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 Post subject: Passing of Clayton Pace
PostPosted: Mon May 14, 2018 7:26 pm 
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Joined: Thu Nov 01, 2007 2:48 pm
Posts: 1633
Location: Groton, CT
One of the first Z guys I ever met. He had some great Z gatherings at his house in the early days.

I saw on FB that he passed away on 5/12/18


This photo of Clayton at my first Marina meet in Old Saybrook.

Airjockey was his forum name. Rest In Peace Clay.

IMG_0824.JPG [ 231.49 KiB | Viewed 61 times ]

Keith Hultmark
2009 370Z Touring - Groton, CT
UpRev Tuned, Fast Intentions Exhaust, JWT Intake
PostPosted: Mon May 14, 2018 10:35 pm 
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Joined: Mon Sep 21, 2009 3:55 pm
Posts: 3588
Location: Naugatuck CT
Ditto Keith. He had some great gatherings in the early days. A very generous guy. He would open his whole garage to you for some beer. RIP Clay

PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2018 12:05 pm 

Joined: Wed Apr 09, 2008 5:53 pm
Posts: 12676
Location: CT
Awwwww. I really liked AirJockey and spent a lot of time in his wonderful double-bay "man cave" garage during the time he was into Zs. Any direction I face in my garage today I can see Z parts which I bought from Clay, and my own Z wears a lot of AirJockey parts even now. Clay almost lived in that garage and had it air-conditioned and heated for all 4 seasons. It was a great place to hang out.

He was a compulsive wheel and tire specialist and had a special shed built behind his garage to store NIB specialty Z wheels and tires which he and his Japanese wife (Kay? Sorry, I forget) brought home from each of his many trips to her family in Japan. He spoke good Japanese and was a skilled businessman about buying wheels and tires in lots. His back shed was like a miniature tire store. He even had a large media blaster and an industrial size air compressor in there which he let us all use in exchange for a bag of new media beads or a sixpack of Cornona Gold.

Clay taught himself to weld and dove right into rescuing old Z cars. He could also torch and was able to surgically cut the roof off a Z and replace it onto another (ask Phrog). He bought Mig and Tig welders in addition to his existing gas and arc welders and self-taught on each of them. He built a functional custom Z car rotisserie and invited CTZCC members from everywhere to help him disassemble old Zs. Some members dropped by just to learn and buy parts as they came off the cars.

Clay was also into electronics. His garage had the biggest personal computer and sound system I had ever seen in private hands, and a couple big screen TVs around the garage walls, onto which he could project Z videos. The lower level of his big house carefully stored larger Z parts as well as some antique toys and first-generation electronic games, all set up and ready to play.

He was an Air Force veteran who had done some important things for them, including traveling all the way down to Florida (invited by-name) to install an historically-important fighter jet onto a 25ft pedestal outside the country's largest Air Force museum. He and one other guy did that and it probably will stand there as "his" memorial for another 100 years. He got his screen name from his job at Sikorski, where he worked on building and repairing helicopters. He loved that job (and anything that flew) and worked there for all the time I knew him. He preferred working nights so he could work on his Zs during the day. I never figured out when he slept.

AirJockey was a great BBQ chef and loved to have his big back yard filled with visiting gear heads, even if they wanted to camp out there overnight. He would spend a whole Friday driving his tractor mower around his wooded 1-acre back yard so that we could park 20-30 cars there on Saturday, eat a day-long barbecue and sleep it all off under his trees that night. He bought a new (LARGER) BBQ grille each year and could cook enough ribs and chicken to feed 20 people at once. It was almost a commercial enterprise. His neighbors knew anytime he threw a Z party that they were welcome to bring the kids over and eat with us.

Clayton had every cool tool imaginable. His three rolling toolboxes and every garage wall were full of well-cared-for car tools, each hanging on it's designated hook or in its marked drawer. He had diagnostic meters and floorjacks and a garage loft full of Z fenders, doors, hatches, engines, etc. He had an hydraulic drill press and a bandsaw. He kept his garage clean and it wasn't unusual to find a pair of Zs in there and a few others in the driveway. One day he hosted and directed a tear-down of a dead zx car which Jim Hagani filmed and made into a Club video (included here if I can find it). That was the atmosphere at Clay's on a normal weekend, with his driveway and the street filled with Zs and others coming and going unannounced. It was never boring.

Clay built and drifted a 260Z with triple DCOE 40 Webers. His engine would tach up to 8,000rpm without a care. (The 260 is a square engine; don't try that with your 240 or 280). One day he tried to set the longest-time drift record and all the oil in his un-baffled oilpan surged over away from the pickup. All the bearings ran dry and he punched a connecting rod straight thru the side of his block, the only Z engine I've ever seen which failed catastrophically. Fist size hole, right thru the side of the engine! I have a picture of it somewhere. That seemed to mark the end of his Z days. He became fascinated with little Hondas and Subarus and pretty soon he managed to get three of them into his garage at a time. Then his beloved old dog died, he discovered kayaking and fishing and we hardly ever heard from him again.

Clayton Pace was a friend to everyone he knew. Anybody who knew him could tell 20 stories about Clay. If there's still time I would like to attend his funeral. If I can get the Z running I will drive it in his procession. Farewell AirJockey; you were your own man and a lot of fun. Z ya again some day.

Frank T


Last edited by Frank T on Thu May 17, 2018 10:34 am, edited 1 time in total.

PostPosted: Thu May 17, 2018 7:30 am 

Joined: Tue Oct 06, 2009 1:37 pm
Posts: 230
Location: Lebanon, NH
Clay was as much a straightforward, stalwart, salt-of-the-earth friend as anybody could have asked to have. He very much shaped the lives of a bunch of us that were in our 20's when we met and left some damn big footprints on our lives. He won't be forgotten and is bitterly missed.


PostPosted: Thu May 17, 2018 8:04 am 
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Joined: Thu Sep 01, 2005 1:12 am
Posts: 2127
Location: Darien, CT
Thanks for posting this Keith. I too recently saw this on Facebook and was shocked to learn of the passing of someone so young. Clayton was very active in this club in our early days.

May you rest in peace our Z brother.


Ross Williams
1978 280Z Black Pearl Edition 36k Original Miles
2008 350Z Bob Sharp GT-33 Edition

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