Olerascal has passed

JimD

Waiting for Godot...
Moderator
I always think of this picture when I think of Mike. I never met Mike, but this picture told me enough about him. He shared lots of laughs and knowledge over the years here on Xweb.
OR06-1 MikeMittlestead.jpg

Olerascal, keeper of the shiniest Sports Stars known to man and pink flamingo aficionado.

RIP Mike. :(
 

Rodger

True Classic
So sorry to hear this news. I met Mike in person a few years ago. He sold me a set of original CD-30s he had been working on to restore. I saw some of his projects and his X down in his basement. A true gentleman and a Fiat lover to the end.
 

Ulix

True Classic
I am very sad.
Next to Mark Plaia, I consider Mike as my X1/9 mentor.
I used to live in the PNW and bought my current X in Seattle.
Mike got me into driving the X on a road course and tought me restauration tricks.
After I had left to Germany and came back to the US for vacation and to attend the Medford event, he picked me up from the airport and lent me his light blue X for my entire stay to take up to Seattle and all around.
In Medford, I got to drive his dark blue X in anger on track.
"Gentlemen" is a fitting term. "A great friend" is as well.
I hope his Fiats and his race Camaro will find good homes.

Rest in Peace Mike.

Dha0122.jpg

Portland International Raceway, year 2000.
 
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Mike Richmond

True Classic
Im sad to say my friend Mike Mittlestead has passed away this morning. In the past 12 years or so Mike has been a great friend, a terrific Fiat mentor and an all around great guy. He will be missed.

A cropped photo from the Grass Roots Motor Sports article by Chris Hartman from 20+ years ago. Mike Mittlestead on the left with his Black X in front. Eric Armstrong, me (Mike Richmond) and Mark Scholz on the right. As Mike's ability to climb in and out of Xs declined, he bought my 128 (seen on left in the back) and used it as a daily driver for several years before selling it to Bill Barker, but not before he removed any spec of rust in hidden seams, and gave it his signature look. He was a real asset to the Fiat community, a gentleman and a philosopher in the mold of Eric Hoffer. I'll miss him. May his memory be a blessing.

group2.jpg
 
Guys like Mike were a real asset to the community, He had performed years of real world R&D figuring out how to make these cars dance and sing, and he was always happy to lend input and secrets he had learned along the way. I showed up to the X1/9 scene 22 years ago a total newbie and he readily shared >his 20 years< of experience to help us succeed on the track. He celebrated our successes as fresh X1/9 racers as much as we did. He was also a silent investor in our purchase and resurrection of Bayless 15 years ago. Rest in peace Mike, and thanks for all of the support.
 

Chris Obert

autocrosser, X driver
Mike will be missed.

I met him as a participant in the OR events way back when. We used to both participate in the hill climb events when the OR event was tied to it.
Back then Mike was running wedgex. Watching that purpose built car perform led Mark Plaia and I to dream of the autocross car I still have.
Mike and I, and many others, spent many evenings and nights sitting in front of the campfire and telling tall tails.

Later when we would all go to the go cart course for the day Mike would show up with his black X. He even allowed me to drive it once or twice. It always amazed me how much time he had to play with his cars, often some of the most insane items were completely worked and polished. Not a spec of dust...

I will continue to think of him often. And I look forward to racing with him and telling more tall tails at that big autocross in the sky.
 

Brett

True Classic
I realize this is an international group and I'm posting about a local event, but...
We're going to have a gathering at Mike's place Saturday June 25th 1:00 p.m..... spread the word we are going to drink a beer in his honor. For those unable to make it, if you want to drop a line about how you knew Mike, or a funny story or comment, we can share with Mike's family and tell the tales there for those who can make it.
 

John Allen

True Classic
I just found out that Mike has passed..this is a huge loss for his friends and the X community at large.

