Race car driver Denise McCluggage drives the 2011 Toyota Sienna with Chief Engineer Kazuo Mori
Kazuo Mori is the Chief Engineer for the Toyota Sienna, Product Development Office, Toyota Technical Center.
Mori would love to design sports cars, but most of his adult life has been spent working on the Toyota Sienna. He is the Chief Engineer for Toyota’s minivan series in the United States.
I asked Mori, the Chief Engineer of the new 2011 Toyota Sienna SE (sports edition) if he would like to drive alongside Denise McCluggage. Mori said yes. What Mori didn’t realize is that McCluggage used to be a race car driver.
Denise McCluggage has written about and photographed cars for half a century. She has raced against the likes of Stirling Moss and Phil Hill. She’s won trophies in rallies and races on three continents. McCluggage has raced in such cars as Porsche, Jaguar, Lotus, Mini Cooper, Alfa, etc. In 1961 she won the grand touring category at Sebring in a Ferrari 250 GT.
McCluggage has been awarded the Ken W. Purdy Award for Excellence in Automotive Journalism and the Dean Batchelor Life Time Achievement Award. She is the only journalist to be inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame in Dearborn, MI. She is an honorary judge at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.
The Denise McCluggage Scholarship
Denise McCluggage was a racing driver, journalist, author, and photographer. She was a pioneer in her respective fields, paving the way for women in male-dominated industries. Denise passed away mid-May 2015 and left behind instructions for funds to begin a scholarship in her name.
During their senior year, McPherson College auto restoration students complete an all-encompassing capstone project, applying the skills learned during their time in the program; these projects may be hands-on, or emphasis is driven. Abigayle Morgan has chosen to study Restoration and Communications as a blended focus.
I have proposed to create and grow a scholarship campaign in Denise’s honor to be debuted at the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance this upcoming March. This scholarship will benefit women at McPherson College with an interest and passion for Automotive Restoration, Journalism, Photography, Communications, Media Arts, and/or Writing.
With the help of donors, I aspire to raise enough money to fund the Denise McCluggage Scholarship to support the women of McPherson College for years to come. I am so proud to be involved in a project that will benefit others, even after my graduation.
– Abigayle Morgan
The video is five minutes, but the ride was about an hour. Watch closely as Mori slowly realizes that Denise knows what she is doing.