I heard the news last week about the sudden passing of Art Spinella, head of CNW Marketing Research, from congestive heart failure at the age of 68.

Art-SpinellaSpinella had a unique view of the industry, and his monthly reports about vehicle buyer preferences and market supply/demand dynamics in new and used vehicles were must-reads for me.

To the best of my knowledge, Spinella’s business and influence didn’t result from a lot of promotion. Instead, it grew and sustained on the strength of his innate curiosity about the car business and the insights he published every month. Not surprisingly, these were also the reasons automotive journalists kept Spinella as an A-list source for their stories.

I didn’t know Art all that well. But through our conversations over the years I came to respect him as a person—a super-smart guy devoted to his family, a loyal fan of the Chicago Cubs (no matter their win/loss record), the author of a series of detective novels and an avid Harley-Davidson rider.

I also gained a deep appreciation for Art’s encyclopedic knowledge of our industry and its history, his early-on understanding of the ways technology would transform the automotive industry and his ever-present journalist’s desire to sniff out stories others might easily overlook.

Rest in peace, Art. You will be missed.