Wodonga shock absorber designer Jamie Drummond, 64, died when his historic car was crushed by a four-wheel drive on Saturday.
He was at the wheel of his FJ Holden with a mechanical engineer, 77, from central Victoria and had stopped to turn right into Wangaratta airport when a Nissan Navara hit them from behind.
Mr Drummond's son Trevor watched as the tragedy, which claimed both men's lives, unfolded at 9.50am.
"I saw the whole thing happen, I was only 20 metres away," he said.
"I was first on the scene and being a firefighter it's all kicked in and I tried to revive him and see if I could do CPR but there was no pulse or anything."
Jamie Drummond had driven to the airport from Wodonga that morning in the FJ Holden with Trevor travelling separately.
He met the mechanic in order to do testing on the car to ensure it complied with Australian standards as part of the licensing process.
"He just went for a drive on the highway (Greta Road) to cool his car, it was the wrong place, wrong time unfortunately," Trevor said.
Jamie Drummond formed Drummond Motor Sport in 1985 and he focussed on designing and making shock absorbers for rally cars that competed at the top level around the world.
He announced his retirement last November, telling The Border Mail that he "had enough" and it was time for he and his wife Yvonne, who worked with him, "to live our lives a bit".
Mr Drummond nominated building hot rods and FJ Holdens as a retirement plan, with the car he died in bought from a Western Australian seller last year.
Trevor Drummond, who also worked with his father, said it was sad his dad did not have the opportunity to enjoy a long retirement.
"He was just a down to earth honest bloke, who touched a lot of people's lives in the motorsport industry," he said.
Among those who lauded Mr Drummond, in response to his death being announced on the Drummond Motor Sport Facebook page, was rallying ace Leigh Hynes.
"Jamie, Yvonne and Trev put their faith in me to sell and service their products and helped me to three WA rally championships, I will be forever grateful," he wrote.
"RIP Jamie Drummond."
Lisa Dunkerton, wife of rallying great Ross Dunkerton, stated Mr Drummond was one of the very few people that "my husband holds in the highest esteem".
He was also described as a "true legend of motorsport".
Drummond Motor Sport once exported to 30 countries from its Wodonga factory.
The shock absorbers were in rally winning cars in events across Africa, Asia, Europe and North America.
Police are continuing to investigate the circumstances of the crash.
The woman driver and child of the Victorian-registered Nissan Navara were taken to hospital for treatment to minor injuries.
Police officers from the major collision unit were called to the Laceby crash scene to examine the site and vehicles, with both the Nissan and Holden removed by tow truck after sunset.
As well as his wife and son, Mr Drummond is survived by daughters Tracy and Emma and eight grandchildren.
A funeral is not expect to be held for some weeks with coronavirus restrictions affecting how and where it will be staged.