Harold W. Sager, WWII veteran designed race cars - The Buffalo News

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Harold W. Sager, WWII veteran designed race cars

Feb. 25, 1926 – Jan. 31, 2015

Harold W. Sager, a race car designer who specialized in refurbishing classic vehicles, died Jan. 31 in Mercy Hospital. He was 88.

Mr. Sager was born in Buffalo and grew up in Orchard Park, working on the farm at his family’s 1820 homestead. A World War II veteran, he enlisted in the Army when he was 18 and became a paratrooper. He achieved the rank of technician 4th grade with the 11th Airborne and spent a year serving with occupation forces in Japan.

Following his honorable discharge in 1946, Mr. Sager married the former Joan Wootton and became involved in auto racing. He designed and built race cars for 20 years, with his cars winning hundreds of races in Canada and the eastern United States. He also was chief mechanic for a car owned by Jim Hurtubise that ran in the 1966 Indianapolis 500.

Mr. Sager was inducted into the FOAR Score Club Hall of Fame in 2011, and a photo of one of his cars is on the cover of Ford Easton’s 2014 book, “Racing in the ’50s”

Mr. Sager opened his Sabre Custom Service collision shop in Orchard Park in 1954, specializing in refurbishing fire trucks and classic cars, along with offering general auto body repair. He held a patent for the Sabre Vent, a ventilation system for fire trucks that has been in production for more than 30 years.

He was a member and director of the Independent Auto Body Guild of Western New York and served as its president in 1979.

Mr. Sager enjoyed flying his 1946 Taylorcraft plane, waterskiing at Rushford Lake and spending weekends on a houseboat. The Sagers enjoyed going to Clearwater, Fla., for several weeks each winter.

In addition to his wife of 67 years, Mr. Sager is survived by his son, Gary; a daughter, Sandra Gunter; a sister, Marie Campbell; seven grandchildren; and 15 great-grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held at 7 p.m. March 20 in Orchard Park Presbyterian Church, 4369 S. Buffalo St.

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