1981 SEMA Hall Of Fame Inductee
In the 1950s, new cars were sold with automatic transmissions. But the “slush shift” “trannies” had to be modified. Bob designed transmission kits so automatics could handle the hopped-up engines in hot rods and street-driven modified cars. The company he founded, B&M, flourishes today as a supplier of street rod gear, superchargers and shifters. Throughout the 1960s, B&M earned a reputation as the premier racing automatic transmission company. In 1961, the Hydro Stick became the only patented four-speed automatic racing transmission in history. And in 1969, B&M teamed with Andy Granatelli and Plymouth on a program to develop the only automatic transmission for Indy/USAC car racing. B&M was one of the original 13 founding companies of SEMA, and Bob was the chairman of what was then called the Technical Committee, which developed minimum specs for everything from fire suits to dragster chassis. He was PWA Person of the Year in 1996, and B&M was named the PWA Manufacturer of the Year in 1977, 1978 and again in 1993. Bob served on the SEMA Board of Directors and was the first SEMA Person of the Year in 1969.