Tribute to “Gentleman Jim” Moore

The local Ontario drag racing community lost one of its most respected members late last week with the passing of Jim Moore…..

 Moore, from Caledonia, began racing in the mid-1960’s, and continued to compete right up to the International Hot Rod Association (IHRA) national meet in Grand Bend last month, just two months after he was diagnosed with cancer. He raced a wide variety of Stock, Super Stock, and Modified cars, and was good at it.

“Jimmy did all kinds of racing,” noted Fred Smith of Cayuga, a former competitor and now director of the Can-Am Stock/Super Stock Series. “Right from the get-go he was part of the car crowd. He was passionate about drag racing and could drive anything with wheels on it.”

Moore spent most of his racing time with the Vanni Brothers, Vince and Bill, in the seat of a 1955 Chevy, numerous Chevelles, and a host of Camaros.

Jim Moore


Off-track, Moore was a key player in the local speed equipment business, working with Parkdale Auto Parts and Canadian Performance Distributors in establishing a solid presence in the industry.

“He did things right,” noted Smith. “He was the right one to promote the speed business in Canada.”

 While Moore won many accolades over the years, one of his biggest wins was taking the R/Stock title at the prestigious NHRA US Nationals at Indianapolis in 1979 with a big four-door Chevy wagon owned by Hamilton racer Camille Theroux. One of his first race cars, a Chevelle with the name “Sounds of Silence” on the sides, was a former road race car used by Hamilton car dealer and noted racer Maurice Carter.

In later years, Moore raced for Kirk Vanni, son of the late Vince Vanni, and piloted the Vanni Camaro right up until his health wouldn’t allow him to drive.

“He raced all kinds of cars,” said Vanni,” but was best in the Stock and Super Stock cars.”

Vanni also noted Moore had a couple of names that stuck with him throughout his career.

“Everyone knew him as ‘Gentleman Jim’ for his sportsmanship. But we also used to call him ‘Jimmy Shine’, he continued. “Jimmy was not very mechanically inclined, so we let him clean and polish up the race car, and that’s how he got that name.”

“Gentleman Jim” was 67.

Posted by: Tim Miller  – Photo by: Rob Potter