The history of Fast Eddie
Established in 2020 but born in 1949, Fast Eddie is not just a brand but a man who ignored limitations, bullies and BS and chose to go and live ‘fast’. Born with debilitating Polio that crippled his left leg, required 13 surgeries and bound him to an iron brace, Ed still wanted to go ’fast’ and was immediately drawn to anything with an engine that would let him do so and his story began. Afterall, and according to Eddie, ‘yah, my left leg didn’t work so well but the gas pedal is on the right’.
While the nickname may have started in childhood as a mean-spirited oxymoronic nickname from a different time – he didn’t care – and it only made him want to go faster. Despite his circumstances he chose combustion over compassion and has earned his nickname, his legacy and his place in the Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame….And If you are a Canadian born in the last 60 years there is a good chance that Fast Eddie Hakonson has directly or indirectly touched your life.
Depending on your age, you may have lost to him in a street race in the 60’s, stayed warm in some version of the modern day snowmobile suit that he helped pioneer in the 70’s, bought car parts that almost nobody else sold from him in the 80’s, wore one of the millions of pieces of licensed ’Big 3’ automotive apparel he started designing and manufacturing in the 90’s and continues to make today, or seen his EHR (Ed Hakonson Racing)Team 3 Orange’s 500 HP V8 Camaro push through 160mph on the Pinty’s NASCAR Circuit anytime since 2001 – take your pick.
3 month old Edward Hakonson contracts the Polio virus in 1949, crippling his left leg. The disability precedes a decade of fiery behaviour for the boy, who confronts physical challenges, emotional upheaval and bullying.
Young Edward endures 13 surgeries in as many years. But a pivotal confrontation with a schoolyard bully in 1959 leaves Ed victorious… and determined to never back down again.
Life takes an inspiring turn when Ed is named Easter Seals “Timmy,” tasking him to serve as boy ambassador for the charity that helps other “crippled kids.” Still… feisty Edward develops a love of cars and becomes a self-described “street racing punk” until a friendship with legendary wrestler “Whipper” Billy Watson infuses him with a sense of hope and responsibility, “knocking the chip” off his shoulder.
Ed is featured on ABC’s Wide World of Sports, racing his snowmobile across grass and open water in the summer of 1976. Now an established racer of cars and snowmobiles, Edward is begrudgingly bestowed the nickname “FAST EDDIE” by competitors who (some mocking, some praising) acknowledge the determination and victories of “the speedster with one good leg.”
Ed continues exploring his passion for design and innovation, becoming one of the pioneers of the modern-day snowmobile suit. He founds CHOKO MOTORSPORTS AND APPAREL, which develops into a multi-million dollar business that designs, creates and sells automotive apparel to international firms like GM, Snap-On Tools, and Kubota.
Ed sponsors NASCAR race teams in the Canadian circuit, later to become CASCAR. By the end of the decade, he owns his own race team. His hustle and work ethic, grows the apparel business exponentially.
Dale Earnhardt Sr., and Fast Eddie develop close business and personal relationships, as Ed becomes the exclusive Canadian distributor of the legendary racer’s apparel and accessories. Earnhardt’s premature death on the track hits hard. Meanwhile, successful Canadian racer Jason Hathaway becomes Ed’s son-in-law and drives Ed’s “Team 3 Orange” car.
Honour comes to Ed, as he’s named to the Canadian Motorsports Hall of Fame. Ed’s journey takes him from life as “the crippled kid” to “Fast Eddie” and now, successful designer, inventor, entrepreneur and family man. Edward Hakonson is proud of his 4 children, 8 grandchildren, NASCAR race teams, and of course, his working shop is filled with both show-quality cars and those waiting to become ones.
-2020 and beyond
Ed celebrates his 60th anniversary of being the Easter Seals “Timmy” with a renewed commitment to the charity.
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