Dahlquist – Eric Eugene Dahlquist October 21, 1937 - December 24, 2016 (age 79)
Automotive journalist and public relations executive Eric Eugene Dahlquist died unexpectedly on December 24, 2016 from complications following open heart surgery.
Eric was born in Lockport, New York, in 1937, where his father was an electrician at the nearby Niagara Falls power station. Eric inherited his father’s fascination with all things mechanical, and by the time he entered his teens was an avid participant in the active hot rodding scene around Buffalo. This passion for automobiles led him to become a stringer for Hot Rod magazine, covering drag racing and car builders throughout western New York. He was hired by Hot Rod as a staff writer in 1964 and moved to Los Angeles, the epicenter of the post-War car culture. He learned the ropes of the magazine business from some of the icons of the period, and became the magazine’s technical editor.
Later, he moved over to sister publication Motor Trend, where his automotive horizons were expanded beyond the drag strips of his youth. He was named editor of Motor Trend in 1968 and remained so until 1975 when he left to start his own company, Vista Publishing. A contract with Pontiac Motor Division led Eric into public relations, and by 1978 he had formed Vista Group as a subsidiary of Vista Publishing to handle the burgeoning PR business, which now included GMC Truck and W. R. Grace Company’s aftermarket parts divisions. As the agency grew, at one time or another, Vista Group represented every automotive division of General Motors as well as Mercedes-Benz, Nissan North America, Smart USA, BF Goodrich, and both Petersen Publishing and Argus Publishers, among others. In addition to normal press relations, Eric led Vista Group into performing motion picture and television product placement, product planning, marketing, sales promotion, and special projects services for a whole host of automotive business clients. Eric and his sons, Eric Jr. and Karl grew Vista Group to be the largest PR agency in the U.S. dealing exclusively with the automobile industry.
He loved to spend time with his wife, friends and members of his family: making small talk, cracking jokes, discussing sports or current events, and most importantly, providing a much needed pep talk when he knew you needed one. He could also be perfectly content to just sit with you, enjoying a quiet moment where barely a few words were spoken. Watching a game and cheering was among his favorite days.
Eric was active in all his children’s sports and schools, endlessly volunteering no matter where they attended, being it St. Francis de Sales School, Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks or Bishop Alemany High School in Mission Hills. He was a faithful parishioner of St. Francis de Sales Roman Catholic Church in Sherman Oaks.
Eric is survived by his wife, Vicki, sons Eric, Karl, Ian, and Scott, daughters Jennifer and Liliana, stepchildren Ricky and Eshelle, Ten grandchildren, his brother Charlie Dahlquist of Lockport, New York, and his cousin Mark Dahlquist of New York. He will be buried in his family plot in New York with his mother and father.
Editor's Note: I met Eric when he was shooting photos for Hot Rod Magazine in East Providence, RI at Tasca Ford on Taunton Ave. We would cross paths many times over the years, but it was not until my move to the West Coast while living in Anaheim, CA that I joined MPG and got to spend time with Eric and learn what a true Automotive Master Journalist he really was. I was looking forward to many more talks with my friend and mentor. He was a great asset to MPG and a gentleman of the first order.
Photo Journalist holding Credentials from MPG, PAPA & AARWBA, | Memberships (past & present): IKF, WKA, CIK, SKUSA, SEMA, PAPA, SAE | Licenses (past & present) IMSA, NASA, SCCA-PRO, FIA, NASCAR, EMRA, ASRA | Secretary: Kart Industry Council (KIC) | CEO: American Indoor Kart Racing Series | COO: Amateur Karting Association | Entrant / Driver: Pirelli World Challenge Racing Series. Member: LinkedIn. (Apologies for typos and errors in grammar, I was not an English major in school).
Edmund Jenks: Memberships - Motor Press Guild (MPG) Professional Journalist | AARWBA | PAPA | NMPA | ibnma - International Blogging & New Media Association - Founding Member | Pajamas Media (MAXINE) - Blog Roll, Citizen Journalist | NowPublic - Editor, Feature Page Manager (Motorsports, Tech & Biz) | EXAMINER - LA Conservative Examiner & LA Motor Culture Examiner | Blog: ... notes from The EDJE