Bob McClurg grew up in 1950’s Southern California and was a car nut long before he became an accomplished writer and photographer. As a youngster, McClurg lived around the corner from the late Jack Hart’s, (Hart would go on to become the first Competition Director for the newly formed National Hot Rod Association), Orange, California-based shop. Bob was working as a shoe shine boy at Town Barbershop, which was also located within walking distance from home and where he could find the latest Hot Rod Magazines. Hart would often stop and answer questions posed by Bob.
Bob’s trial by fire happened in the summer of 1963 when Bob’s boss, slot car track operator and hobby shop owner Roger Clausen, took him to Lions Associated Drag Strip one fine Saturday evening, where Bob’s life was changed forever! “Garlits was there match racing Kenny Safford, Don “Snake Prudhomme” and some other top fuel team. The sights, smell, and the incredible noise became music to his ears and he was hooked.
Bob’s very first car was a 1954 De Soto four-door sedan powered by a Fire Dome Hemi V8 engine which he and fellow members from the “Eliminators Car Club of Orange”, soon modified with multi-carburetors and a “hot cam” to make it perform better, but it would have been extremely kind to have called it an actual “race car!”
In 1961, a Corvair 300 coupe with a Bill Thomas-equipped flat six for power, replaced the De Soto and while it worked well as the SCCA Seat of the Pants, or “SOP” navigational champion for 1966 with Bob at the wheel, he wanted to become more involved in drag racing, but after realizing he was never going to become a professional drag racer, he decided to try his hand as a journalist.
At age ten, Bob submitted his first newspaper article to the ORANGE DAILY NEWS and followed up by taking on the job of Editor at the Junior High School newspaper, where he was enrolled. One night in 1964, he snuck the school camera out on the starting line at Lions and managed to fire off a roll of film before being escorted back to the bleachers by the strip photographer, “Digger Ralph” Guldahl. Guldahls only advice; “Kid, you get yourself a letter of assignment from a newspaper, and I’ll let you out here!” Not long after that, Bob caught up with the Sports Editor at the Orange Daily News and made a deal to supply the paper with regular Lions Drag Strip news and results.
While playing with cars was fun for Bob, he was soon drawn into the journalistic side of the performance world where he soon earned a reputation as a well-respected drag racing photographer and technical writer.
After fifty years of automotive, entertainment and industry related experience, in the magazine publishing business as an editor, technical and feature writer and photographer, Bob can also stake his claim as a book author with thirteen of them to his credit. In addition to his own journalistic work, he has also worked as a photojournalism instructor and public relations and advertising specialist.
Past accomplishments in the editorial realm include time spent working as a photographer and editor at Petersen Publishing on such titles as HOT ROD MAGAZINE, CUSTOM PAINT & BODYWORK, KIT CAR MAGAZINE, CHEVROLET CLASSICS, CUSTOMS, HOT ROD DRAG RACING and HOT ROD MUSTANG and CAMARO PERFORMERS to name a few. Bob also served in the same capacity at McMullen/Argus Publishing Company as Editor of both MUSTANG ILLUSTRATED and FORD HIGH PERFORMANCE magazines the latter if which he founded.
A few of Bob’s other magazine accomplishments are: West Coast Editor to CARS Magazine, Freelance contributor to POPULAR HOT RODDING, CAR CRAFT, SUPER CHEVY, SUPER CHEVY CAMARO, SCM CHEVELLE, SCM NOVA, SCM CHEVROLET CLASSICS, VANS & TRUCKS, STREET VANS, RODDER & SUPER STOCK, THE SHELBY TIMES, CARS ILLUSTRATED, SCIENCE & MECHANICS, ALL CHEVY, TRUCKIN, STREET RODDER, ROD & CUSTOM, MOPAR ENTHUSIAST, MUSCLE CAR REVUE, MUSCLE CAR POWER, STREET TRUCKS, CHEVY RUMBLE, FORD BUILDER, MUSCLE MUSTANGS & FAST FORDS, SUPER ROD, FORD ENTHUSIAST, MUSCLE CAR ENTHUSIAST, CHEVROLET ENTHUSIAST, DIESEL WORLD, DRAG RACER, STREET THUNDER. He has also extended his talents to Europe, contributing to (GB) MOTORING NEWS, CUSTOM CAR, GRAN PRIX, (IT.) VIRAGE (FR.) In Japan, DAYTONA Magazine.
As a PR Director, Bob has worked for such noted companies as Lubri-Lon, Inc. and the N.T. Yowell Pro Stock Racing Team to name a few. It should also be noted that his contributions extended beyond the automotive arena. One such project of note was a Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) fund raising drive held in conjunction with KENR AM country radio personality the late Hal McClain and another being the Co-founder of the Saleen Performance Parts/Leukemia Society of America “Cruising the Queen” Charity Car Show.
Still active today and living in Hilo, Hawaii, Bob is working on a couple of new books, contributing muscle car and drag racing nostalgia pieces to the magazine editorial world, writing collector car vehicle descriptions for MECUM AUCTIONS, and most recently hosting the racer’s press conference at the 2016 British Drag Racing Association Hall of Fame program.