Born and raised in Oakland, Calif., circa 1933, Pete Biro’s first encounter with motorsports was as a teen-age sign painter, painting names and numbers on the side of race cars for midget racers Johnny Soares and Mike McGreevy. He later lettered A.J. Foyt’s NASCAR stock car the year the Texan won the Daytona 500.
Following military duty in Germany, during the Korean conflict, he bought his first car, a ’53 MG TD with a Judson Supercharger. "The Dr. that owned it before me wanted to keep up with his friend’s Jaguar," Biro said.
A TR-2 followed the MG, and Biro soon turned his hobby, photography, into a business, covering races for Road & Track magazine. When David E. Davis left R&T to start Car and Driver he asked Biro to join the contributing staff.
"David E. and I had some great trips together, most notably covering Dan Gurney’s wins at LeMans and the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa," Biro said, "Ask David E. to tell you about trying to keep up with Gurney from Spa to LeMans sometime."
Other assignments followed for most of the major car magazines, as well as non-car magazines Time, Life and Sports Illustrated.
Biro was a founding member of the American Racing Press Assn. (ARPA) and made the transition from magazine work to advertising photography garnering assignments from Chevrolet, Ford and Chrysler as well as covering 33 consecutive Indianapolis 500s for Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.
When Gurney retired and hired Bobby Unser to drive, with sponsorship from Jorgensen Steel, Biro was hired to handle the public relations work and act as sponsor liaison with the team, which won the Indy 500 in 1975.
Following the Indy win, Gurney suggested Chris Pook hire Biro to work on the initial staff for the Grand Prix of Long Beach, a job Biro held for 15 years, when semi-retirement seemed like the thing to do. Shortly after, however, Biro became editor of DRIVE! Magazine until the publisher sold it to someone that wanted to be his own editor.
A move to Los Angeles found Biro covering off-road races for Goodyear throughout Nevada, Mexico and Wisconsin having his images published in ads, magazines and in calendars.
Recent publishing efforts include the Dan Gurney photo that graces the cover of Tim Considine’s American Grand Prix Racing, a large selection of images in Pete Lyons’ Can-Am Photo History and Gordon Kirby’s latest offering, Mario Andretti A Driving Passion. You can see some of his work in the recent Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance programs and in the photography exhibit this year.