SANTA CLARITA, CA – The incredible life of Byron Grenfell, he was born on September 8, 1938 in Michigan and entered eternal life on August 19, 2022.
Loving husband, father and friend. From his early days on Maurice St., Ishpeming, Byron was fascinated by all things mechanical. When he wasn’t ski jumping on Suicide Hill, he could be seen removing the engine from his father’s lawnmower and attaching it to his bike, as he couldn’t afford a “Whizzer” motorized bicycle. This same passion would lead him to become an avid Harley owner. As he got older, he took a liking to automobiles and, in order to learn as much as he could about them, took a job with Johnny Lyons doing body and fender repair. It was there that he met “Art” of collision repair, repeatedly stating that the work is in the prep of the body, rather than just the paint. Proud of the fact that he would use lead to repair dents rather than plastic putty, or bondo, his meticulous nature almost complimented “Old World Craftsman” attention to detail, which in the world of classic cars is a coveted trait.
Around this time he met Helen Mae Lundin and the two were married. They had two daughters, Cindy and Kim, settling on Croix St., Negaunee. Byron not only began to make a name for himself in body and fender repair, but also in building custom automobiles. He opened his own shop in Ishpeming, then moved to a larger building north of Negaunee. The Peninsula Pistons were a local group of car enthusiasts and met regularly, planning their next projects and sponsoring local car shows at the Ishpeming Armory. His name began to spread outside of the local area as the quality of his work was seen at auto shows in the Upper and Lower Midwest. Eventually, Byron partnered with famed designer Harry Bradley to produce a Dodge Duster that was ordered from Detroit to be part of the rapid transit marketing plan. These custom muscle cars were created by different designers and builders and then toured the United States. The Rapid Transit team included a Barracuda, Charger, Challenger, Road Runner and Duster that would travel the country stopping at various Dodge and Plymouth dealerships. This Duster was later purchased by famed collector Steve Juliano, then auctioned off and sold at Meekum Auctions in Indianapolis. When Byron visited Steve’s house in New York, he asked Byron to sign his firewall. Byron also had the opportunity to restore some of the rarest cars: classic Rolls-Royces, Jaguars, Mercedes Gull-Wings and even a Tucker. In the early 1980s, Byron and Helen chose to move to California, where he first worked in the restoration studio of JB Nethercutt, the co-founder of Merle Norman Cosmetics. Later, he took a job managing the restoration of an individual Milwaukee collector’s many cars.
He is survived by his beloved wife: Helen Grenfell, whom he married on April 8, 1958, his daughters: Cindy Saylor and Kim Kresch, his sons-in-law: Joe Kresch and Tim Saylor – brother and sister-in-law: Ted and Kathy Lundin, grandchildren: Keith and Heather, Korey and Nicole, Nicole and Charlie, Lindsay and Kyle, Michael, Sevanah, Sariah and Sofia, great-grandchildren: River, London, Madeline, Abel and Aiden, grandchildren : Hotsauce, Barbara, Luther, Maci and Maserati.