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Denise McCluggage

Sadly, we lost this automotive icon on May 6, 2015. I am a better person for having met Denise McCluggage and learning more about her amazing life here, on Cars Yeah. She had it all:  Speed, eloquence, and grace. Keep the revs up Denise… indeed.

– Mark Greene

Denise McCluggage is a legend in the automotive world. She is a race car driver, a journalist, an author, a photographer, and a honorary judge at Pebble Beach, Amelia Island and the Santa Fe Concorso. She embarked upon a racing career in the late 50s and took part in many international sports car races. Her co-competitors include: Juan Manuel Fangio, Sir Stirling Moss, Phil Hill and many others. She’s won at numerous races around the world and driven many outstanding race cars. Her trademark white with black polka dot helmet was a standout on tracks around the world. She’s an award winning journalist, writer and photographer. Denise holds the Ken W. Purdy Award for Excellence in Automotive Journalism and the Dean Bachelor Lifetime Achievement Award and was the first journalist to be inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame. Her adventurous spirit and zest for life are magical.


NOCO Genius Boost Jump Start  – Here.


“Forget quotations, tell me what you know.”

“The past is a foreign country. They do things differently there.”   – Hartley


If there was a wall in front of Denise, she decided the best thing to do was to go around it.


Imagine getting a call to race for the Porsche Factory at Le Mans, only to be told you can’t because women were not allowed. Listen to find out how despite this kind of challenge, Denise had many ah ha moments in her racing and journalistic career.




When turning left, pull out in to the intersection so you can make the turn.


My Brooks Too Broad for Leaping – Denise McCluggage

Jimmy and Me – Lew Bracker

All But My Life – Ken Purdy

Side Glances – Peter Egan

Can Am – Peter Lyons


Keep the revs up!


Denise McCluggage –


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  1. What a lady!
    What a loss. I never failed to read her columns.
    During one of the Mexican Gran Prix events (1964), when Mark Dull (RIP), Pat McGarity and I (and, our wives!) had paddock passes given us by Jack Brabham, Denise McCluggage and a friend drove up in a new supercharged Studebaker Avanti.
    Flaunting our “elevated” positions in Mexico with American Motors/Jeep (me) and Ford (Pat & Mark), we talked her out of the keys and took turns driving the wheels off of it playing “Stoplight Challenge” outside of the track in downtown Mexico City traffic.
    Upon returning the car, (much later than promised and almost out of gas), she was totally pissed, so we really didn’t get to socialize much.
    Pat and I can say, however, we had the privilege of meeting her.

    Tex Guthrie

  2. What an amazing woman! She easily could have given up after being told “No” so many times, from interviewing drivers behind chain-link fences, to being the first woman allowed in the press box and racing with the boys. An inspiration to all…bold, bright and hard working. Wonderful interview Mark, wish I could have met her. Denise will be missed.

    • My impression of Denise when I met her and all the follow up phone calls leading up to our talk on Cars Yeah was that she was an amazingly bright, articulate, smart, and insightful woman. She inspired many and I’m better for having met her.

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