Lynn Chenowth – ORMHOF Class of 2019
Lynn Chenowth is a legendary off-road industry pioneer and chassis builder, whose open-wheel creations were a driving force behind some of the sport’s biggest victories and greatest drivers.
In the 1970s, it was Chenowth who helped usher in the development of true tube frame off-road vehicles. The sport was quickly growing and evolving, and Chenowth Racing Products was ready to meet the need. With a mass production approach to building affordable chassis and products, Chenowth helped bring the sport of recreational off-roading to the masses.
Over 25,000 Chenowth-built race, recreational and sand buggy frames were built by the company and shipped around the world, many assembled in home garages by mechanically inclined enthusiasts. Chenowth took a southern California-based lifestyle and shared it around the country – and the world.
Lynn’s Chenowth “Wedge,” Chenowth 1000 and Chenowth 2000 race cars all became winners in the 1970s, pushing the envelope of speed and reliability. Chenowth also designed the five-link rear suspended Chenowth Magnum short-course cars that dominated short course racing around the country for a decade, including the Mickey Thompson stadium series. Although he eventually sold Chenowth Racing Products in 1980 to fellow San Diego resident Mike Thomas, Lynn continued his role in the development of Chenowth desert and short course cars, the Chenowth Mini-Mag, as well as the company’s ventures into Yamaha and military vehicles.
Lynn’s expertise in the development of vehicles, drive trains and suspensions led him to a unique relationship with Yamaha Motor Company. Under his partnership with Yamaha Motor Company, Chenowth used his expertise in the development of vehicles, drive trains and suspensions to help innovate a series of vehicles, many incorporating Yamaha V-max engines and Chenowth rear a-arm technology. Eventually the relationship led the industry’s original UTVs.
Factory-backed and private Chenowth cars have taken many of the sport’s greatest drivers to off-road racing’s biggest victories. The list includes ORMHOF inductees Johnny Johnson, Ivan Stewart, Corky and Mark McMillin, Bob and Robby Gordon, Frank ‘Butch’ Arciero Jr, and Rob MacCachren.
Chenowth retired in 2017 and sold his company, Pulltarps Manufacturing, with the goal of returning to the fun of off-road racing. He’s off to a good start, with the foundation of the seaside Chenowth Legacy Lodge and Museum in Baja, Mexico, just south of San Felipe. Chenowth is also working with a team of former factory craftsmen to build a new Chenowth racing chassis.