Robert Scott Hooper's passion for the automobile started as a kid in Iowa, building cars for the soap box derby. His love of photographing women started when his folks gave him a camera in high school and his girlfriend willingly took off her blouse. It was this natural attention to things "fast and curvy" that would eventually lead him to glamour photography, and the automobile would play a prominent role in his career path.

Vintage photo of 57 ford and a beautiful girl. Hooper began customizing and rebuilding autos starting with his first car as a teenager. In his twenties, after racing his Corvette for a few years at road courses in the mid-west and Canada, Hooper decided he could design a better car for racing. The "Mongoose" was a labor of love, created and built in his folks garage over a period of 6 months. Not only was the Mongoose a beautiful machine, a design far ahead of it's time, but it won races, placing at least second in every single SCCA (Sports Car Club of America) race it was in.

In those days, willing women needed to help in Hooper's quest to become a glamour photographer weren't easy to find in the midwest, even if he always had a hot car to pose them with. The Mongoose race car and a pretty girl as part of auto erotic photography. In 1966 he came to Las Vegas to visit a friend, returning home only to pack up and return to make Vegas his new home. After a short time as a photographer at the Las Vegas Review Journal newspaper, one of his photos taken during a race at the Stardust Raceway landed him a job at the Las Vegas News Bureau. The News Bureau, an elite organization of photographers and writers whose only job was to publicize Las Vegas to the world, were the only photographers allowed access to the hotels and showrooms. Until the late 70's, most Las Vegas photos seen anywhere in the world came out of the News Bureau. It was the best school in the world for Hooper and in his five years at the Bureau, he honed his photographic skills by shooting hotels, production shows, celebrity parties, showgirls and glamour and eventually became the resident "cheesecake" pro.

Oddly enough it was a car that brought Hooper his first assignment for Playboy Magazine. He was to shoot a story illustration of Bill Lear and his famous steam car at Harrah's Auto Collection in Reno. Seeing all those beautiful cars and the history they held, Hooper came up with the idea for a Playboy pictorial illustrating how the automobile changed sex in America. "Sex in the Automobile", his first major pictorial ran 10 pages in the May 1973 Playboy. For years that layout carried the record for most reader response in the history of the magazine. He became a contributer to Playboy and produced several more pictorials for the magazine through the 70's and 80's, including "Sex in the Great Outdoors", "Ladies of Joy", "Airline Stews", "Girls of Las Vegas", "Girls of Magic". He won two awards from the magazine, the first for the centerfold of Playmate of the Year, Debra Jo Fondren and a second for his piece on the New York sex club "Platos Retreat".

The woman of the Mint 400 in Vegas. Over the years, Hooper photographed many beautiful women with cars. While photographing the famed Mint 400 Queens, jet-powered limos and even fashion layouts at the Caesars Palace Grand Prix, he always had in mind that someday he would get back to Sex and the Auto, maybe in book form. Hefner had dropped the rumble seat portion of the 1973 pictorial, leaving what Hooper considered some the best photos of the layout on the cutting room floor. Hooper felt it was somehow unfinished. The rumble seat? How could that be left out of a pictorial on sex in cars?

In the late 90's, Hooper got around to constructing a purpose-built private studio in Las Vegas. Not a commercial studio, but an art studio that he could use for his long list of "dream" projects to complete when he retired. He made sure it had big barn doors and a solid drive-up ramp, as well as plenty of room for cars, knowing his most special project was a book about cars, and of course, women.

Today Hooper's production company still turns out high-end photography as well as time-lapse films, commercials, music videos and graphic design; although he says he will always be a glamour photographer. He has come full circle with his "AutoErotica" book project, seeing it as a culmination of his art and his love; his tribute to gorgeous women and magnificent cars.

There are lots of stories and fun "retro" photos at Hooper's blog "Car Nutz and Girl Crazy" and you can find more Hooper/Playboy history at his website
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