This Inductee started going to the race track with his Father in the mid-fifties to early sixties. In 1966 he joined VITRA and served as a crew member on a 1955 Ford six cylinder, a stock car owned and driven by Al Hitchcox. In 1967 he decided to build his own car, a 1949 Ford powered by a 1951 Mercury flat head. His goal was to learn to become a competitive driver. that first year saw Bob Collins become one of the fastest B-Main cars. In 1968 he found himself qualifying in the middle of the thirty-five car field A-Main class. This was more competitive than ever and provided some exciting races. Most of the A-Main cars were running six cylinders. The days of the flat head were numbered but not for Bob. He vowed to run a flat head forever! Bob`s wife Kathy had a racing jacket done up with `Flat Heads Forever`on the back. She wore it proudly supporting Bob. That season saw Bob splitting the season between the A-Main class, starting at the front and the B-Main class starting at the rear. But Bob was getting the confidence in his driving ability. In 1969 Bob found himself qualifying in the top six and on occasions, making the A Dash. That year saw him qualifying ninth in the Billy Foster 100 in late July. On the 75th lap, Bob saw his faithful Merc flat head blow up, and after working hard to make it competitive at Western Speedway against the six cylinders. But this saw Bob building a 223 Ford six cylinder, replacing his beloved flat head. This made him even more competitive during the rest of the season, with some fast Heat wins, finishing top among the top drivers in the A-Mains, finishing third in points. Also in 1969, a lot of drivers had a tough decision to make as the Stock Car class was not the Premier class anymore. A new class called Super Stock was taking over in 1970. In the 1970 season, Bob set fast time and won his first Main event.
With his enthusiasm and desire, he wanted to be in the new Super Stock class. Bob made some allowable changes to his outdated 49 Ford and ran the Super Stock class for the rest of the season. 1971 saw Bob and brother Gary team up and build a new car for the season powered by a 312 cu. in. Mercury engine. Bob was able to keep the car mechanically reliable and fine tune his driving skills finishing fifth in points. In 1972 Bob and Gary updated the suspension components to make the car faster but the rpm’s in the motors were also getting higher and the 312 cu. in. Mercury did not like this! It did not like to run over 6600 rpm, having a lot of engine valve trouble. He finished seventh in points but did win his first Main event that year. 1973 Saw Bob bring out a very slick looking 1964 Ford Galaxie Fast Back, with a newly purchased 289 cu. in. Ford Engine with all the good stuff in it. He took it apart and rebuilt it. The season started out well with new tires. The car was top four but found the cost to stay competitive was high. Third in points with two races left and having to put new tires on for every race, took its toll. He decided not to buy eight more tires and parked the car and announced it was for sale. The season was good with a couple of A-Dashes, ten fast Heat wins, and finished sixth in points. 1974 saw Bob change from driving to Crew Chief and engine builder on a new Open Super Stock Class. This car was owned and driven by Terry Forsyth. With a few early adjustments, Bob’s motors proved to be highly competitive. Terry, with Bob’s help, would go on to win the Blitz-Wenhard series and finish second in the IDC overall points. Sadly the car was totalled in a hard crash on the back stretch at Western Speedway near the end of the season. Bob and Terry would part ways at the end of the season. Bob would win Mechanic Of The Year at VITRA Banquet for his efforts. The end of this year would see Bob back in the seat of a part time car for Mark Meeres in his new 59 T-Bird.
Well the part time thing didn’t happen. It turned out to be a very fast race car which saw a very consistent top four car, winning three Main events and fourth in points at the end of the year. 1976 saw Mark refine the 59 T-Bird and Bob would win six Main events and finish second in points. 1977 would see the beginning of the Island Super Stock Series, three race tracks, and sixteen races. Bob, Mark, and crew built a brand new 1968 Cougar for the series (the first Pony Car to run at Western Speedway!) With Bob’s consistent top threes and a six A-Main wins, Bob finally won a Super Stock Championship. This would be Bob’s last time in the seat of a race car. Instead he directed his 100% attention to building High Performance engines for other racers. In 1975 Bob decided to become self-employed. He would open High Performance Engine and build performance Street and Oval Track motors. Over the years, Bob built motors for thirty oval track drivers. Those drivers won over 110 Features and 15 Series Championships. Young Bill Hitchcox was one of them taking Bob to become maybe the first Canadian engine builder to win a Nascar Championship. Early in 1996, Bob slowly moved away from race car motors to just High performance street motors. In 2009 Bob retired from engine building, while some have seen him at the track helping. Bob will tell you he is truly proud of his racing accomplishments and his Canadian Built Motor.
The Hall of Fame Committee is very pleased to induct Bob Collins into the Victoria Auto Racing Hall Of Fame.