Interview: Merrill  Powell

Merrill  Powell
Co-Founder  of  Victress  Where  Alton  Worked  and  LeMans  Coupe  Built

It is great reading Doug Ward’s recollections of Al Johnson, and the development of his LeMans Coupe. As VP of Victress Mfg. Co., where Al worked and built the car, I was a direct observer of most of the development of the car, from the earliest mockup construction. Strother “Mac” MacMinn (he hated is first name, as I recall) came out to Victress several times to guide Al early-on. I love the car’s design; it still makes my hair stand up when I look at pictures!

Re: the accident: I believe the car went through a barbed wire fence at the edge of Malibu Canyon, which sheared the top off, enabling Al and Eddie Matta to be thrown clear (no seat belts), which probably saved their lives.

Hemmings Blog: April 14, 2022

In Response to Merrill Powell’s Post in Hemmings on April 14, 2022

Hi, Dennis, Thank you for taking on the job of bringing “Mac” MacMinn’s LeMans Coupe back to life! It is my favorite car design, and I was privileged, as VP of Victress, to be a direct observer of the coupe’s development and construction. Al Johnson was an incredibly talented young man, and if his scholarships at Art Center hadn’t run out, might have gone on to a design career.

I will follow your project with great interest, and if I can help in any way please don’ hesitate to call.

Hemmings Blog: April 14, 2022

Dennis- Thanks for recreating my favorite car. Looking at the photos of Alton Johnson’s car, over the past sixty-plus years, has always given me chills. It was a shame it was wrecked; thankfully the boys were not badly injured! Mac and Al would be very happy with the fantastic job you are doing. I look forward to seeing it in person next year.

Facebook Message to Dennis Kazmerowski: June 15, 2022