John (Mustang Johnny) Northrop passed away July 20, 2012 at the young age of 43 from pneumonia brought on by complications of sarcoma cancer. He was the life of any conversation and was never rude or unkind despite your automotive views. He was affectionately known as “Mustang Johnny”, but had a soft spot for Mercedes-Benz, particularly the V12 kind, Triumph Tr8′s, and 930 Porsche’s. Quite an eclectic mix. He respected all makes and models, but always kept a Mustang close at hand.
Mustangs are how I first came to meet John. I was at an autocross event for Mustangs and saw an immaculate 5.0 Saleen Mustang running the course and instantly loved the license plate, ’3 OH 2′. It wasn’t until some time later that I would actually meet John, but I’d started to hear good things about him after that day.
I was fortunate enough to be able to work alongside him for a couple years at Dr. Gas Exhaust. We would spend most of our day, while working, talking about Family Guy quotes and dream car scenarios. I’d throw out some exotic car, and John would come back with something more realistic like a 2002 Mercedes-Benz C230 Coupe, modified of course.
John is the best story-teller I have ever met! Oftentimes, after John had moved to a job closer to his home, a co-worker and I would call John up and ask him to tell us a story. Sounds childish, but the stories he’d come up with were mesmerizing. It was this storytelling ability that led me to want to bring Johnny on board here at CAMautoMag. Mike and I founded it, but John was the first person we brought on outside of ourselves. His personality and love of all cars was the perfect compliment to us. We were fortunate enough a few weeks ago to have Johnny write one last story for us. He was in high spirits and doing well and wanting to write. He wrote the $30K Check article about the Porsche Cayenne Turbo, one I completely agree with. We were so lucky to have him on board with us at CAMautoMag, and he made a huge impact on the car community at large.
When John was diagnosed with cancer over a year ago, he was in high spirits, he knew he was going to beat it. After the initial surgery, I brought him ice cream and a Porsche Excellence magazine. He even told me to not tell people, because he could look back at this later. We were at the time filming the video podcasts. We had stopped to re-tool, but when this happened, I knew I didn’t want to continue until Johnny was feeling better. He said by summer he’d be out at the track racing his Mustang Champ Car Pace Car. He did make it out to the track, but not to race.
I would text John to ask how he was doing, and he often wouldn’t respond. He didn’t want to dwell on that. However, if I text him a hypothetical car situation, he’d always respond. Cars were his passion and dream and I was fortunate enough to share in that with him. He was the one who suggested changing the ‘Letter from the Editor’ to ‘The CAM Journal’. A wise choice. The world has lost a local legend, and he will forever be missed!
John is survived by his wife and 4 children, parents, and 3 sisters.. In lieu of flowers, the family is taking donations to a memorial account in John’s name at any Mountain America Credit Union.
Here are the articles John contributed to the site, as well as the video podcasts he joined.