Mike has been a great friend of mine and while I stepped away from the FIAT community years ago, we still stayed in touch. He was always a “crew member” of mine when I was down in Portland racing my vintage Formula Ford, which I was about to check in with him to see if he was going to attend in July.

I am very fortunate to have several keepsakes that were near and dear to him - the most notable is his cherished 1990 300zxTT that was his daily driver until he couldn’t climb in and out of any longer. We shared a lot of memories, parts, design ideas for the X (he convinced me to build my first MegaSquirt Plug-n-Play for his black X).

Always smiling and quick with a colorful comment.... I know I speak for many, I going to miss him a lot. Those who didn’t get to meet him in person, you missed a great one.

RIP old friend..
 

MarkF

Administrator
Staff member
Moderator
What a great loss. Mike was one of a handful that shaped my many years of Fiat activities.

I was overseas laying my Mom to rest when I saw this news in May, and I needed to find the photo below. About 20 years ago, Mike offered me the opportunity to own one of his special cars - the WedgeX. His knowledge and experience, not to mention the attention to detail, were an inspiration. Following a couple years of resurrection work, I brought the car back out to the track at Oregon '04. One of the absolute highlights of the event was asking Mike to take it out for a few spirited laps to evaluate my work. This was his expression on return.

Rest easy Mike. Thanks for everything.

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Mike Richmond

True Classic
A bunch of NW Fiat people, and other friends of Mike Mittlestead met at Mike's house today at the invitation of Mike's brother Marc. Mike famously parked his prized black X1/9 in his daylight basement. We wheeled it out for this photo, and then up toward the driveway. The car is for sale, by the way.
 

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lezesig1

expatriot
My condolences to Mikes Family. He will be missed.

Remember one time that that he let me sit passenger seat
to make a pass at Bremerton. He pushed it hard on that one.
It was only then that I realized what the X was capable of.
At checkered, I don't know who's grin was wider....Mikes
or mine (smile).
 

Rod Midkiff

True Classic
My condolences to Mikes Family. He will be missed.

Remember one time that that he let me sit passenger seat
to make a pass at Bremerton. He pushed it hard on that one.
It was only then that I realized what the X was capable of.
At checkered, I don't know who's grin was wider....Mikes
or mine (smile).
That sounds like a GREAT!! DAY!!
 

'Lil Mikey

New Member
Hello everyone – it’s been a long time since I’ve browsed the Forum or dealt with Fiat cars in general. Life got in the way and the cars were put to bed a long time ago in the back of the shop. I am digging out, and realized that some of the stuff I have should find a new home with people here on this Forum. However, much to my surprise, I learned about the passing of my longtime friend, Mike Mittelstead. He was Big Mikey and a huge influence on my world of autocrossing and hillclimbs dating way back into the early 80’s as I was a young 16-yr old learning to autocross in a Sunbeam Tiger. He was my big brother. My first car, the 1975 Fiat X1/9, became my learning tool in life, cars, and competition. I think I was the biggest contributor to Big Mikey obtaining X1/9’s as we traded seats during autocrosses in the Portland area throughout the 80’s and 90’s. He was hooked when he found the red X1/9 was faster than the Camaro. In fact, I may have been one of the last people to drive the Camaro before it was parked years ago. Mikey painted both the X1/9 and the Tiger for us and his work was top notch. I cannot possibly recall all of the events that we attended, either autocross or hillclimb, throughout the years. I recently was in Portland in January 2022 and stopped and visited with Big Mikey at his home for hours. We hadn’t seen each other for awhile, and we bench-raced our memories of long ago. When I left there that afternoon, I thought of Big Mikey as I travelled long into the night back to Nevada. However, I did not think that would be the last time I would see my longtime friend of many decades. Today, I learned of his passing, and I am crushed - I am literally at a loss for words. We raced cars for a long time, and I will miss him. But I have hundreds of memories to look back on that will light up a smile. RIP Big Mikey – I will think of you often.



‘Lil Mikey

Northern Nevada
 
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