NEW YORK — Dan Gilbert and his Bronco are in good health and are making a comeback, according to his wife of more than 50 years.
Gilbert, who was president of the Detroit Lions when the car was built in the early 1960s, passed away Saturday in the Bronx after a long battle with cancer.
The former owner of the famed automobile company, known for the legendary “Dodgers” logo, had lived alone in the basement of his house for decades and had been a fixture of the neighborhood for decades.
Gilberts widow, Diane, was at the family home in the midtown neighborhood of West Englewood, where he had a regular seat at the table and where he often visited family members and attended basketball games.
Diane Gilbert, whose father was a longtime employee of the company and who worked at the Detroit Pistons, told the Detroit Free Press that she had no knowledge of the death until a neighbor called Friday morning.
The Detroit Free Times reported that Diane Gilbert had been notified of the news on Friday afternoon and that she received a phone call from her husband.
She said she was stunned.
“I’m very shocked,” she said.
“It’s the worst.
I’m so sad for Dan, who had such a positive influence on my life and my husband.”
The last time Gilbert’s Bronco, dubbed the “Dodo,” was on the road was in the 1990s when he and his wife and three children drove around the city.
They bought the car and raced it on several occasions, including a stint at the 1976 Olympics.
Gilson died at age 83, according the Associated Press.
He had been battling an illness, said his son, Phil Gilbert, who added that he was a little worried about Dan.
“I just don’t know,” Phil Gilbert said.
Dan Gilbert’s son Phil Gilbert in the late 1960s.
Dan and Diane Gilbert’s last day together was at their home in West Englwood, N.Y.
Gilner owned and operated the Bronco for more than half a century, until his death in 1993.
The car was originally called the “Borrello” and was produced by a company called Bronco Motors.
Dan’s Broncos were sold in Detroit in 1972 and 1973 and in 1962 were rebuilt by Bronco and a team of friends.
Dan sold the company to the American Motors Corp. in 1982.
Dan died in a plane crash in 1985.
Dan was married to Diane Gilbert for 49 years and they had five children.