(Pictured on the right)
People Who Have Made A Difference:
He's contributed to the success of Rod & Custom, Hot Rod, and The Rodder's Journal, and has written many books on hot rod history and tech. Pat's editorial career began here.
It was late 1973. I had just spent a year teaching the eighth grade and building an abandoned '47 Chevy pickup into a black-lacquered driver. That summer I put a small camper shell on it, and my new wife and I drove it across the United States. On the way home I told Anna, "I'm going to find a job writing … for anything." To my surprise, I discovered a new magazine called STREET RODDER. It was about a year old. I got a copy and showed Anna, "Look, coupes and roadsters—the good stuff. They're back!" I had been away at college and didn't know that this revival called street rodding had begun.
I called and naïvely asked if they had any jobs. They said, "Not really, but why not come talk to us tomorrow afternoon." When I got there, the previous editor had—quite unexpectedly—walked out that morning. So I met with Jim Clark, who was then running the magazine, while Tom McMullen was at the other end of the building making chopper motorcycle parts. Jim gave me a little quiz asking things like, "What's the difference between a '39 and '40 Ford? How about a 4-71 and 6-71?" I got them right, and told him I was a writer, so he said, "Be at work tomorrow morning."
I knew hot rods and how to run a typewriter. Jim loaned me a twin-lens camera. In the following five years I learned how to run a magazine as on-the-job training, while street rodding, its industry, and this magazine grew proportionately. That's how my career began, serendipitously, almost 40 years ago. Another day I'll tell you about the time Tom's "tame" cougars jumped me in his office. There are countless stories like that.