Car: 1965 Ford Mustang & 1971 Nova
MasterCraft has a long history, starting back in 1970, and Pierce has been a part of it since 1985, although he didn’t actually become the owner until late in 1999. Before then Pierce’s company, which did aerospace fabrication, manufacturing and welding, had been making the frames for the MasterCraft seats. Peri Combe (nee Miller) had been running MasterCraft basically single-handedly since the death of her husband, Buzz, and with two small children to rear, was finding it difficult. Pierce, already familiar with the company and its products, was happy to become the new owner. At that time he was also manufacturing high-end golf clubs with titanium heads, but he sold that business about three years ago. MasterCraft seats are the sole focus of his attention these days.
When he was considering the purchase of the company, he told us, one of the things he liked about MasterCraft was its history. He knew that Jack Miller had started with an upholstery shop in 1970, and at some point, had replaced the cover on a helicopter seat. He was intrigued by the built-in suspension in the seat and decided that off-road racers needed such a seat also. And thus, the MasterCraft racing seat was born. In addition to his business, Miller also used to run a pit group at some races, and he was the one who introduced the “fuel blanket”, a rectangle of impermeable material that was to be held over the fuel filler during the process of dumping fuel. He created the blanket because quite a few racers had been accidentally doused with fuel when the tank filled sooner than expected and fuel gushed MasterCraft: out and into the cab. In those days many, if not most, of the racecars had fuel tanks in their side pods and fillers sitting right next to the driver or passenger.