Way back in 1997/98 sometime, I got introduced to Shaun Carlson somehow. I do not remember exactly how we met, but I think it was through Mike Ferrara (now publisher of DSPORT Magazine). Mike and Shaun were working at Turbo Magazine (then independently owned) and Mike was raving about this guy who fabricated everything out of his dad’s garage. I think Shaun and I got to talking because I was looking for somebody to weld things for me at the time. Back then at XS Engineering I only had a MIG welder and I did not know how to TIG yet (I still suck at aluminum).
So I would go to his dad’s garage in Rancho Cucomunga or Shaun would stop by XS on his way back from work and pick up parts to weld for me. The funny thing is Shaun came from the world of mini trucks, air bags, and chrome originally, but I think I met him at the time of his transition after discovering performance and racing. In fact Shaun had the world’s craziest Toyota 4Runner in his garage that he built and painted with Jason and Mark if I remember correctly. Jason Whitfield is now the proprietor of Rage Performance and the last I heard of Mark, he was working at Accufab the Mustang race parts company. Shaun, Jason, and Mark were like the super talented 909/Rancho posse who knew how to build anything and everything. Anyhow, me having Shaun weld intercoolers, exhaust manifolds, etc. and him hanging out at XS and checking out all kinds of turbo cars probably piqued his curiousity of performance and racing even further. After I had Shaun weld an intercooler assembly I designed, and a copy of it ended up on Adam Saruwatari’s 8 second FD3S RX-7 as a NuFormz (then Shaun’s new company) product, I decided to buy my own TIG welder and learn how to weld myself. But I was only mad at myself for not learning how to weld myself.
While Shaun and I didn’t really keep touch through the years, we would shoot the shit at races and shows here and there if time permitted. Although Shaun was always in some kind of spot light (I just saw him on Spike TV’s “Manswers” recently), he was never too cool to stop me and say hi. In recent years, Shaun has been the team owner of the Mopar drift cars. Shaun and his team were the ones building the cars that you see Samuel Hubinette drives in the Formula D events. Earlier this year, Shaun was diagnosed with Brugada Syndrome, a genetic genetic disease characterized by an abnormality in the heart’s electrical system that can cause potentially fatal arrhythmias and suffered a series of three heart attacks. I’m sure the doctors told him to stop running the Formula D Mopar cars (there is a lot of stress in racing), but from what I heard Shaun kept going doing what he loved. Talking about putting your “heart” into what you love doing, huh?
Shaun will be missed. He was a truly talented fabricator and an overall good guy. He was only 35 years old. Rest in peace, Shaun.
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