21 December 2011

Origins Of The Effect: Mike Collins

Whats the story behind your logo? Who made it?

The answer is twofold; the second question will be answered on Friday (if you like old-school airbrushing tune in), but for today we'll concentrate on the man in the logo; the man being the legendary Mike Collins, Street Machine staff writer who had the best jive-speak 70's writing style imaginable. As a kid, I literally had to read his stuff twice before I even began to understand it. The description of him by Ian Wearing in the first issue of Street Machine magazine in 1979 paints a picture:
Mike has been into the modified car scene more years than he'id care to admit, and has had more than a passing relationship with drag racing. he was one-time PR man for Santa Pod raceway and was once a regular contributor for Drag Racing and Hot Rod magazines. Mention music, and Mike breaks into uncontrollable paroxysms of movement and he'll wax lyrical about Rock & Roll, P-Funk, and other disgusting sounding types of music. he's even made a tape called Soul Tracking, which is a montage of drag racing sounds, a few words from Big Daddy Don Garlits and music. If you get the chance to meet Mike, you'll never look at life quite the same way again.
But Collin's career starts way before his tenure on Street Machine. As the quote above states, he has been involved in the British drag racing scene sine the 1960s as a writer, phtographer, commentator, Santa Pod PR man and racer. He was a freelance contributor to Hot Car, Hot Rod and Drag racing Monthly in the 70's as well.

Below: Collins (second from left) with 'Dyno' Des Taylor (small-block Ford powered Pinto) Paul Ireson (owner of the Rover-powered Pop in the background), Ian Tubb (Small-block Chevy powered Pontiac Firebird) and unknown others, late 1980:

The life of a motoring journo eh? Custom Car show, Alexandra Palace, 1982:

Driving Nick Butler's Wolfrace Sonic (two Rover V8s, six wheels) in 1982:

The Wolfrace Sonic - now there's a story...
It wasn't all roller skates, scantily-clad women and six-wheeled supercars though - he was in the American Autoparts  Pro-Street Chevy Chevette in '82 when it rolled...

He left in 1983 to concentrate on freelance writing again, still contributing to DRM (nowadays online); his recent article on Harlan Thompson on DRM is a must-read. He's also a long-time contributor to American Autoparts excellent Insight monthly newsletter with his Retro Ramblin's column.

Mike Collins finding nitro nirvana on the start line with the US Drag Team during the UK's first Cacklefest at Goodwood Festival of Speed, 2008:

A family man, and fellow yoga buff to boot, although I've a ways to go before I can do handstands that good:

Mike, you (along with LJK Setright and Russell Bulgin) are my journalistic role models (and spookily we share a love of P-Funk too). Mike, if you catch wind of this post feel free to contact me, I'd love to pick your brains about doing a Drag Racing History article on early British drag racing.
Respect due, and given.
- DW

Many thanks to all concerned for the photos and info.

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