Hanna parlayed a youthful passion for cars and high-speed racing into a series of highly successful Oregon businesses, including Hanna Auto Wash, the state's largest car wash chain. At the peak of its growth, the company had more than 50 facilities worldwide, including 31 in Portland. He also created Hanna Car Wash International, an innovative manufacturer of car wash equipment that provided products to his and other franchises around the world. He held more than 100 patents in the car wash equipment industry and was widely considered the father of the modern car wash.
In 1967, Hanna opened the first car wash in Japan and, in 1973, he opened a facility in the Soviet Union at a special exhibition attended by Premier Leonid Brezhnev. Governor Tom McCall appointed Hanna Commissioner of Mass Transportation, and he also served on the Federal Energy Commission.
Recognizing the growth and innovation of the Hanna franchises, Entrepreneur Magazine named the company the Number One Franchise in the world in 1982, ahead of McDonald's.
By 1989, Hanna Car Wash International equipment was in use in 20,000 locations in 71 countries. That same year, the company sponsored Mario Andretti's race team, which won the pole position at the Indianapolis 500. It was later a sponsor of Paul Newman's race team.
In 1990, the creditors of Hanna Car Wash International took control of the companies. However, Hanna moved on to create and operate the "Care Wash" franchise in Portland and Salem, and Dan Hanna Products, a manufacturer of car wash equipment that he designed. He also assisted in the development of the "Washman" car wash chain in Portland.
Daniel Hanna was born in Portland on October 26, 1934, the son of Margaret and Charles Hanna. His parents and his two siblings, Katherine and George, are deceased. Hanna graduated from Milwaukie High School where he developed skills in engineering, and a love of cars that would underlie his high-speed endeavors in business, auto racing and jet aviation. He began drag racing at the Portland Speedway in the early 1950s. In 1955, he married Betty Simonis, and they celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in July this year.
In 1955, his mother Margaret mortgaged the family home to finance his first car wash facility, which became the foundation of the Hanna Auto Wash chain. In 1967, he purchased his first Lear Jet, which he piloted around the country and across the Atlantic. In the early 1970s, Hanna took up auto racing again, and never lost a race in the "A" Sports Racing category. He set a single lap speed record at Portland International Raceway that stood for several years.
On June 10, 1978, Hanna's love for racing took a tragic turn. During a practice lap for the Portland Rose Cup race at PIR, his 760 horsepower McClaren race car lost a tire, struck a tree and snapped in half. Hanna was critically injured and remained in a coma for 30 days. After extensive rehabilitation, he returned to his business ventures just a year later. Exactly 10 years after the accident, Hanna set a world record in a Lear Jet by climbing from 0 to 10,000 feet in 1 minute 13 seconds.
Hanna is survived by his wife of 50 years, Betty Simonis, four sons -- Daniel Jr., Mark, Kirk and Derek -- and five grandchildren. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Wednesday, October 26, 3:00 p.m., at St. Mary's Cathedral, N.W. 18th and Davis Street. Contributions in his honor may be made at any Key Bank branch to the Daniel C. Hanna Memorial Fund.