid in all of us, and no matter what stresses were challenging us, one silly smile from the big guy washed it all away.
Like many of us, Courtney was inspired at a young age by his father Frank Halowell, who was always tinkering on cars. Naturally, Courtney gripped on tight to his dad’s obsession and never let go. That childhood influence blossomed into a long and fruitful career as one of the most respected and admired automotive editors to ever walk through the scene and industry.
Courtney was not only a coworker and industry colleague, he was a dear and loyal friend. He was the kind of guy who could make you feel welcome and like an insider minutes after shaking his hand for the first time. He made time for everybody, and was never too busy to lend advice on a build or help with any journalistic challenge.
The memories I have with Courtney “Tito” Halowell will be with me forever as I journey through life, this hobby, the custom car scene and the industry. He left a positive impression on everyone he came in contact with and taught me a lot. He was a man anyone would be proud to call their friend. I know he will be with me every time I snap a photo, tap the keyboard or turn a wrench. RIP, Tito.