Courtney “Tito” Halowell 8/24/1968 – 7/21/2011

Yesterday a good friend of mine passed away at the young age of 42. Courtney Halowell was an exceptional writer, talented photographer, knowledgeable mentor, one-of-a-kind comedian and someone that inspired me to do things in my personal life as well as for this website that I may never otherwise have done. I spent many weekends traveling with him to car shows all over the country as well as many days and nights hanging out with him when he lived just a couple streets away from me. He had a great outlook on life and how to live it with no fear, no hate, no regrets, and most of all how to have fun no matter what you’re going through. I can only hope that when I am gone I am remembered fondly by a small fraction of the people he will be.

Tito the Champion

When I first started SoCalCustoms.com, I asked him countless times for advice. He shared his years of experience with a kid who asked him all kinds of questions that most people would have been annoyed by. In fact, just last year I asked him what he thought about me starting a blog on this website and what direction I should go with it. As he always had, he gave me insight, advice, and most of all, motivation. He always knew that people in the custom automotive scene looked up to him but he never presented any ego or attitude of what can only be described as his celebrity status among all of the people that had read his numerous articles and viewed his photography in the many magazines he has worked for over the past two decades.

I cannot quite put into words what he meant to me personally. He was a special friend who attended my wedding which is an important day in anyone’s life, helped me with my photography, was with me when I filmed the Mayhem Street Trucks DVD, tricked me into putting lemon in an open wound on my leg, embarrassed me along with several other friends using a host of ridiculous nicknames he had for us, impressed me with his ability to make friends anywhere we went, and even tried to keep me safe when unexpected/dangerous things happened to us in a small Mississippi town.

Over the next few days and weeks, I am going to share some of these stories with you. I have many great things I want the SoCalCustoms.com readers to know about him. Without him, many experiences I’ve had over the last 11 years just would not exist. Along with these stories, I am a Photographer so of course I have pictures that tell their own tale. He may have been an amazing Photographer, but he was a great subject in front of the camera as well. I am sitting here looking through some of the photos of him I have already gathered and I can smile at the memories of those days even as tears roll down my cheek.

He may be gone but his impact on me, this website, and thousands of other custom automotive enthusiasts will live on for many years to come. I will miss you. Rest in Peace my Friend.

 Bryan Fross
Owner/Webmaster
SoCalCustoms.com
bryanf@socalcustoms.com

A View of Courtney through a Gator Drag Show 2004 Alligator Head Trophy