Bob Bondurant, the one-time Hollywood stuntman turned Car Racer, who mentored actor James Garner, kitted George C. Scott and Sean Connery in cars and mechanics, and lectured hundreds of thousands on racing, died May 16 in Los Angeles. He was 88.
Mr. Bondurant started driving a race car at age 14, idolizing his late father, Howard, who raced on television. The Bondurants built their own car and attended races, even moving to New Jersey, where they sat in seats with a driver’s winking eye on the track. They bought a number of other cars, bought used parts and taught, taught, taught — until they divorced when Mr. Bondurant was in his mid-twenties. He moved to Los Angeles and started driving track excursions, and he got acting roles, too.
Nudged by another Hollywood veteran, Hans Mittermeier, Mr. Bondurant decided to run the Porsche 24 Hours of Le Mans and almost didn’t make it, breaking his back in several places as he slammed into the seawall. He then helped Mr. Mittermeier in the 1974 Porsche Targa 305, becoming the oldest driver to compete in the event. He went on to teach at the George Herrick School of Motor Racing at the Lancaster School of Motorsport in New York, and win the National Professional Driving School Association championship several times.
His other auto instruction included filming stills and spots for auto magazines.