|Rich DeBene presenting the HRD Hall of Fame Award to Bob Larson.
Bob Larson passed away on April 23, 2012.
The Hot Rods of Dearborn and everyone that knew him will certainly miss this highly original man.
Bob did it his way.
The Hot Rods of Dearborn Hall of Fame recognizes the outstanding craftsmanship and ingenuity of Bob Larson to the unique American sport of hot rodding. Mr. Larson has distinguished himself as a true pioneer driven by the passion to create inspirational hand-built hot rods. The Hot Rods of Dearborn is proud to have made Mr. Larson the first recipient of The Hot Rods of Dearborn Hall of Fame.
We had a wonderful time interviewing Bob when we presented him with the award on October 5, 2006. He was full of passion and funny stories about his roadster. We cant say enough about Bob, hes kind of like our home town hot rod hero!
Bob Larsons creation and personality is exactly what this website is all about. The meticulous craftsmanship and clever engineering is simply stunning. Heres a car that has a long history of evolution and changes, yet it is practically unknown. As you see from the early photos with its inverted front suspension, Larson was obsessed with ideas and ways to achieve the look and feel of his vision for this roadster. As it evolved, it is obvious just about everything changed, yet it still possessed a certain look. The very bottom photo is my favorite incarnation.
The Bob Larson Roadster is currenly owned by Dick DeBene and can be seen on the road around the Dearborn area...look for it.
Bob was a talented tubing fabricator and was on Ford's Indy racing team in the 1960s, he made the Indy car intakes and exhaust systems, he also made the first NASCAR exhaust that all came out of the right side of the car. The design was copied the next year and all of the NASCAR teams used it and it's still being used today! He was most famous for his header work, and with his "Pines" benders he could make anything!
Bob also invented the bolt on turbo kit for a stock Corvette in the mid 1970s and had a "test car" and a full custom twin turbo Corvette that I am fortunate enough to own.
Bob's first hand made hot rod (1952) is still on the road and at the time it was the wildest rod in Michigan, it had brass headers that were flame throwers and "Lambo" type doors that flipped up and out to clear the headers, the car is knee high!
Bob also invented the "Ring" two piece exhaust manifolds for motor homes to stop the cracking problem. I will be working with his widow Doris later this year to sell the rest of the equipment.
Three great car guys have left us in the last two weeks, EJ, Dave Bell and now Bob. Pause for a minute and think of what they did in there lives, I know I will think of them all. Especially when I hear the low exhaust notes that Bob loved, the scream of a small block Chevy that EJ was famous for and when I see hot rod art that Dave did and we all loved. I feel very fortunate to have know all of them!