Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Lois E. Johnson
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

Late Roger Davidson to be honored at Agate Days Car Show


The late Roger Davidson is pictured with one of his trophies following a race.

Classic cars and drag racing was in Roger Davidson's blood. He bought his first classic car when he was in college and owned many during his life, said his son, Tim Davidson, in a recent interview.

An award named in Roger's honor, the Roger Davidson Memorial Award, will be given at the Agate Days Car Show at the Moose Lake City Park on July 16. The Davidson family, including Tim, Tammy and Barry, chooses who is presented with the award.

"This is the second year the award has been given," said organizer Tony Stewart. "Roger's family asked if we could do something in Roger's memory."

Roger Davidson died on June 11, 2016, as the result of an accident when working on one of his cars at his home. That was the latest car, a 1962 Chevrolet Impala, that his son, Tim, now owns.

"He bought his first classic car when he was in high school," said Tim. "By the time he was in college, he had his first muscle car."

Tim went on to explain that his father had attended classes at the Duluth Vocational-Technical Institute and learned drafting. He working for NSP (Northern States Power) for seven years.

"I was born in Coon Rapids," said Tim. "We moved back home in the early 1970s."

As his family grew, Roger had a dozen muscle cars or classic cars, Tim explained.

"He would do light restoration on the cars," he added. "But his real love was drag racing. He raced at Brainerd International Raceway, Rock Falls and in Eau Claire, Wisconsin."

The first car Roger bought was when he was in high school in 1966. He graduated from Moose Lake High School in 1967.

"It was a 1959 Chevrolet Impala that he later had painted in Anniversary Gold," said Tim. "He liked that color because of his cousin, Billy Illikainen, and in memory of his mother, Mabel Davidson. She always liked that color so he thought it was pretty cool to paint it that color. On the 50th anniversary of Chevrolet, they made anniversary editions. There was a special emblem on the side of the cars, and they were painted in different colors. His was in a flat paint, where others were in a high gloss paint."

But it wasn't only Chevrolets that Roger liked.

"He owned three different Impalas besides the last one," said Tim. "But he liked his Pontiacs and GTOs in particular. He owned several Firebirds and Trans Ams.

"He bought the first one in Bakersfield, California, at a Good Guys drag racing event that was hosted there. He had it shipped back home. Tony Grimm had been with him that time."

Roger also owned a 1970 Chevrolet Nova SS at one time that he drag raced, he added.

Tim said there was one car he helped his father restore.

"It was a 1967 GTO," he said. "He and I restored it together. We did a lot of motor work together, too. For a while, he had a few modern cars. But he always wanted to race his cars.

"It was ironic that some cars never came with big motors. But someone figured out how to cram a V-8 in them. He was a drag racer at heart so he put bigger motors in his cars."

Tim said his father also owned a 1997 Trans Am and a 1995 Trans Am.

Lois E. Johnson

Tim Davidson inherited a 1962 Chevrolet Impala, painted in Anniversary Gold, from his father, Roger Davidson.

"The 1997 was a race car," he said. "It had 80,000 miles on it when Dad bought it. It had been pushed to the max all of its life."

His last car was a 1962 Impala in Anniversary Gold, which Tim now owns.

"We took it out on the Fourth of July," he said.

But buying, restoring, racing and selling classic cars is not Tim's passion.

"Any classic car is constant work," he said. "You spend time wrenching on them and tweaking them. You need a trailer and a new vehicle to pull the trailer, and all of that. Just having the cars is expensive enough."

As he thought about his father, Tim said, "He always had a fondness for racing and working on cars. I think he struggled with racing. He wanted to be more competitive with racing. At one time, he tried snowmobile racing. He went back to it after he retired. But he enjoyed his cars from a very young age."


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