Narayan Rupani, now better known as Bob, was born in Bombay and is a pioneering Indian automotive journalist starting with the Indian Auto Journal in 1986. Over the years he has been the executive editor of magazines such as Car & Bike International, auto motor & sport (India), BBC Top Gear (India), and Auto India. He is now consulting editor of Overdrive and is considered one of India’s most credible and respected auto journalists.
Bob is known for his car evaluation skills and with his keen eye for detail, he often discovers what many others overlook. Thanks to his insightful road testing abilities, Bob’s views are valued by a large number of people, both in and out of the automotive industry. He has successfully participated in several races and rallies and is a highly skilled off-road driver too. Bob is very fond of historical cars and has driven in several international classic car rallies too.
He has been a leader of the only Indian team ever to have participated in the Isuzu Challenge Expedition (recognized as one of the world’s toughest off-road events). Bob was also the only Indian invited to be part of Land Rover Experience’s Silk Road 2013 Expedition from Berlin to Bombay and the 2015 Off-Road Tour of Australia.
He has authored the critically acclaimed bestseller ‘Driving Holidays in India’. It was a pioneering book that resulted in the creation of a whole new segment of books. In 2013, Bob authored a completely new edition of this bestseller called ‘More Driving Holidays in India’, and this too was very well received. He has also written and produced much-acclaimed coffee table books like – ‘India’s 100 Best Destinations’ (it was selected by Government of India Tourism for gifting to foreign dignitaries); ‘Tracking the Tiger– 50 days in India’s Best Tiger Reserves’; ‘Golden Quadrilateral- India’s First Modern Highway Network’ and ‘Living the Royal Life Volume I & II’. Bob has also co-authored ‘The Royal Udaipur Rolls-Royce GLK 21’ and co-edited ‘The Story of the Star (Mercedes-Benz) in India’.
Bob has worked with highly respected media houses like BBC, Times of India, The Business India Group, and CNBC TV18. His articles have also been published in many other well-known Indian and international publications, and he is a keen photographer too.
His passion for long-distance driving and discovering lesser-known destinations has taken Bob to the far-flung parts and he has driven well over 1.5 million kilometers all across India.
Bob is also an avid wildlife and nature lover and apart from India’s popular tiger reserves and national parks, Bob has visited over 500 protected wildlife areas and is well aware of the difference between a sunset seen through an office window, and one enjoyed in the solitude of the wilderness.
Bob has been regularly invited all over the world by major auto manufacturers to test and review their latest cars. And having driven in approximately 50 countries, he has vast global driving and travel experience too.
He is a Founder Jury Member of the prestigious ICOTY (Indian Car of the Year) awards and was Chairman of the Jury in 2009, 2013,2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018.Bob was also a Jury Member of ‘Product of the Year Awards 2011’.
Early in his career, Bob also manufactured auto accessories and customized and modified a whole range of vehicles, including one of India’s first proper vanity vans.
Bob has modified many Maruti Gypsy’s and even gave the legendary wildlifer Fateh Singh Rathore, ideas on how the Gypsy could be converted and made into a more practical ‘Wildlife Safari Vehicle’. The few Gypsy’s designed and modified by Bob, with side seats replaced with front-facing ones with proper armrests and padded upholstery, the wrap-round body roll bars, external footsteps, etc, are all now the template followed by almost all Gypsy’s being used for wildlife safaris across India.
In addition, he has helped design routes for many motoring events and expeditions and helped organize the first international vintage and classic car rally held in India.
Few people know that Bob was the ‘creative director’ for Shaktimaan, one of India’s longest-running television serials, which was a huge hit with children. About 400 episodes were telecast on Doordarshan- the national channel. Bob is also a kite flying champ and continues to enjoy this sport.