Donald Weber, president of Engine Parts Group Inc. (EPGI) and an aftermarket engine parts pioneer, died March 4. He was 79 and still working.
“Don was an extraordinary thinker, a great leader and a very capable individual,” EPGI chairman Paul Van Woensel of Engine & Performance Warehouse said. “His contributions to the aftermarket industry, engine parts distribution, and Engine Parts Group in particular, have been very significant.”
Born in southern California, Weber grew up in Hollywood. He graduated from Hollywood High School and went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in finance from the University of Southern California. His military service included a tour of duty with the U.S. Army.
Early in his aftermarket career, Weber joined Lutzoff Automotive Warehouse (LAW) in Los Angeles as general manager. LAW was an engine parts specialty WD and a pioneer of the modern-day engine kit/engine kit catalog.
Under Weber’s management and direction, LAW became an engine parts industry leader with five distribution centers throughout California. Weber ultimately took an ownership position in LAW after the passing of LAW’s owner and founder, Al Lutzoff.
During Weber’s tenure with LAW, the company became a founding and charter member of Engine Parts Group/Engine Pro. EPGI, an engine parts program distribution group, formed in 1989 with a dozen owner members representing engine parts distributor organizations throughout the United States. Weber, the group’s first board chairman, helped guide the group in its early development.
Following LAW, Weber joined the National Crankshaft Co. (NCC), a crankshaft remanufacturer based in Anaheim. Weber helped expand NCC’s operations into a full-service engine parts specialty distribution company and member Engine Pro Distributor.
Following NCC’s sale to a fellow distributor organization in 2006, Weber took an active role directly with Engine Parts Group/Engine Pro. He managed and directed the development of the group’s private-label products program and, in 2009, took over as the group’s president and top executive. The group flourished under Weber’s leadership and direction in the years that followed, according to a statement from EPGI.
Nicknamed “Racer Don,” Weber was an avid motorsports enthusiast, with a specific interest in international motorsports competition, including F1 racing. He won various Sports Car Club of America honors, including a regional championship and a “Rookie of the Year” award.
“Don loved this industry,” Van Woensel said. “He was known by many and will be remembered as an honest, giving and intelligent individual. He will be greatly missed.”
Survivors include Weber’s wife, Kristin; daughters Jennifer and Jamie; and two granddaughters.