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On the Origin of Species

On the Origin of Species
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Maybe what we need here is a history bit on SRM, which was a product early on of TRM, which was a spinoff of AEE. In reverse order, AEE was Automotive Electric Engineering, a car wiring service that Tom McMullen started several years after his move to southern California from the East Coast. At that time, Tom wired my XR6 concept roadster project. Then came an accident on his first chopper motorcycle, which led to his making custom bike products in his home garage, with help from Jim Clark, which led to a company making motorcycle accessories. Still AEE but with the business end being ably handled by his second wife Rose the company was further defined as TRM, for Tom and Rose Mcmullen.

Maybe what we need here is a history bit on SRM, which was a product early on of TRM, which was a spinoff of AEE. In reverse order, AEE was Automotive Electric Engineering, a car wiring service that Tom McMullen started several years after his move to southern California from the East Coast. At that time, Tom wired my XR6 concept roadster project. Then came an accident on his first chopper motorcycle, which led to his making custom bike products in his home garage, with help from Jim Clark, which led to a company making motorcycle accessories. Still AEE but with the business end being ably handled by his second wife Rose the company was further defined as TRM, for Tom and Rose Mcmullen.

I had the cadre for a car mag as several of the bike hands were hot rodders, which included Brian Brennan. At first, we couldn’t get any support from the hot rodding fraternity, as there was no street rod industry, and only McLoud clutches could envision what we were after. All of this reticence on the part of potential advertisers despite modest success for street rodding at Rod & Custom magazine.

I’ve been asked why I chose the name of Street Rodder, rather than a more simple Street Rod. Because that name had been taken, by a sideline player who had been present at a meeting between Tom Medley and me a couple years earlier as we were getting the first Street Rod Nationals underway in Peoria, Illinois. That person had moved out to the Portland, Oregon area and in the interim found a money backer for a new magazine he had “thought of”. Coincidentally, it had the name Medley and I had bandied about in that Peoria motel room. Cheeky, perhaps, but sometime the bear eats you!

But, if you are gonna dance with the wizard, you gotta pay the band, and to pay the printer we would need to drop one of our expanding motorcycle titles, which turned out to be Hot Bike. I brought Hot Bike on board as a way of getting through to Harley Davidson for potential advertising. The format was to be simple, just copy everything from Hot Rod only apply it to motorcycles, specifically Harleys. The title was good, the readership grew quickly, but HD never budged from its head in the sand muddle. So, Hot Bike went the way and SRM appeared.

So, Street Rodder hung in there through ups and downs until the industry of street rodding finally materialized. In a big, big way. Today, this very magazine is considered a cornerstone in a multi-zillion dollar industry. At the helm, that very same Brian Brennan I hired off the streets of Disneyland all those years ago. Mostly his hair is gone, as is mine, and he whines at having to do health laps on his crotch car, but his habit of quaffing rootbeer and cookies has never abated. We been through a bunch, old Brave and me and SRM.