Goodwin Hannaford Family photo

Goodwin Hannaford, an industrial arts teacher at Cape Elizabeth High School and well-known racing engine builder and car owner, died Saturday from complications of pancreatic cancer, according to his family. He was 76.

Mr. Hannaford was inducted into the Beech Ridge Motor Speedway Hall of Fame in 2005 and the Maine Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2010.

He was remembered by Maine’s racing community this week for his dedication to the sport and his reputation for building powerful, championship-winning engines. He prepared engines for racers such as Homer Drew, Jerry Seavey, Bob Babb, Al Hammond, Dick McCabe, Russ Nutting and many others. His engines were used in cars that won more than two dozen championship titles throughout New England.

In the March 25 episode of Open Trailer Podcast on racing, Hannaford talked about his early fascination with race cars and building engines.

“I wanted to build the engine,” Hannaford said in the podcast. “I didn’t give a damn about driving it. Never did. I wanted to make that engine … make that kind of noise and be faster and more powerful than anybody else’s. And it still motivates me today … big time. Right now, as blind as I am and as sick as I am with cancer, I’m building a hell of a motor up here that’s going to Georgia.”

Mr. Hannaford’s obsession with machines began at age 5 when he fixed his mother’s washing machine. As a boy, he worked on Warren Stuart’s farm and in Stuart’s garage. He learned farming, cars and a lot about life and being self-sufficient. By age 14, Hannaford built his first winning race engine with Roger Littlefield for a car he owned with Sandy Atkinson.


Atkinson, a former race car driver and longtime friend, reflected on Hannaford’s legacy of building powerful engines.

“I think he knew more about motors and welding and automobiles than anyone in my pit crew,” Atkinson said. “His whole life was about automobile racing and making racing engines. He was the top of the pile on how he did that.”

He operated Hannaford High-Performance Center at his home in Hollis. According to his obituary, he was an expert in Corvettes, hot rods and high-performance vehicles. He was recognized nationally as one of Chevrolet’s top five mechanical fuel injection experts.

He built at least six engines for Garry Johnson of Hollis, a friend for 30 years. He built one for Johnson’s sons, who own a stock car in Georgia. Johnson said the driver loves it, and that the car has more power than it ever had before.

“Goodwin’s work was impeccable,” Johnson said. “He was one of the fussiest people you ever met. He didn’t do anything unless it was 100 percent correct.”

In his early years, Mr. Hannaford did some drag racing with his cars “Ratso” and “Teacher’s Pet.” In 1990, he purchased a used modified race car, 71ME. The car had an orange frame and cage with 71ME on the black body.


For many years, he and his wife, Anne Hannaford, made the trip to Claremont Speedway in New Hampshire to race. In the mid-2000s, they teamed up with local driver Josh Cantara.

Anne Hannaford reflected on their years of racing across New England.

“We race against people who have two brand new cars in double decker trailers, towed by Peterbilts,” she said. “We raced in a big, heavy-hitter circle. We would pull in with our little U-Haul and drop out our 1996 car. They all laughed at us until they see us on the track.”

Off the race track, Mr. Hannaford was a dedicated industrial arts teacher at Scarborough High School, then Cape Elizabeth High School for 18 years. He taught practical physics as it relates to automotive and industrial studies.

The courses included metal work, casting, foundry, machine work, metal fabrication, machine drawing and blueprinting, and elements of design. His obituary said students learned life-lessons about integrity, respect, inspiration and having a good work ethic. His wife said he had an impact on many of his students’ lives.

“He took so many kids and helped them,” she said. “There are kids he saved, absolutely, from a bad path in life. He taught students how to take something and make something out of it.”


Mr. Hannaford was a member of the board of directors for the Maine Vintage Race Car Association and the Maine State Stock Car Racing Association. He and his wife were founding members of the Valenti Modified Racing Series.

He raised three children from a previous marriage.

His wife reflected on their life together, noting he was the love of her life. They were married 23 years.

“He was my world,” she said. “It’s been a wonderful relationship through the years. … He was passionate about everything he did. If it didn’t go right, anyone could tell you, he would hoot and holler and yell. It wasn’t fun all the time, but he loved me all the time. I loved him all the time, right up until the very end.”

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