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Famed author Clive Cussler dies: Author of Dirk Pitt series was 88

Famed author Clive Cussler dies: Author of Dirk Pitt series was 88
Clive Cussler, author of the Dirk Pitt novels, died. Pic credit: HoustonPBS/YouTube

Fans of mystery novels lost a true icon as the family of Clive Cussler announced that the author died at the age of 88 on Feb. 24.

Cussler was the man who created the world-famous Dirk Pitt, a globe-trotting adventurer known almost as much for his classic car collection as his crime-solving exploits.

Clive Cussler lived his dream

There are many amazing things about Clive Cussler, but one of the most interesting is the classic car collection of his hero, Dirk Pitt.

Pitt would showcase a different classic car in every novel of the series.

The twist is that, by showcasing the automobiles in the novel, Cussler was able to purchase that model and use it as a tax deduction for “research purposes.”

It was a brilliant way for Cussler to do two things he loved at the same time — writing exciting detective novels and building his own classic car collection.

The Cussler Museum has over 100 automobiles in its halls, the collection started by Clive Cussler. These cars range in age, from 1906 to 1965.

“After the Dirk Pitt books became bestsellers, I could afford to buy the more exotic examples of classic autos,” Cussler said. “As more cars were added I had to buy a warehouse. One side holds the classics while the other displays fifties convertibles… Someday they’ll be looked upon as mechanical masterworks of art and receive the admiration that is given to the Van Goghs and Rembrandts.”

Clive Cussler wrote more than 80 books over his career, with over 20 of them hitting the New York Times Bestseller List.

Clive Cussler his novels

Dirk Pitt was Clive Cussler’s greatest creation.

The two of them went on 25 adventures together. While Pitt was known for his classic cars, his main claim to fame was treasure hunting, and some of it included deep sea diving as well.

This was another Cussler love, as he founded and served as the chairperson of the National Underwater and Marine Agency, where he helped discover more than 60 shipwreck sites.

Dirk Pitt came to the big screen in 2005 with Matthew McConaughey starring as the adventurer in Sahara.

On top of Dirk Pitt novels, Cussler also wrote 17 novels in the NUMA Files series, which was part of the Dirk Pitt universe, but with a new lead character named Kurt Austin working under Pitt, who was the head of NUMA.

There were 14 novels in the Oregon Files series, which also spun out of the Dirk Pitt world and focused on the crew of a ship called Oregon that helped the CIA and other agencies battle terrorism.

He also had 11 books in the historical mystery series, the Isaac Bell Adventures, and 12 books in the treasure hunting series, the Fargo Adventures.

Shawn S. Lealos has been a freelance writer for 25 years, starting with magazines and newspapers before moving to the internet. He has been published... read more

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