bob larivee sr

bob larivee sr

         It all started for me when I discovered Hot Rod, Rod & Custom and Car Craft. The automobiles and articles mostly from the west coast described a car hobby that was mind boggling to a kid growing up in Southern Ontario. Still in public school funds were limited and our parents discouraged spending your allowance on silly car magazines. So, to get our car fix we would make frequent visits to Henderson’s Book Store in downtown Oshawa. They had the most amazing magazine news stand. We would browse the latest issues until we were escorted out. If funds were available you always contacted your buddies before purchase to make sure you weren’t buying a mag that somebody had already purchased. Swapping and loaning mags was a way keep up to speed. 

Bob & Gary
Gary & Bob
Gary & Bob

        I had the opportunity to attend the very first indoor Hot Rod Custom Car Show held in Toronto. Autorama 59 was hosted by the Toronto Dragsters Rod & Custom Club held at the Fort York Armory. Entering the Armory exhibit hall was like turning the pages of Rod & Custom magazine; primed hot rods, chopped customs, Mercury flatheads, chromed reversed wheels, front engine Dragsters, angel hair, and car club jackets. Attending that show was a turning point for me, I knew at that very moment that cars in some way would pave my way of life.  

Bob, Gary & Bruce Robertson - SpeedSport Toronto 1986
Bob, Gary & Bruce Robertson - SpeedSport Toronto 1986

           Shortly after that I came to meet Mr. Bob Larivee Sr. In 1961, the Kontinentals Rod & Custom Club of Oshawa (of which I was a member) decided to enter a club display in Autosport ‘61 being held at the ShowMart building in Montreal. The Show was hosted by the Piston Poppers from Quebec. We had such a great time at Autosport that we decided to go back in 1962.At the second Autosport I was introduce to Bob Larivee Sr. Little did I know at that time how much of an impact that meeting him would have with my involvement in the automobile industry. He became my mentor and a very close friend and almost 60 years later that friendship still exists today. There is so much to tell about Bob that it would be impossible to describe our 60-year journey in a single article. So, I will start off by providing a brief history of Bob Sr. Bob was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan. He started out as a sign painter in his dad’s shop hand lettering cars, trucks etc. His involvement with car shows started when he was a member of the Motor-City Modified Auto Club in 1953 when they participated in the first Detroit Autorama. In 1959 he and his brother, Marvin Jr., started a company called Promotion’s Inc and started to produce indoor car shows. Their first successful show was held in Toronto in 1960. The shows quickly expanded to 15 and eventually producing 100 shows annually. In 1963 he formed the International Show Car Association which is still in existence today. He is the author of a number of books including: Showtime and Show Car Dreams. Has a number of industry awards two of which he feels incredibly honored to receive: Hot Rod Magazine 1 of 50 people to make a difference in the Automotive Industry as well as being inducted into the Sema Hall of Fame in 2012.I am a firm believer that Bob set the standard for indoor car shows as we know them today.  

Original Best Club Display Award - Montreal 1961

I would love to hear your Bob Larivee experiences. Please comment below or email me at sled1949@rogers.com

                                                                                                                        For now,   

                                                                                                                                                                        Gary Challice                                                         

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