Thursday, Aug. 15 at 3:30 | Cover Story: How the hot rod magazines spread the sport across the country
Moderator Ken Gross, former Director of the Petersen Automotive Museum, is an award-winning journalist, having written 24 books and countless articles celebrating the automobile in over 40 publications. He also collaborates with Jay Leno on his column for AutoWeek. A Pebble Beach Chief Judge for 30 years, he is a member of the Pebble Beach Concours Selection Committee.
Bruce Meyer is the founding chairman of the Petersen Automotive Museum Foundation. He is a longtime auto collector and member of three automotive halls of fame. He is also a Beverly Hills real estate investor and president of Meyer Pacific. He serves on the board of the Henry Ford Museum and St. John’s Health Center Foundation and is a founding board member of the CHP 11-99 Foundation, a nonprofit that provides assistance to California Highway Patrol employees and their families. Bruce is a member of the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance Advisory Board and was instrumental in having the Hot Rod class added to the event. He owns such treasures as a 1932 Ford Doane Spencer roadster and a Bonneville Salt Flats belly tanker. In 2012, at age 71, he earned membership in the Bonneville 200 MPH Club when the 1932 roadster he was piloting reached 205 mph.
More than a historian, Greg Sharp is an avid participant in the hot rod and motorsports hobbies. He joined the famed LA Roadsters Club with a 1929 roadster pickup he owned for over 30 years. Through the club he got the opportunity to drive on Bonneville salt; meeting and becoming friends with many of the legends of the land speed fraternity. He has served as an International Show Car Association official and Judging Supervisor for over 10 years. In the early 1970s Greg began to use his storehouse of knowledge to write hundreds of magazine articles ranging from the history of “America’s Most Beautiful Roadster” to pieces on historic Indy cars plus personality profiles from AJ Foyt to George Barris. He has an extensive collection of historic hot rod and custom car photographs, which have been invaluable to the restoration of numerous historical hot rods and race cars. After retiring from his career in the Los Angeles Police Department, Greg was named director National Hot Rod Association Historical Services where he had a key role in the formation of the Wally Parks/NHRA Motorsports Museum. He has served as curator since its opening in 1998. Greg is a member of the Oakland Grand National Roadster Show Hall of Fame and was named The Dry Lakes Racing Hall of Fame Historian of the Year.
Jim Miller’s grandfather was a Duesenberg driver and mechanic who set over 40 speed records at Muroc Dry Lake in the 1930s. Jim's father, Eddie Miller, was a founding member of the Southern California Timing Association Centuries Club, and, after the war, built a beautiful and now-famous "lakester". Jim's mechanical and automotive design abilities developed quickly and, throughout his early career. Among other achievements, a lap at 212.842 gained him entry into the prestigious El Mirage 200 MPH Club. At age 18, he designed and drafted a complete Formula 3 racer - structure, skin, suspension, brakes and drivetrain. After graduating high school, Jim worked as an art director at Hughes Aircraft and then moved on to Scientific Data Systems, which would later become the Xerox Corporation. Jim is currently Historian and Archivist for the American Hot Rod Foundation.
Alex opened the first So-Cal Speed Shop in Burbank in 1946. So-Cal cars were the first hot rods to go 160, 170, 180 and 190 mph. He teamed up with legendary auto enthusiast and author Dean Batchelor to develop a purpose-built streamliner. Powered by an Edelbrock-equipped Mercury V8, the liner ran 210 mph in 1950.
Alex later embarked upon another endeavor: documenting auto racing events. He filmed everything from Bonneville to NASCAR, including Pikes Peak, Indy and the 24 Hours of Sebring. Bending to increasing pressure from larger shops, Alex closed the So-Cal Speed Shop in 1961.
He then accepted a position as editor of Petersen Publishing’s Car Craft magazine in 1963. He stayed with Petersen 12½ years transferring to Hot Rod Industry News, where he later became publisher. While there, he also served as director of the annual Petersen Trade Show, which eventually became the SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association) Show—now the tenth largest trade show in the U.S. Alex was inducted into the SEMA Hall of Fame in 1982. He was also inducted into the Dry Lakes Hall of Fame and has been honored with lifetime memberships in the SCTA and, his old car club, the Sidewinders.
In 1997 he was selected as one of the Top 100 Most Influential People in the high-performance industry and was inducted into the Hot Rod Magazine Hall of Fame. Meanwhile, he entered in to an agreement with Pete Chapouris to use the So-Cal name. The new SO-CAL Speed Shop was announced the same year. Alex has also served on the Board of the Wally Parks’ NHRA Motorsports Museum.