Over the years I’ve given informal talks to clubs and schools that I enjoyed tremendously but in the last few years this activity has evolved and increased in depth to a more professional level. This has happened for two reasons: First, Gayle has been going thru all of our BRE materials; organizing and archiving them. This collection has provided us a wealth of visual material that wasn’t readily available to me before. Second, Gayle is a presentation master. During one period of her time at Microsoft, she was in charge of keynote presentations for Microsoft executives and she’s applied these skills to my talks which has improved them considerably. For BRE, and our clients, she’s been able to scan our archive images and create professional presentations that have allowed me to convey some really interesting pieces of history of which few have been aware. Some of my more recent presentations have included:
The History of BRE Datsuns and the Rise of Japanese Racing in America
Few people know that the history of Japanese racing in America started with a small support race for the Riverside Grand Prix in 1968 called the Mission Bell 100. Driving a little known car called a Hino Contessa, I happened to win that race, in front of some important press from around the world (who were there for the Grand Prix). As a result I became an immediate hero in Japan with headlines reading: “Brock Wins Riverside GP in Hino”. I hadn’t won the GP, of course, but having the little Hino win in front of some 85,000 fans became a really important event in Japan. My world changed at that point and America’s auto industry was about to change as well. I share that history in this presentation with photos that capture the progression from underdog to winner in the 2.5 Trans Am series of ’71-’72 with John Morton winning both Championships in the BRE Datsun 510s.
The History of My Design Experience from Art Center, to GM, to Shelby American to BRE
In this presentation I share how I, a naive kid of 18, got into the world of automotive design; what it was like to work with the best in the business, Harley Earle and Bill Mitchell and their secret projects. I share how my knowledge of aerodynamic design originated from an obscure foreign treatise written in the late ’30s I found in the library at GM and how, even though my superiors weren’t interested in the ideas I learned there, I used them later when I designed the body for the World Championship Cobra Daytona Coupes at Shelby’s. Actually there were several cars I designed at Shelby American and each has one of those classic, crazy car stories behind it which I love to tell. Later, when I started BRE in 1965 the stories behind the cars I designed there got even wilder. I’ve been told by many attendees this is their favorite presentation.
The Path of Least Resistance: Automotive Aerodynamics from1900-1939
As an instructor at Art Center College of Design, my old Alma Mater, I taught the History of Automotive Design, including the importance of aerodynamics. In this presentation I share where it all started and the amazing things man has been experimenting with for over a century. Each era and every country has had its own geniuses, some were never recognized while others who had more talent for PR than real knowledge went on to become icons. It’s fun to learn the difference!
In Search of the Land Speed Record
Past history is great but I also love what’s going on in recent years. In 1999 I spent six weeks up in Nevada on the mysterious Black Rock Desert documenting the last two great land speed record attempts. I was part of Craig Breedlove’s crew but was fortunate enough to be there to see all the players, including the British who did successfully break the record, exceeding the speed of sound! The images of the record attempt are stunningly beautiful and the stories of heart and technology behind the attempts are some of my favorites.
There are dozens of other subjects that decades of motor racing experience have given me. If you have a favorite topic that might be of interest to your club or organization, please call us at 702-558-3374 or send e-mail inquiries here regarding preferred topics and letting us know the audience so we can respond with rates and availability. We’d be glad to discuss the possibilities of joining you for an evening of fun conversation.